On Friday, the Annual Delegates Meeting of Britainâs National Union of Journalists (NUJ) passed a motion calling for the government to sanction Israel and for union members to follow a boycott of Israeli goods. The resolution comes as a result of motions moved last summer in the wake of the Occupationâs “savage, pre-planned attack on Lebanon” and the attacks on civilians in Gaza in recent years.
The Union’s South Yorkshire branch initially moved a motion combining condemnation of Israel with the call for boycott. As the debate went on, the motion was divided into two parts. The motion condemning Israelâs war crimes was adopted by large majority, and criticizes the Occupation for the “slaughter of civilians by Israeli troops in Gaza and the IDF’s [Israeli Defense Forces] continued attacks inside Lebanon following the defeat of its army by Hezbollah”. The second motion calling for boycott of Israeli goods and sanctions against the Israeli regime had to pass though two unclear hand risings and a final vote count. The vote count ensured the boycott and sanctions motion passed by 66 to 54. The full text of the motion reads: “This ADM [Annual Delegate Meeting] calls for a boycott of Israeli goods similar to those boycotts in the struggles against apartheid South Africa led by trade unions and the TUC [Trades Union Congress] to demand sanctions be imposed on Israel by the British government and the United Nations.” The Unionâs executive committee has further been instructed by the Annual Delegates Meeting to support the NGOs Jews for Justice, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and the Council for the Advancement of British-Arab Understanding.
Both motions are a huge victory for the Palestinian call to Isolate Apartheid Israel. The NUJ is Britainâs largest journalist union, counting 40 000 members. It is the first non-Arab journalist union to endorse a boycott against the Occupation, located in one of the worldâs most important news-producing market. Though the motion does not yet reflect UK media reporting, it is definitely a sign of rising awareness about the reality on the ground in Palestine among journalists. A strong backlash of the Zionist lobby will be inevitable and it is up to global civil society and journalism to support NUJ by publicizing the truth and moving towards similar motions.