In These Times
by Jeff Schuhrke
May 26, 2021
While some national labor groups remain silent, union locals across the country are speaking out to defend Palestinians from Israeli aggression.
While a ceasefire announced on May 20 has helped stem some of the deadliest attacks by Israel in the latest round of aggression, Palestinians are still enduring state violence at the hands of the right-wing Israeli government. In response, Palestinian trade unions have been repeating longstanding calls for the international labor movement to join them in their struggle for freedom — including by supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which aims to put economic and diplomatic pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
Over the past two weeks, several unions in the United States have responded to these calls with an unprecedented outpouring of support for Palestinians.
On May 13, Roofers Local 36 in Los Angeles issued a statement that condemns “human rights violations perpetrated by the Israeli state against the people of Palestine” and calls on President Biden to “immediately halt all economic and military assistance to Israel.”
“Imperialist aggression, ethnic cleansing and genocide are the enemy of all working people and organized labor must step forward to defend the democratic rights of oppressed peoples everywhere,” the statement says.
“Many of our members are migrants from oppressed nations, often without documentation. We’re a multinational and multicultural workforce who bond together to improve our conditions,” Cliff Smith, business manager for Roofers Local 36, told In These Times. “It’s natural for us to identify with the struggles of oppressed and working people in Palestine or anywhere else.”
Please check out PSU-AAUP's solidarity statement here.