British trade union federation launches campaign against Israeli products from West Bank

12 April 2010

The British umbrella body of trade unions, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has launched a campaign calling for an import ban for goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The campaign was launched together with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an anti-Israel group that advocates a complete economic boycott of Israel and international sanctions against the Jewish state, according to the ‘Jerusalem Post’.

The campaign, entitled ‘Would you buy stolen goods?’, says that some Israeli produce comes from “stolen land”. It also alleges that Israel deploys child labor, and it accuses Israel of preventing the export of “nearly all” Palestinian goods, confiscating scarce water resources and using them to irrigate settlement produce for export to the UK.

“Israeli settlements are built on stolen Palestinian land and are illegal under international law,” TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said, adding: “By confiscating land and resources, and encouraging conflict, they make life a misery for ordinary Palestinian workers and their families… [As] consumers we can make a difference by not supporting the businesses that sustain these settlements.”

Barber said the TUC campaign was not a call for a complete boycott of Israel. “This is not a call for a general boycott of Israeli goods and services, which would hit ordinary Palestinian and Israeli workers. Nor should workers in Britain put their own jobs at risk by refusing to deal with goods from the settlements. Instead, we are calling for targeted, consumer-led sanctions to send a clear message against the settlements.”

The TUC is the umbrella body for 58 trade unions in Britain and represents a total of 6.5 million affiliated members.

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