Bintel Blog

Israel-Friendly Group Banned from Trade Union Conference

By Alison Cies

  • Print
  • Share Share

Those living on the other side of the pond were struck with confusion this week when UNISON — Britain and Europe’s largest public sector union, with more than 1.3 million members — prohibited Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI) from attending its annual conference in Brighton, which wrapped up Wednesday. TUFI has attended this conference for the past four years without issue.

According to statements made by UNISON conference organizers, TUFI was not allowed to attend the conference because UNISON could not guarantee the safety of TUFI campaigners, who were perceived by the public to be “pro-Israeli.”

As reported London’s Jewish Chronicle, UNISON told TUFI director Steve Scott that “they had complaints from members in the regions about Gaza.” Scott added, “We issued a statement about Gaza but obviously we didn’t condemn Israel’s actions, so they said we should not be exhibiting this year.”

According to UNISON conference organizer Bill Gilby, he and his staff hesitated at offering TUFI a place at the conference “because of the union’s long-standing policy position on the Middle East, and concern about the welfare of individuals if such a stall were to be there.” Gilby asserted that he would not describe TUFI’s “absence” as a “ban.”

Consequently, TUFI held a separate event this week, attended by more than 50 UNISON delegates, in the hotel outside of the conference center. Speakers included Terry McCorran, a UNISON branch secretary from Northern Ireland and founder of the Northern Ireland Friends of Israel, and Eric Lee, who discussed the new organization Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine (TULIP), of which TUFI is part. According to TULIP’s Web site, the event went smoothly, with the vast majority of attendees supporting TUFI’s pro-peace, anti-boycott message.

TUFI was established to strengthen ties between the Histadrut (the Israeli TUC), the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions and the British Trade Union Movement.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tufi, Trade Union, Israel, Histadrut, Unison

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Michael Phillips Thu. Sep 17, 2009

It's a very sad day when a union,in this case UNISON,prohibits a friendly sister organisation,in this case,Trade Union Friends of Israel,from attendance at their annual conference.

What a rubbish argument to suggest that "UNISON were unable to guarantee the safety of TUFI canpaigners".

This action not only prevents a healthy debate about the issues,but any boycott of Isreali products will inevitably lead to a loss of jobs among Palestinians.

This action only brings great discredit to the TUC organisation.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.