The Academic Friends of Israel
Vol 10 No 6 21 September 2011
Trade unions reaffirm support for Israel boycott
International trade union solidarity was in short supply in London last week when the annual TUC Congress, the umbrella body for the British trade union movement, called on all its affiliated unions to “review” their links with the Histadrut, the Israeli trade union organisation. Since review is coded language for boycott, by selecting Israel as the only country worthy of a boycott the TUC could be sailing very close to the wind when it comes to the widely accepted EUMC definition of antisemitsim.
The TUC finds itself in this position because seventeen of the UK’s largest unions are affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) which is a key player in the global Boycott, Divestments Sanctions (BDS) movement. As a result the TUC is now a principal partner of PSC and a major player in the UK’s anti-Israel BDS campaign. In a way there was nothing new in this year’s motion as the TUC voted once before in 2009 to review its links with the Histadrut and even the BDS component of this year’s resolution said nothing new. The only reason why this year’s motion has taken on added significance is because of the imminent Palestinian claim for statehood at the UN and heightened anti-Zionist hostility in Britain due to London’s role as the centre of the worldwide delegitimisation campaign.
Even though the TUC has had almost no contact in recent years with the Histadrut outside of the ITUC, the international labour movement, both the TUC and the Histadrut often refer with pride to links between them that stretch back to the 1920s. Yet history has shown that this longstanding relationship has often been one-sided as the TUC has always put its own interests first and has actively supported British government policy to boost British influence with the Arab states at the expense of Israel and the Histadrut.
Yet with all their power and influence within the TUC, the PSC affiliated unions are still unable to persuade the TUC Congress to vote for a total boycott of Israel. The TUC is reluctant to take this final step because like the British government they know that a call for a boycott of Israel including goods and services could breach UK equality and discrimination legislation.
These problems do not exist with their current campaign promoting a boycott of ‘settlement goods’ because the West Bank along with Gaza has at present no legal status in international law. It is quite clear that the often quoted current TUC policy of working with both the Histadrut and its Palestinian counterpart the PGFTU is no longer relevant.
By adopting a position to consider severing its links the Histadrut the TUC could lose its place at the top table with its American and European colleagues when it comes to negotiating cooperative agreements with the Histadrut and the PGFTU. As the worlds’ oldest trade union movement, this potential loss of prestige and influence at the ITUC maybe a step too far for the TUC as they also would be bracketed alongside their anti-Zionist trade union comrades in South African and Norway. The TUC’s counterproductive resolution does nothing for the peace process as it threatens the Histadrut’s bilateral relations and their dealings with the PGTFU and the ITUC.
The Academic Friends of Israel
For further information on the TUC Congress decision:
Trade unions embrace bigotry and step up boycott
Now we know where the TUC stands
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry urges restraint in rhetoric
Britain to back Palestinian UN bid 'on condition'
The British government will only back a Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN next week under stringent conditions, a Foreign Office official said today. Britain would support a Palestinian attempt to secure "observer state" status at the General Assembly on condition that the Palestinians agree to return to peace talks without preconditions and that Israel's concerns over potential future prosecutions at the ICC were met……
To read the full article: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/54863/britain-back-palestinian-un-bid-condition
Universal Jurisdiction change becomes law
The British government has approved the change in this country's universal jurisdiction law. Nearly two years after Israeli Opposition leader Tzipi Livni was forced to cancel a trip to the UK when pro-Palestinian activists applied for a warrant for her arrest, the change was given the Royal Assent and became law…….
To read the full article: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/54781/universal-jurisdiction-change-becomes-law
British Government confirms withdrawal from Durban III
UK Foreign Secretary says “conference, and anti-Semitic atmosphere in which it was held, was particularly unpleasant, divisive chapter in UN history."……
To read the full article: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=238135
Union of Jewish Students shows commitment to peace
The Union of Jewish Students is to launch a "radical, progressive" campaign, encouraging students to speak up for the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. Jewish students arriving at universities in the next fortnight will be asked to pledge their support to "two states for two peoples", hand out Israeli and Palestinian flags, and support "freedom, justice and equality" for all……
To read the full article: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/54741/union-jewish-students-shows-commitment-peace
St Andrews student sentenced for anti-Jewish abuse calls Jewish student 'very rich'
The student convicted of a racially aggravated attack on a Jewish student at St Andrews University was defiant this week, despite his sentence of 150 hours of community service and a £300 fine of compensation to his victim. Paul Donnachie, 19, of Blackpool, was expelled from the university after his attack on Chanan Reitblat, an exchange student from Yeshiva University in New York. Donnachie and his friend Samuel Colchester had pushed their way into Mr Reitblat's room in the hall of residence at St Andrews. A drunk Donnachie had rubbed his hands down his trousers before wiping them on the Israeli flag which Mr Reitblat had hanging above his bed. Witnesses said Donnachie also called Mr Reitblat a "terrorist" and shouted about a "a nation built on terrorism"……
To read the full article: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/54754/donnachie-st-andrews-jewish-student-very-rich
Anti-Israel protesters disrupt BBC Proms
Anti-Israel protesters repeatedly disrupted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's performance at the Royal Albert Hall last night, causing the BBC to abandon its live broadcast of the prom. A dozen people unfurled a banner reading "Free Palestine" and sang about "Israeli apartheid" as the IPO began the concert. They were removed by security guards as orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta, played on.……..
To read the full article: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/54010/anti-israel-protesters-disrupt-bbc-proms
Also see: UK musicians suspended over Israel Proms row
SOAS 'cheek biter' trial is delayed
The trial of the man who allegedly bit the cheek of a pro-Israel activist at SOAS is to be delayed by a further eight weeks. Despite the alleged assault occurring in March, defendant Mohamed Abdelkarim, 42, had requested that the trial should be delayed further, because he was completing his PhD. He faces a charge of common assault after allegedly biting a pro-Israel demonstrator at a Celebrate Palestine event as part of Israel Apartheid week……
To read the full article: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/54760/soas-cheekbiter-trial-delayed
Just Journalism report: The Guardian has consistently published commentary from Palestinians who reject the concept of two states for two peoples, in keeping with an editorial line that questions the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. ‘Voices from the conflict: Israeli and Palestinian op-eds in The Guardian’ – August 2011...
Preoccupation with Israel in the British media: Reporting of Israel, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia prior to the Arab Spring
Just Journalism report: British media focused disproportionately on Israel in twelve months prior to Arab Spring. ‘Preoccupation with Israel in the British media: Reporting of Israel, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia prior to the Arab Spring’ – May 2011 (PDF) London, 19 May 2011 – The UK broadsheet newspapers and BBC News…
Using the Law against Academic Israel-haters
Increasingly, legal actions are becoming tools in the fight against the delegitimization of Israel. This approach is now being tested in three countries where the problems are greatest – the United States, Canada and the U.K…
To read the full article:
Israel’s Rights as a Nation-State in International Diplomacy
A concerted campaign is being waged against Israel to question its very legitimacy in virtually every aspect of its historical, political, and cultural life, with the aim of undermining the very foundations of Israel's existence.
In response, several world-renowned experts have joined to present an authoritative exposition of Israel’s Rights as a Nation-State in International Diplomacy, edited by Alan Baker, former legal counsel of Israel's Foreign Ministry and former ambassador to Canada, and published jointly by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the World Jewish Congress.
This book explains clearly why the Jewish people deserve a state of their own and refutes all the major claims against Israel’s rights.
Amb. Alan Baker
The National Rights of Jews
Prof. Ruth Gavison
“An Overwhelmingly Jewish State” - From the Balfour Declaration to the Palestine Mandate
Sir Martin Gilbert
Self-Determination and Israel’s Declaration of Independence
Prof. Shlomo Avineri
The United Nations and Middle East Refugees: The Differential Treatment of Arabs and Jews
Dr. Stanley A. Urman
Israel’s Rights Regarding Territories and the Settlements in the Eyes of the International Community
Amb. Alan Baker
The Historical and Legal Contexts of Israel’s Borders
Prof. Nicholas Rostow
The Misleading Interpretation of Security Council Resolution 242 (1967)
Prof. Ruth Lapidoth
Defending Israel’s Legal Rights to Jerusalem
Amb. Dore Gold
Palestinian Unilateralism and Israel’s Rights in Arab-Israeli Diplomacy
Is the Gaza Strip Occupied by Israel?
Col. (ret.) Pnina Sharvit-Baruch
The Violation of Israel’s Right to Sovereign Equality in the United Nations
Amb. Alan Baker
Countering Challenges to Israel’s Legitimacy
Prof. Alan M. Dershowitz
US colleges to receive warning letters on anti-Semitism
Universities, colleges "may be liable for massive damages" if they fail to prevent anti-Semitism on campus, Israel Law Center warnsTalkbacks (). Hundreds of US college and university presidents were set to receive warning letters on Thursday morning, instructing them of their legal obligations to prevent anti-Semitism on campus. The letters also remind universities it is their legal duty to prevent university funds from being diverted to unlawful activities directed against the State of Israel……To read the full article: http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=237118
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry urges restraint in rhetoric
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry has released a statement voicing concern about Nazi/Holocaust analogies being used by both sides of the debate on boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel…notably public statements on the campaign against the Max Brenner Chocolate stores.There has been widespread criticism of the recent BDS protests against Max Brenner outlets in Sydney and Melbourne. The criticism has come not only from Labor and Coalition members of parliament, Federal and State, but also from some of their Greens colleagues. The ECAJ thanks all of them for their efforts in opposing and speaking out against the Australian arm of the global BDS campaign against Israel…….
To read the full article: http://www.jwire.com.au/news/ecaj-concern-over-bds-publicity/19122
S&P raises Israel's credit rating from A to A+
Britain maybe a leading player in the global BDS movement, yet after 10 years BDS campaigners have had no effect on Israel’s economy, as last week the iinternational credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s announced that it had raised Israel’s long-term sovereign credit rating from A to A+. The agency said its decision reflected Israel’s rapid economic growth and responsible economic policy. S&P also reaffirmed Israel’s local currency rating at AA-. Israel’s Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called the increased credit rating “a badge of honor” and said it was a reward for the economic policies adopted during the global financial crisis.
“This achievement is particularly remarkable given the debt and employment crises that have hit the credit ratings of many other countries,” he said……
To read the full article: http://www.jpost.com/Business/BusinessNews/Article.aspx?id=237342
BNP leader Nick Griffin given debate platform at Trinity College Dublin
Nick Griffin has been invited to speak at a Trinity College Dublin event. A university spokeswoman confirmed that the British National Party leader is set to appear at a Philosophical Society meeting on October 20. According to a post on the personal blog of the party's media officer Simon Darby, Griffin was invited along with a "BNP delegation" for a debate titled: "This House Believes Immigration Has Gone Too Far"……..
Israel Palestinian Conflict: The Truth about the Peace Process Israel's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon explains the historical facts relating to the Israeli Palestinian conflict in the video below.
Patron: The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks
Advisory Board: Dr Manfred Gerstenfeld - Chairman of the Board of Fellows, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Vivian Wineman - President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
John D A Levy - Director of the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East
Andrew R. Marks, M.D. - Columbia University, USA
Professor Leslie Wagner CBE
Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham
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