Major boycott of Israel victory as PSI congress adopts boycott resolution
30 December 2012

A major boycott of Israel victory has been achieved in Durban, South Africa. One of the largest international trade unions, the Public Services International (PSI), at its recent World Congress (27-30 November) voted to fully support and advance the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign. The PSI World Congress also adopted a resolution to promote and partake-in the annual awareness-raising initiative, the annual Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) campaign.

The PSI represents 20 million workers globally who deliver public services in 150 countries. Two South African trade unions, the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) and the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) belong to the PSI. In fact, it was SAMWU that proposed the boycott of Israel resolution to the PSI World Congress.

The PSI World Congress ends today, Friday the 30th of November, at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC). The boycott of Israel vote took place on Wednesday the 28th of August. In support of the vote, a public protest was held outside the Durban ICC (the venue of the PSI World Congress) by members of SAMWU and NEHAWU. The protest came after reports that some public sector unions from other countries who were present at the PSI World Congress were (unsuccessfully) subjected to political pressure from the Israeli-lobby not to support a resolution on the boycott of Israel.

Tahir Sema of SAMWU said after the vote: "It is through international workers solidarity that great gains have been achieved for human rights historically and the PSI endorsement of action for Palestine re-affirms this."

Rafeef Ziadah, of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS (PTUC-BDS) commented from Brazil where she received news of the PSI resolution: "We welcome today's resolution and look forward to working with the PSI as well as its local South African members, SAMWU and NEHAWU, in advancing the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel campaign within trade unions. Israel must be isolated, like apartheid South Africa was, until it ends its violence against the Palestinian people, abides to international law and  ends its apartheid policies."

Muhammed Desai of BDS South Africa also welcomed the PSI World Congress resolution: "Public tenders, municipal contracts and other services must now be scrutinized by shop-stewards and trade unionists to ensure that our public services are not in any way connected to Israel. There should be no normal relations with an abnormal state."


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