Sacked Liverpool Dockworkers rally support for boycott of Apartheid Israel!
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Sacked Liverpool Dockworkers rally support for boycott of Apartheid Israel!

The Sacked Liverpool dockworkers have taken the initiative to actively promote the isolation of Apartheid Israel among UK and international trade unions. Called upon by trade unionists and workers, the former dockworkers have taken initiative.

The dockworkers movement has a long history of active support to anti-colonial, anti-fascist and anti-racist struggles all over the world. Terry Teague, one of the Liverpool dockers sacked for refusing to cross a picket line, is convinced: “If we were still working, we’d have refused to touch any ship bound for Haifa while Israel was bombing innocent civilians.”
He remembers: “We boycotted cargoes bound for apartheid South Africa and Pinochet’s Chile. We lost wages because of it, but we were doing our bit and we helped end the injustice.”

Today only very few trade union leaders are using the power of workers to economically affect Israel, even though the Zionist policies repulse most of their members.
The South African COSATU and the Ontario branch of the CUPE are outstanding examples. CUT Brazil has recently put its weight in the campaign against a Free Trade Agreement with Israel. Yet, the motions and the calls are still few and hardly implemented.

The sacked dockworkers have experienced how direct action and refusal to handle goods by workers ha powerful and immediate effects. They are thus circulating a call among workers to rally support for clear and effective action against the Occupation.

On behalf of Merseyside trade unionists the Sacked Liverpool Dockworkers have been asked to circulate, coordinate and collate all responses to this message.

We are trade unionists with a record of action within our own industries and in opposition to racism and war. We watch with horror and outrage as Israel has bombed Lebanon indisciminately since 12 July with hundreds of civilian casualties, and their army begins a major ground invasion. Similar atrocities are being committed against Palestinians by Israeli forces in Gaza.

We know that the Blair government, including even the T&G sponsored Foreign Secretary, has given Israel a blank cheque to continue this war while the UN Secretary General calls for an immediate ceasefire and Israeli bombs kill UN observers at their post in Lebanon.

We also know that our own unions have been very slow to react. It is two years since the International Court of Justice declared the apartheid wall which carves up the West Bank to be completely illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention, along with the Israeli settlements and the entire occupation itself.

How much longer are we prepared to watch Lebanon and Palestine burn, before we act?

In the 1930’s, trade unionists from Merseyside fought fascism in Spain.
In 1973, Rolls-Royce engineers in Glasgow refused to ship RB-111 jet engines to the Chilean junta after Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. On Merseyside, trade unionists and our movement took Chilean refugees to their heart.
In the 1980’s, Liverpool dockers and many other workers around the world imposed sanctions on South Africa, even while Margaret Thatcher backed the apartheid regime to the hilt. We agree with Willie Madisha, President of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), who wrote on 6 June:

“Boycotts, disinvestments and sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa hastened our march to democracy. Why should it be different for Palestinians? In the face of an intransigent, arrogant, racist and brutal Israeli state, this strategy of isolation – particularly since the vast majority of Palestinians support it – should be applied to Israel as well. It is a peaceful option.”

If not now, when?
We call on our brothers and sisters throughout the movement to
1) boycott Israeli consumer goods
2) identify your employer’s trade and investment links with Israel, and raise these as a matter of utmost urgency
3) speak out within your union and demand that your elected leadership recognise the slaughter in Lebanon and Gaza is a trade union issue and act accordingly
4) join demonstrations and donate funds in solidarity with Palestinian and Lebanese victims of the Israeli military aggression
5) if you can, intervene directly to stop trade with Israel while the carnage in Lebanon and Gaza continues.

Contact to sign this statement