- Ambassador meets with Sinn Fein
- Engagement with government ministers
At a time of hardship and uncertainty for their members, and when everyone in Northern Ireland wants to see investment and jobs, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance waste time and money campaigning to boycott and demonise Israel.
Boycotts are wrong in practice and wrong in principle:
1. They encourage extremists in the Middle East and discourage moderates. Those calling for the Boycott even want you to boycott examples of Jews and Arabs working together, such as One Voice or the Israeli football team. Israel is vilified, Hamas is whitewashed and Hamas’s masters, Iran, totally ignored in pro Boycott propaganda. To pin all blame on Israel for all conflict and injustice in the Middle East is irrational and unjustifiable.
2. Boycotts provoke racism and intolerance at home. Israeli workers harassed at Castlecourt, the Israeli flag burnt at City Hall, shoppers intimidated at Marks & Spencer, antisemitic graffiti daubed on churches, historic plaque taken down following attacks on the building, staff at major cultural centre complain of bullying.
3. They hurt indiscriminately – Israeli and Palestinian workers alike will suffer from a boycott.
4. They will hurt you! Many medicines and medical processes have been formulated or manufactured in Israel. Your computer and mobile phones contain embedded chips developed in Israel. Is the ICTU seriously suggesting these things be ripped out or boycotted? If not, what is the real motive of the boycotters?
5. The Boycott is intended to demoralise, weaken and isolate the one western-style democracy in the Middle East. Therefore it will strengthen those who wish to destroy Israel – Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.
6. The ICTU never advocated a boycott of one community against the other to achieve peace in Northern Ireland. Why does it think boycotting will help to achieve peace in the Middle East?
7. It discriminates. No other country is to be boycotted, not Iran which calls for the destruction of Israel, executes dissidents, homosexuals and trade unionists. Nor Congo, Sri Lanka or Sudan where loss of life far outstrips the Arab-Israel dispute. Humanitarian concern for the Palestinians is often used to hide an ideological hatred for Israel as the West’s most dependable ally in the Middle East.
8. It is divisive – people in Northern Ireland take different views on the Arab-Israel dispute, including trade unionists. Some sympathise with the Palestinians, others identify with the Israelis. The trade unions should recognise this and seek positive ways of engaging with all sides, utilising their experience of community bridge-building in NI, rather than engaging in negative and sterile boycotts.
Over 220 people turned up to oppose the Boycott at our meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel, Belfast.
PROMOTE POSITIVE ENGAGEMENT WITH ALL SEEKING A LASTING AND JUST PEACE, NOT NEGATIVE, ONE SIDED BOYCOTTS
Please register your opposition to the Boycott by contacting us now at firstname.lastname@example.org