British union boots Israeli lecturer

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A workshop in Britain set to be led by an Israeli expert on negotiation and conflict management was canceled after pressure from a pro-Palestinian national union.

Moty Cristal was due to deliver a lecture for a National Health Service workshop on negotiation, conflict resolution and crisis intervention this week, but received an email April 27 from organizers saying that the event was canceled, The Guardian reported. The email said the lecture was canceled "on the grounds that it is Unison’s policy and also that of the Trades Union Congress to support the Palestinian people," according to the Guardian.

Unison is Britain’s largest trade union, representing 1.3 million public service workers. It has frequently voted in favor of a general boycott of Israel. The Trades Union Congress has voted against such boycotts, though it favors a boycott of West Bank goods. 

"I’m furious from a professional point of view and deeply disappointed from a national point of view," Cristal told the Guardian. "I have always been perceived first and foremost as an expert rather than an Israeli. But here people didn’t have the wisdom to look behind the Israeli flag to my professional contribution."

Union members "would find it difficult to be lectured in conflict resolution by someone from Israel," a Unison spokeswoman told the Guardian. Cristal and his company, Nest Consulting, have worked with Palestinian and civil action organizations. 

Cristal said his lectures stress the "importance of having dialogue between people with different ideas."
 

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