Largest Brazilian Trade Union backs Boycott!
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Largest Brazilian Trade Union backs Boycott!

In an important gain for the global movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel, Brazil’s largest Trade Union Confederation (CUT), voiced its support of the BDS call and called for the suspension of Israeli-Brazilian economic agreements and military ties on January 28.

In a statement signed by National President of CUT as well as its General Secretary and International Relations Secretary, the union stated:

“The advancement of the Israeli offensive, symbolized by the construction of the wall of apartheid and the constant bombing of Gaza requires solidarity with the Palestinian People from us all to carry out policies that go beyond humanitarian assistance and can contribute in a relevant way to build peace in Palestine. Thus we urge trade unions, social and popular movements to support the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions to policies of occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel.”

According to research done by Stop the Wall, Israeli companies began in 2000 to become a critical part of the Brazilian police and military forces, with Elbit Systems taking the lead. This was primarily in high-tech areas, but also extended to conventional arms. Currently, a number of major Israeli arms companies have their sights set on Brazil as the key market in South America. In its statement, CUT singled out the growing military trade and economic links being built between Brazil and Israel:

“We regret that Brazil is the third largest consumer of arms from Israel through the Plan of National Defense Strategy of the Ministry of Defense of Brazil, and that arms agreements contribute indirectly to the occupation of Palestinian territory. It is therefore necessary that the Brazilian government suspend current agreements and bilateral economic / military negotiations between Brazil and Israel. It is unacceptable that the Free Trade Agreement between MERCOSUR and Israel becomes a reality.”

The BDS movement is spreading rapidly in Latin America, as more trade unions and social movements take up the call. In December a campaign against the Israeli water carrier Mekerot was launched in Argentina while workers movements and community radios in the same country backed boycott, divestment and sanctions.

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Full text of the CUT resolution

Solidarity with the Palestinian People and boycott to policies of Israel!

“… We, Brazilian workers, cannot remain indifferent to human rights abuses to Palestinians. We demand government pronouncements and international pressure to ensure self-determination for the Palestinian people and concrete measures to ensure peace in the region … “

Motion of solidarity with the Palestinian people approved at the 6th CUT national congress

Brazil’s largest Trade Union Confederation – CUT reiterates its condemnation of the policies of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory which ignore the resolutions of the United Nations (UN) in disrespect to international standards on human rights, as expressed in its 6th National Congress.

Our resolution is still valid as unfortunately more than 5,900 Palestinians are still held as political prisoners in Israeli jails, while in Jerusalem more than 950 Palestinian homes were demolished in the last 10 years, and construction of new housing units for Jewish settlers widens daily in Palestinian territory. Not to mention the pressure of “checkpoints” that feed the climate of constant fear in the Palestinian population.

The advancement of the Israeli offensive, symbolized by the construction of the wall of apartheid and the constant bombing of Gaza requires solidarity with the Palestinian People from us all to carry out policies that go beyond humanitarian assistance and can contribute in a relevant way to build peace in Palestine. Thus we urge trade unions, social and popular movements to support the campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions to policies of occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel.

We regret that Brazil is the third largest consumer of arms from Israel through the Plan of National Defense Strategy of the Ministry of Defense of Brazil, and that arms agreements contribute indirectly to the occupation of Palestinian territory. It is therefore necessary that the Brazilian government suspend current agreements and bilateral economic / military negotiations between Brazil and Israel. It is unacceptable that the Free Trade Agreement between MERCOSUR and Israel becomes a reality.

We urge social movements and grassroots organizations to build the National Conference for peace and solidarity with the Palestinian people, to be held in Brazil in the second half of 2011. We demand respect for the right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and land and for their self-determination to build their own state.

We condemn the escalation of belligerent policies of Israel, including the inhumane and illegal siege on Gaza, the continuing construction of settlements, the wall of apartheid and the repression of human rights of Palestinian and internationals, including the brutal attack on the Freedom Fleet on May 31, 2010, with a Brazilian citizen on board.

Free Palestine!

São Paulo, January 14, 2011.

Artur Henrique da Silva Santos – National President CUT
Quintino Severo – General Secretary
Jọo Antonio Felicio РInternational Relations Secretary