September 2011
Board and JLC Write to TUC General Secretary

On the 13th September, the Board together with the JLC sent a letter to Brendan Barber, General Secretary of TUC, to raise the community’s concerns in advance of the vote on a TUC motion that will call for a review of relations with Histradut (a Union that fights for the rights of all workers in Israel, regardless of their backgrounds).

Please find the text of that letter below:

13 September 2011

Dear Brendan

We feel compelled to write to you whilst your Conference is in session as we understand it is likely that you will adopt Resolution 71 together with the PCS amendment. We are surprised and distraught that such a position might enjoy the support of the TUC General Council, which is failing to demonstrate principled leadership in this instance.

It is particularly ironic and shameful that the TUC will adopt text calling upon it to review bilateral relations with all Israeli organisations (a step towards full boycott by stealth) whilst at the same time reaffirming and solidifying its links with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, an organisation that fails to support resolution of the conflict through a two state solution. The backing of this position by the General Council and its possible adoption by your conference jeopardises the claim of the Trade Union Movement to stand firm against all forms of racism and antisemitism.

When we last met you we set out the many ways in which the PSC, through its local branches and its activists often cross the boundaries from normative political debate into the politics of hate and antisemitism. Just a few recent examples of this include:

- The Liverpool branch of PSC publishing a cartoon on a webpage called "the power of Zionists" which shows a Jewish man with a hooked nose holding a star of David ordering an American soldier to war on behalf of Israel. (The same cartoon is available on a USA Neo Nazi website under the heading "Kikes".)

- The previous chair of West Midlands PSC, whilst in office ran the website which promoted Holocaust revisionist material and writings by the likes of David Duke and Ernst Zundel.

- The conviction of Scottish PSC member Paul Donnachie of racially harassing a Jewish student.

- The publications of articles on the Norwich PSC website blaming Jews for the Holocaust; material by racist conspiracy theorist James Petras; and accusations that the Holocaust Educational Trust aims to maintain "a culture of gentile guilt and Jewish victimhood in British schools".

- Norwich PSC's publication of a video by Holocaust denier Anthony Lawson.

- A representative of PSC's Reading branch suggesting that Jews control the media and that most adherents to the Torah are "enemies of humanity".

- The comment of the Chair of Waltham Forest PSC that the recent Norwegian terror massacre was an Israeli Government sponsored operation.

- The comments of an officer of another London PSC branch that the treatment of the Jews by Hitler requires further examination in order to "uncover the truth".

The message being sent out by the leadership of the TUC is that organisations which foster this kind of hate-filled politics towards Jews are suitable partners for Trade Unionists. It is particularly perverse to reaffirm that partnership whilst launching a review of your relationship with bodies such as the Histradut (a Union that fights for the rights of all workers, regardless of their backgrounds).

We respectfully suggest request that the TUC General Council urgently reconsiders its decision to support this resolution.

This is a moment for principled leadership to prevail.