The news that one of Australia’s leading unions, the CFMEU, has begun a boycott of Israeli products from illegal colonies in the West Bank received a tiny item in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald but nowhere else that I can see.
Here’s the group’s statement from 12 May:
The CFMEU National Executive in October 2009 discussed the latest state of affairs regarding the longstanding Israeli/Palestinian conflict and considered information regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) approach being adopted by some national trade union centres.
The CFMEU Executive resolved to invite the Palestinian Ambassador to Australia to address the
CFMEU’s NEC and then consider our union’s approach to this matter further.
The NEC heard from Izzat Abdulhadi at its February meeting and considered the arguments for a
boycott of products and goods produced in illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian
Since that time further provocations have been forthcoming from the current aggressive Netanyahu
regime including the announcement of the construction of fresh settlements during the visit of US
Vice President Biden and the use of false passports (including forged Australian documents) in the
Dubai killing of a Hamas official.
Most recently following the debate at the UK TUC Congress, the TUC have joined with the call for a
selective consumer boycott of goods produced by Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories under the general banner of the global ‘BDS’ campaign. This has been assisted by recent
UK Government moves to clearly label such goods as coming from occupied Palestine.
With comrades Mal Tulloch and David Forde who have just returned from a tour of the Occupied
Territories during the recent APHEDA visit to Israel and Palestine furnishing us with detailed
information on the Palestinian situation, the CFMEU is now in a position to adopt a considered
approach on a union wide level.
In all the circumstances the CFMEU believes that a boycott of products made in the illegal settlements is justified and is the kind of solidarity action that can send a message loud and clear to
the Netanyahu government.
The CFMEU further resolves that we will argue for this approach in the forums of the labour
movement in Australia including the ACTU and the ALP and that we will also argue for it in
international forums as appropriate.
The approach recommended on the BDS question remains one aspect of the broad solidarity and
support that should be rendered to the long suffering Palestinian people until a just and lasting
peace is secured with a durable two state solution.