Love, Labor, Loss?

As I begin to segue into some international issues over the coming weeks, where better to start than with the international labor movement?

I’ve already pointed out the challenges BDS advocates have with regard to getting American unions to support their cause, given that (after Jews and Evangelical Christians), American labor is the most pro-Zionist community in the country. While BDSers may luck out with a fringe union here, or a local stunt there, the notion that the AFL-CIO is going to remove the bronze statue of Golda Meir in the lobby of their US headquarters (which reflects US labor’s appreciation of the role of American and Israeli Jews in the global union movement) is pretty fanciful.

Overseas (particularly in the UK) the story is quite different. There, boycott advocates have been steadily increasing their penetration of British labor, beginning with some small skirmishes in places like the education (UCU) and journalist’s (NUJ) unions, which eventually percolated up to the national umbrella group, the Trade Unions Council (TUC). While actual UCU and NUJ boycotts never got off the ground (thanks largely to their unpopularity with rank-and-file union members vs. more radicalized leaders who push anti-Israel boycotts within their organizations), it’s safe to say that the big question regarding labor and BDS boils down to whether American unions will begin to look more like their European counterparts in the coming years, or vice versa.

Which gets me to an extraordinary speech given by Paul Howes, National Secretary of the Australian Worker’s Union, in which he outlines the reasons behind labor support for the Jewish state and the contribution his union, and unions in general, are making to bridge the divide between Jews and Arabs in the region by appealing to worker solidarity that transcends borders.

In normal times, such an appeal to the brotherhood of the working class in the name of peace and reconciliation would seem very ordinary, even commendable. But remember that it is this very type of cooperation that BDS seeks to undermine.

In this historic moment when labor’s role in international affairs (not to mention the very identity of labor vis-à-vis many issues domestic and international) is up for grabs, Howes’ speech (which should be read in its entirety) seems like a beacon of sanity shining through the thick fog separating the US labor movement and its counterparts abroad.

4 thoughts on “Love, Labor, Loss?”

  1. Another whitewashing of israel and her true intentions. It boggles my mind that you deliberately ignore the realities on the ground and concoct your Zionist lies with the likes of TULIP another apologist for Israel.

  2. Very informative article on the history of Histadrut, israel's racist trade union. Thought you might find it interesting.

  3. Gosh, it’s so much easier to simply declare anything you don’t want to hear as “lies” as you scrawl graffiti onto sites featuring arguments you have no hope of challenging. So the AFL-CIO is not a supporter of Israel? The British TUC isn’t flirting with boycotts? Paul Howes doesn’t actually exist or didn’t give the speech he gave to which I referred? Which of these unquestionable facts is a “lie” or has the word “lie” been redefined to mean anything you don’t want to hear?

    While these graffiti-based exchanges cannot be counted as actual responses, they are useful in illustrating just who is interested in peace and who is not. Large portions of the trade union movement are dedicated to trying to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict by appealing to the value of worker solidarity. Meanwhile, BDS organizations are working to get Israeli unions branded as racist (pretty rich for a movement allied with the labor paradises elsewhere in the Middle East outside of Israel) and condemning any efforts at reconciliation as potential candidates for boycott and sanction.

  4. From one Jon to the other: there will not be any peace as a result of making some type of brokerage of workers, since not all workers have the same ideology to begin with, or the same goals.

    Second point: until the nations of the world decide to let Israel exist, there will be no peace at all. Israel is the moral heart of this planet, and all of the combined efforts of the nations so far have failed to erase her existence or destroy her sovereignty.

    Enjoy your pathetic fantasies of power and control, while they last. Heaven is simply paying off the British and the Americans but in the end they and the nations of Europe and all the Arab nations which opposed Israel will get their comeuppance.

    The Arab Israeli conflict was created by the British, and then propped up by the Americans, who have all had the worst possible intentions for all other nations as they pursued their interests and profits at the expense of the locals.

    So enjoy the last few days of nostalgic grandeur, savoring the royal weddings and Asian produced tea, with high standards of living bought at the cost of other people's suffering, while your royals parade the globe pretending to be poor as an apparent form of entertainment, and of course, to support the “green” movement, which is an antisocial disguise if there ever was one.

    All this facade of wanting peace while selling weapons to all the parties in the world where you can create a conflict and then step in to manage it, all this show is about to end forever.

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