British trade leaders endorse boycott of Israel

The leaders of British trade unions have passed a motion seen as endorsing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, JTA reports.

The nonbinding motion, passed Wednesday at the union’s main gathering and internal elections event in Brighton by the Trades Union Congress, calls for prioritizing “Palestinians’ rights to justice and equality, including by applying these principles based on international law to all UK trade with Israel.”

The motion, introduced by the member group Artists’ Union England, also accuses Israel of “destroying prospects for peace.”

The Trade Union Congress, which has 5.6 million members, has adopted several similar motions in recent years.

In 2010, it agreed to “encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from and boycott the goods of companies who profit from illegal settlements, the occupation and the construction” of Israel’s security barrier.

In 2014, Britain’s largest trade union, UNITE, voted to boycott Israeli companies in a unanimous vote.

There have also been calls for a boycott of Israel in British academia.

In 2014, the UK’s Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced that it would push for an international boycott of the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA).

Britain’s Minister of State for Universities and Science at the time, David Willetts, rejected initiatives for an academic boycott of Israel.

More recently, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies passed a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions.

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