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British trade union approves West Bank boycott

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LONDON (JTA) — Britain’s national trade union again voted to support a boycott of goods made in West Bank settlements and of companies profiting from the area.

Delegates to the Trade Unions Congress’ annual conference voted unanimously Tuesday in support of the boycott resolution.

The union also condemned the Histadrut, Israel’s national trade union, for supporting the Gaza blockade and Israel’s action to stop the aid flotilla in May. It reiterated its support and continued cooperation with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Palestinian trade unions.

In practice, the resolution, which is similar to a measure adopted last year, does not have much of an effect beyond rhetoric.

Last year the main supermarket chains responded to the call for boycott by saying that they would follow the wishes of their customers, and as long as customers continued to buy products manufactured in the West Bank they would continue to import them.

Calls made last year for demonstrations outside supermarkets that sell products made in the settlements hardly materialized.

Israel’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Ron Prossor, condemned the resolution.

In response to the vote, Prossor said, “This appalling decision speaks volumes about the caliber of those who voted for it. Whilst many around the world are helping to create an environment for peace, some in the TUC prefer to create a noisy distraction. These people contrast sharply with those responsible leaders, who at that very same time were offering hope to the people of the Middle East. This resolution, in comparison, is hopeless, in both senses of the word.”

Delegates to the conference, which ends Thursday, took time away from debating ways to deal with the economic crisis to debate the issue of the Middle East.
 

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