Friday, December 04, 2009

West Australian Public Sector Union: "activism" without accountability

The Commonwealth Public Sector Union / Civil Service Association (CPSU/CSA) Executive Committee adopted the following anti-Israel resolution on 11 February 2009. It was endorsed by the CSA Council on 25 February 2009:

1. This meeting of the CPSU/CSA Executive Committee strongly condemns the Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip....

...3. This meeting of the CPSU/CSA Executive Committee expresses our support for the campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) directed at Israel until Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian territories in accordance with UN resolutions....

...5. This meeting of the CPSU/CSA Executive Committee calls on Unions WA and the Australian Council of Trade Unions to commit their support to the BDS campaign...

A concerned union member recently wrote to Ms Tony Walkington, Secretary of the CPSU/CSA, and kindly provided a copy to JIW:

Dear Ms Walkington

I refer to the CPSU/CSA resolution to support a boycott of Israel and condem the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

As a Union member I am very unhappy that you would presume to make such a serious decision on my behalf.

Why boycott the only liberal democracy in the region. Israel has an enviable justice system which protects the rights of all its citizens regardless of gender, race or religion. It has a history of providing practical assistance and sharing technology with struggling third-world countries and has given a home to hundreds of Vietnamese refugees at a time when many countries were reluctant to do so.

Like any democracy Israel is not perfect, but it does have a system of checks and balances. Free speech is a basic right and diverse political views are accommodated. Israelis are politically aware and are never reticent in criticizing their governments. One thing they all agree on is that they desperately want to live in peace and not to have to send their children to war to defend their country against constant attack.

Have you considered the impact that this proposed boycott could have on the thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel on a daily basis. Israeli unions protect the rights of those workers and are actively engaged with Palestinian unions in an effort to bring peace to the area. Israel is the only source of economic security for many of those people. So much for worker solidarity.

Why didn’t you condemn Palestine when Hamas bombarded Israel with over two thousand rockets during the last eight months of the cease fire? Did it concern you that many of those attacks were directed at schools? Did you complain at all during the last eight years of the Infitadah where Israel was constantly under attack from suicide bombers, rockets from Hezbollah in Lebanon and scud missiles from Iraq?

Clearly you did not seek to inform yourself of the argument for Israel before making this decision. In the interest of balance you should have. I understand that you are very busy and perhaps cannot study every issue in depth. I also understand that those who push anti-Israeli propaganda are strident and convincing.

I have attached a recent speech delivered by Col. Richard Kemp to the UN Human Rights Council which addresses the allegations against Israel in Gaza. I hope you will take the time to read it.

I strongly urge you to reconsider this resolution, reverse it and join TULIP (trade unions linking Israel and Palestine). This offers an opportunity to work constructively towards a peaceful solution in the area and sidelines those who perpetuate the war in order to serve their own dark purposes.

I look forward to your response – which will of course determine my future as a member of the CPSU/CSA.

Yours sincerely
Judith Lewis

Judith has received no response to her letter after many weeks. She will keep us informed of developments.
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