Powerful British Trade Union Urging New Boycott of Israel

One of Britain’s most powerful trade unions has urged its 850,000 members to boycott Israel because of its “continued illegal occupation of Palestinian land.”

A motion calling for “economic and cultural sanctions against Israel” got almost unanimous approval from 2,000 delegates attending the annual conference in Glasgow of the National Association of Local Government Officers, whose members run the country’s local authorities.

The motion instructed the union’s leadership to “launch a campaign” of sanctions within the membership and the wider trade union movement.

A NALGO spokeswoman said, “The purpose is to bring public pressure on our government to convene a peace conference including the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel and the United Nations.”

She said the campaign to punish Israel was modeled on the longstanding boycott of South Africa. Anything carrying a “made in Israel” label, even Jaffa oranges, would be excluded from all NALGO premises, she said.

But Ami Gluska, labor affairs attach at the Israeli Embassy here, said he is not worried. “In the past year, there have been moves in the opposite direction among trade unionists who have gained a greater understanding of Israel because of the Gulf war,” he said.

Gluska said the NALGO move was “obnoxious” and charged that hard-left activists have taken control of the union’s foreign policy.

He believed they were out of touch with the rank and file. The attach said the embassy has received dozens of calls from union members who expressed unhappiness with the resolution.

Peter Grunberger, director of the Labor Friends of Israel, said the NALGO move was consistent with the hostile line it has taken since 1987, when it severed links with Histadrut, the Israeli trade union federation.

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