Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Britain's Trades Union Congress and the BDS Movement

The following article, entitled “The British Trade Union Movement, Israel, and Boycotts”, is by Ronnie Fraser, and has been issued by the Institute of Global Jewish Affairs. Ronnie Fraser is Director of the Academic Friends of Israel, which he founded in 2002. He is a doctoral student at Royal Holloway College in London, where his research focuses on the attitudes and policies of the British trade unions and the TUC toward Israel from 1945 to 1982. His essays include "Trade Union and Other Boycotts of Israel in Great Britain and Ireland" (2009), published online by the Institute of Global Jewish Affairs; "The Academic Boycott of Israel: Why Britain?" in Manfred Gerstenfeld, ed., Academics against Israel and the Jews (Jerusalem: JCPA, 2007); and "Understanding Trade Union Hostility towards Israel and Its Consequences for Anglo-Jewry," in Paul Iganski and Barry Kosmin, eds., A New Anti-Semitism? (London: JPR, 2003).

Writes Mr Fraser:

Over the past thirty years the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and member unions have regularly adopted resolutions containing anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian rhetoric. A whole generation of British left-wing trade union activists has been raised on a diet of conference motions whose only mention of Israel is in connection with its "brutality" and "oppression" of the Palestinian people. The current political position held by the leaders of Britain's working class reflects a historical bias and amnesia concerning the state of Israel.

At its 2010 Congress the TUC decided to strengthen ties with the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) and reinforce its BDS campaign against Israel. One outcome is that the TUC, which once encouraged peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, can no longer be considered a friend of Israel's trade union movement, the Histadrut.

The majority of the motions on Palestine that are submitted to annual union conferences in the UK tend not to represent the views of the general membership, but instead the political positions of the activists who are usually socialist and left-wing ideologues. This left-wing minority has made sure that in 2011 most of the major trade unions and the TUC have resolutions on their books supporting the BDS campaign against Israel as well as being affiliated to the PSC. //It is not clear whether the TUC will be as actively anti-Israeli as its PSC colleagues want it to be, especially in the current economic climate. The labor movement's priority for the foreseeable future is to concentrate on trying to save jobs and pensions especially in the UK public sector. Much will also depend on developments in the Middle East, and particularly the Israeli-Palestinian dynamics.

On the eve of the San Remo Conference in 1920, which formally recognized Britain as the mandatory authority for Palestine, the Labour Party and the TUC (Trades Union Congress), the representative body for the British trade union movement, signed a letter urging British prime minister David Lloyd George to accept the Palestine mandate and thereby make possible a Jewish national home.[1] Yet ninety years later, the TUC not only finds itself advocating sanctions against the Jewish state but is also on the brink of severing links with its fellow socialists in the Israeli labor movement and calling for the delegitimization of the state of Israel. The key moment in the changeover from support for the Jewish state to support for the Palestinian Arabs came in 1982 at the time of the First Lebanon War.

It is, however, abundantly clear that from the very beginning the TUC has given priority to British interests in the Middle East over its friendship with the Histadrut, the Israeli trade union movement. Over the past thirty years the TUC and the unions have regularly adopted resolutions containing anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian rhetoric, and a whole generation of British left-wing trade union activists has been raised on a diet of conference motions whose only mention of Israel is in connection with its "brutality" and "oppression" of the Palestinian people.

The current political position held by the leaders of Britain's working class unfortunately reflects a historical bias and amnesia concerning the state of Israel. They have disregarded the facts and are willing to boycott a country that was founded by socialist pioneers and was governed by a Labor Party for most of its history. They have forgotten that Israeli society has developed from one of the most successful socialist experiments in the world with its kibbutzim and cooperatives, as well as the strong part that the Histadrut played in the national economy. It was no wonder that in the 1950s and 1960s Israel was long seen as a role model for other newly independent, developing countries. What is clear is that it is political issues rather than trade union matters that have caused the current friction between the TUC and the Histadrut.

Britain's trade unions have always reflected the views of either the activists or the leadership. The consequence is that the majority of the motions on Palestine that are submitted to annual union conferences tend not to represent the views of the general membership, but instead the political positions of the activists who are usually socialist and left-wing ideologues. It is often these same activists who attend union conferences and vote on these motions, which decide the policy and future direction of the union.

Hence, this left-wing minority has made sure that in 2011 most of the major trade unions and the TUC have resolutions on their books supporting the global boycotts, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign directed at Israel as well as being affiliated to the Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC). Hugh Lanning, PSC chairman and deputy General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, has said that:
 "The PSC is committed to not only building an effective campaign for boycotting settlement goods with the TUC, but also to work to take TUC policy further, together with individual unions, many of which already have policy supporting a full boycott."[2]
The PSC, as part of the global BDS campaign, supports the establishment of a Palestinian state and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees as well as campaigning for a full boycott of Israel, which includes an economic, academic, and cultural boycott until Israel "respects international law."[3] They also have called for full recognition of Hamas as the "democratic government of Palestine" and while not explicitly supporting Palestinian terrorism they refuse to oppose it, preferring instead to assert the right of the Palestinians to "resist occupation."
The TUC and the Histadrut: The Early Years, 1920-1948

The TUC's relationship with the Histadrut from 1920, when the latter was formed, to 1945 can best be described as one of branch office and head office. The TUC was always there for the Histadrut when issues relating to pay or working conditions arose in Palestine, and if asked the TUC would always contact the relevant British government department in an attempt to solve the problem. David Ben-Gurion, as the first General Secretary of the Histadrut, made it a priority during this period to lobby both the TUC and the Labour Party on behalf of the Jews of Palestine to ensure that they continued to support the establishment of a Jewish homeland. As a result several Labour Party and union leaders went to Palestine during the interwar years and were highly impressed with the work of the kibbutz movement.

In many ways the PSC's raison d'être for building a partnership with the unions in recent years is very similar to that of Ben-Gurion in the 1930s and 1940s. However, both the PSC and the leaders of the global BDS campaign have made it clear that their ultimate aim is a one-state solution and not just an independent Palestinian state coexisting alongside the state of Israel.

The relationship between the TUC and the Histadrut radically changed once the British Labour Party came to power in 1945. This was the start of the period when the international labor movement was at its most powerful and influential in world affairs, and the TUC competed with the Russian and American unions for leadership of the international movement. When Ernest Bevin, the Foreign Secretary and a former trade union leader, failed to deliver on the Labour Party's prewar promises to support the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, relations with the Histadrut soured because the TUC placed its loyalty to the Labour government's foreign policies above lobbying the government on behalf of their fellow socialists in the Histadrut.

Thus, all the time and effort that the Histadrut and its leaders had expended over the previous twenty-five years in building links and friendship with the TUC came to nothing. However, this was not to be the only time in the next fifty years that the Histadrut would conflate long-term links and friendship with support for its cause.

The TUC and the Histadrut: Friendship with No Real Support, 1948-1982

With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, the status of the Histadrut vis-à-vis the TUC changed. The Histadrut was now the representative for the workers movement in Israel, which was an independent sovereign state and no longer part of the British Empire. Unlike the TUC, the Histadrut, as the second most important Jewish organization after the Jewish Agency, knew exactly what its international role was: to provide unconditional support for the state of Israel, its government's foreign policy, and to build links with the international trade union movement.[4] The TUC, which previously had operated as an independent body, was brought into the Labour government by Bevin to assist in the battle against the spread of communism in Europe and elsewhere. Although the TUC was ill-prepared and underresourced for this role, over the next twenty years it willingly cooperated with the British Foreign Office to help rebuild British influence in the Ara b world.

Once Britain had withdrawn from Palestine, the British labor movement's international focus shifted away from Israel to other issues in the Middle East. Although the Histadrut tried to rebuild links with Britain, they were only fully restored once the Histadrut had joined the pro-Western, anticommunist International Confederation of Trade Unions (ICFTU) in 1953. Relations gradually improved during the early 1950s when several prominent Labour politicians and trade unionists visited Israel to see the achievements of their fellow socialists there. However, it was the Labour Party, rather than the TUC, that was the main beneficiary of these improved links as witnessed by Labour's support for Israel during the Suez crisis. Although the TUC opposed British military action, its leaders refused to become directly involved unlike the Labour Party.

The TUC's reaction to Israel's wars with its Arab neighbors in 1967and 1973 was to give priority to British regional interests and British government policy. In 1967 the TUC, unlike its European and American trade union counterparts, refused a request from the Histadrut to publicly show solidarity with Israel's plight. It preferred instead to follow the British government's neutral line, a move that shocked the Histadrut. However, immediately after hostilities ceased the TUC visited Israel and Jordan, a mission that was a forerunner to the international labor movement's many efforts since to try and bring peace to the region through union cooperation.[5]

By the time of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the TUC did no more than identify itself with an ICFTU statement, grassroots support for Israel from within the Labour Party and the unions was declining. The generation that had experienced the traumas of the 1930s and 1940s was gradually being replaced by left-wing activists for whom support for Palestinian independence was more important than Israel, which they identified with Britain's colonial past. This change was reflected by the TUC itself, which by 1980 was already in regular contact with the London office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

The TUC and the Histadrut: Changing Sides

The end of over sixty years of British trade union support for the Jews of Palestine and Israel came in 1982 when the TUC Congress adopted a resolution that not only condemned Israel's invasion of Lebanon but also recognized "the national rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination within an independent sovereign state."[6] With TUC support confirmed, a similar motion was approved a few weeks later at the Labour Party's annual conference.

From 1945 to 1982 the Histadrut had worked hard building contacts with the British unions and the TUC. Although both sides often referred to links going back to 1920, relations were never as friendly as they seemed because the TUC always put self-interest and support for British Middle East policies first. The trade union campaign for a Palestinian homeland culminating in the successful Congress resolution had been masterminded by the Trade Union Friends of Palestine (TUFP), a pressure group that understood the TUC's ongoing susceptibility to the demands of determined unions or coalitions of minority interests. By 1982 the TUFP had considerable union backing including the support of the Left, for which the PLO was the underdog and a Third World independence movement fighting against a colonial power.

As the situation in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza deteriorated throughout the 1980s, the TUFP consolidated union support for a Palestinian homeland. British trade unionists regularly made visits to the region and passed many resolutions critical of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. The ICFTU along with the TUC continued to support moves to bring together the Palestinian trade union movement, the PGFTU, and the Histadrut in the hope that collaboration would eventually lead to peace. There were also attempts to improve conditions for Palestinian workers both in Israel and the territories. It was during the 1980s that NATFHE (the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education), the lecturers union best known for its support for an academic boycott of Israel, started its work in support of Palestinian academics.

The TUC's Current BDS Program

An alliance between the Middle Eastern resistance networks such as the PSC and the liberal Left has resulted in London becoming a global center for the delegitimization of the state of Israel.[7] This grouping has certainly influenced union activists and provides one explanation for why the TUC has chosen to ignore the advice from the last British Labour government that "Boycotts have no positive role to play in alleviating the suffering and insecurity that Palestinians, and Israelis, have endured in recent years." [8]

Instead the TUC decided at its 2010 Congress to strengthen ties with the PSC and reinforce its BDS campaign against Israel. The TUC's Secretary General, Brendan Barber, has said that the TUC's current plans include strengthening

the implementation of the existing (BDS) policy by divesting from and boycotting the goods of companies which profit from the illegal settlements, the occupation and the construction of the wall, including putting the burden of proof on companies to demonstrate the integrity of their supply chains, while continuing to demand that the Government and the European Union prohibit the import of such goods.[9]

However, because the TUC has no constituency of its own it has to depend on others for the grassroots campaigning. Since the unions are not very good at communicating directly with their members, there are very few union members other than the activists who are currently aware of the TUC "Stolen Goods" campaign and even fewer who are willing to implement it.[10] More significantly, the TUC and the unions cannot force their members to stop buying Israeli products; success can only be achieved by the strength of their arguments. This situation could change if BDS became an acceptable news story. In the present economic climate, "TUC votes to boycott Israel" is a nonstory for the media. Nor is the TUC's campaign helped by the academic unions' continuing failure to institute an academic boycott of Israel. Although a trade union boycott campaign with access to six million union members could, if correctly managed and with media support, become an effective economi c weapon against Israel, it seems unlikely that the current TUC BDS campaign will succeed.

The unions claim that affiliation to the PSC does not mean they totally support that group. But with PSC supporters holding influential positions in the unions it would not take much effort, if conditions were right, for the unions to adopt more extreme PSC policies. The TUC denies that affiliation to the PSC creates a problem for them, insisting that they are in charge of their BDS campaign and not their advisers, the PSC. Nevertheless, since the latest TUC Congress resolution called for the TUC to work closely with the PSC, the latter could understandably consider themselves partners rather than advisers.

One outcome of the 2010 Congress, however, is that the TUC, which once encouraged peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, can no longer be considered a friend of the Histadrut. This is not only because they are contemplating severing links with the latter but also because of their support for those who reject the peace process. TUC support for the BDS campaign also conveniently ignores that BDS is only one part of a larger global movement to delegitimize the state of Israel.

Signing the TUC up to their consumer BDS campaign has given the PSC a big boost. The TUC is seen as a mainstream rather than fringe organization in Britain, providing the PSC with an opportunity to enlist wider public support. In a separate but related move, the international BDS movement is attempting to tie itself to the world of liberal, progressive values in Europe and North America by defining the movement's goals in universally appealing language regarding international law, human rights, and universal justice.[11]

Yet the international BDS campaign, which began at the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism in Durban, has had very little success, especially in the United States or Britain, and the TUC has yet to admit this point. The global BDS campaign has failed so far to put a brake on Israel's economy, as Israel's GDP has nearly doubled over the past ten years alongwith a significant increase in its exports.The BDS movement in an effort to boost its profile has claimed many victories, but all too often its claims are false.[12] One side effect of the promotion of BDS, which the unions and the TUC have yet to publicly acknowledge, is that their activists' use of anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist discourse provokes hostility against British Jews and inadvertently affects the rising number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain.[13]

The TUC and other groups, such as the British antipoverty NGO War on Want, can legally promote a boycott of goods from the West Bank settlements because the West Bank and Gaza have no legal status in international law, not being part of Israel or any other sovereign state. This anomaly allows the British government to say, on the one hand, that it "opposes a boycott of Israel and of Israeli goods"[14] while at the same time saying it supports the labeling of settlement goods from the West Bank.[15] However, if the TUC and the unions wanted to promote a BDS campaign targeting Israelis and the state of Israel they would be wise to obtain legal advice because, as the UCU (University Lecturers Union) found out in 2007, promoting an academic boycott of Israel is against the law as it seriously risks infringing UK discrimination legislation.[16]

The TUC's proposal to divest from and boycott the goods of companies that support the "illegal occupation" has echoes of the Arab League's official boycott of Israeli companies and Israeli-made goods, which first emerged in 1946. It is worth noting that Britain, unlike the United States, has yet to pass legislation against supporting an Arab boycott of Israel. By focusing on companies that "support the occupation" the TUC would be joining the PSC and War on Want, which already tell their supporters what companies they would like boycotted or pressurized into withdrawing their investments from Israel. Current targets include British telecommunications company BT, French multinational Veolia, and the Israeli companies Eden Water and defense contractor Elbit Systems.[17]

When the Arab boycott was at its height during the 1960s and 1970s, many British companies did comply with Arab League demands to cease trading with Israel. Their decisions were made on economic grounds as jobs and profits would have been at risk. The request to boycott this time, however, is being made by the TUC on moral rather than economic grounds and consumer boycotts so far have not been very effective. Without media and government support a consumer boycott of Israeli products will never be more than an irritant to Israel's economy.

The Outlook

Matters may come to a head after the May 2011 PGFTU Congress, if the PGFTU decides to pass a resolution supporting a full boycott of Israel. The Palestinian Authority, which is hoping that its current strategy over peace negotiations will split American and European support for Israel, will look for a similar reaction from within the international trade union movement if a boycott motion is adopted. If the PGFTU approves a boycott resolution it could directly affect the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), whose current policy is to work for increased Israeli-Palestinian trade union cooperation.[18] The ITUC, which has continued the longstanding efforts of the ICFTU, was formed out of the merger of the latter and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) in 2006. In a bid to relieve the pressure, the ITUC and TUC General Secretaries visited Israel in September 2010 and issued a statement soon afterward on future Histadrut-PGFTU relations.[19] The Bri tish and Scandinavian unions would certainly welcome a PGFTU boycott resolution as it would give a green light to their boycott campaigns.

The UCU is hoping to coordinate BDS work with unions both in the UK and Europe, create a union BDS website, hold a BDS annual conference, and establish an anti-Israeli research center. They realize that BDS is a long-term strategy, which could take fifteen to twenty years to succeed. [20] The number-one priority for union activists as well as the PSC is to sever all contacts between the Histadrut and the PGFTU as these creates a real problem for their BDS campaign. As a result of PSC pressure in 2009, the PGFTU reaffirmed its support for a boycott.[21]

These same activists have also called for the TUC to sever its links with the Histadrut. The large unions and their activists would certainly have the votes to ensure such a decision would be endorsed if it came to a vote at the next TUC Congress. This, however, would put the TUC on a collision course with the American and German unions, who along with the ITUC oppose boycotting Israel. It is also unlikely that the ITUC would support moves to sever links with the Histadrut since they rejected such a move at their last Congress.[22]

In February 2011 the ITUC General Council, whose members include the General Secretaries of the Histadrut and the TUC, approved its "Workers' Pact for Peace and Justice for Palestine and Israel," which sets out a clear pathway to secure a comprehensive peace between Israel and Palestine, based on the coexistence in conditions of security of two sovereign, independent, and viable states. This document commits the ITUC and its affiliates to "international solidarity in support of this Pact for Peace and Justice, mark[ing] our common commitment to security, freedom, democracy and opportunity for future generations of Palestinian and Israeli workers and their families."

Even though the accord commits the ITUC to assisting the Palestinian Authority to find jobs for its workforce, it appears that the TUC would still be able to continue its boycott of settlement goods as the document also supports the call to freeze settlement building and "to commit to providing the necessary solidarity to achieve a just outcome."[23] Only time will tell whether this initiative will have any effect on the TUC's current boycott policies.

The TUC's dilemma over future links with the Histadrut could be affected by the Palestinian Authority, who is reported to have reconsidered its plan to prohibit Palestinians from working in West Bank settlements as a result of opposition from the PGFTU.[24] The PGFTU has warned, almost since the idea was first floated in May 2010, that a settlements-work ban would be a major disaster for the thirty-five thousand Palestinians working in the settlements and the Palestinian economy. Therefore, as long as Palestinians are working in the settlements, contact between the Histadrut and the PGFTU will continue since the settlements operate under Israeli labor laws. Such a move would allow the TUC, which is a well-respected and longstanding member of the international trade union movement, to retain its standing and ignore calls to sever links with the Histadrut.

The TUC still has a very good reputation worldwide and is very supportive of the international labor movement, having built its reputation in the corridors of power of the international movement rather than with workers in the field. Whereas the trade union movement in Israel has been part of the political landscape for over sixty years, the trade union movements in many Arab countries are still subject to state influence and control. According to the ITUC, the region remains one of the parts of the world where union rights are the least protected and respected. In Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Palestine, the political tensions and violence are having a negative impact on trade union activities.[25]

The global BDS movement is quite clear that their real aim is not ending the "occupation" of the West Bank and helping the Palestinians establish their own state, but eliminating the state of Israel. One of the leaders of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, has said that BDS stands for ending Israel's occupation of all Arab lands, ending the racial discrimination against Israel's Palestinian citizens, and recognizing the right of the Palestinians to return home. Boycotts have always been used to isolate Jews and the actions of the BDS movement are no different. Although this time boycotts are directed at Israeli Jews, any boycott call will affect Jews wherever they live and work in the world.

Even if the TUC is aware of the consequences of its alliance with the PSC, will they go as far as their PSC colleagues want them to? The TUC's international department understands the nuances and complexities of the Israeli and Palestinian dispute, but their role is to implement General Council decisions and Congress motions. Nevertheless, their advice could well be overruled if the more extreme policies of BDS are adopted, especially if incidents resulting in negative publicity for Israel similar to the flotilla or Israel's offensive against Gaza occur again in the future. The TUC in many respects is at the mercy of the unions and the activists.

The TUC along with the ITUC has put much time and effort over the past forty years in trying to build bridges between the Histadrut and the PGFTU. At times they have succeeded, especially when tension has been reduced. It would seem unwise to institute boycotts that will affect jobs for Palestinian workers when the Palestinian economy, like Israel's, is expanding.[26] The TUC is a British institution that is seen by both sides as a key player in the success or failure of their respective campaigns. However, the various arguments against the TUC running a successful consumer BDS campaign seem to outweigh those in favor of them getting it right.

It is not clear, then, whether the TUC will be as actively anti-Israeli as its PSC colleagues want it to be, especially in the current economic climate. The TUC's international work and its BDS campaign will inevitably suffer as the labor movement's priority for the foreseeable future is to concentrate on trying to save jobs and pensions especially in the public sector. Much will also depend on the politics and the stability of the region, as support for the Palestinians or the Israelis can just as easily go up or down depending on future events. What is certain is that the TUC will do as it has always done and give priority to its own and British interests.

At the height of the First Lebanon War, the then TUC General Secretary was advised by the head of the International Department that rather than impose a boycott on Israel, the TUC stood a much better chance of influencing Israel through the Histadrut. While the TUC may have forgotten his advice, the Histadrut has been trying for the past thirty years to build bridges for peace with its Palestinian counterparts. All too often, though, politics has got in the way.


[1] S. Levenberg, The Jews and Palestine: A Study in Labour Zionism (London: Poale Zion, 1945), 206-207.
[2] PSC website,
[3] Ibid.
[4] Reuven Barkatt as head of the Histadrut's International Department presented a review of the past ten years of Histadrut international activity to the Histadrut Executive Committee, fourth meeting, 4 March 1958, 161-744, Lavon archives, Tel Aviv.
[5] In 1967-1968 the TUC sent separate missions to Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt so as to bring the Arab unions into direct contact with the Histadrut. Previously there had been little contact between the Arab unions and the TUC.
[6] Emergency motion submitted to the 1982 TUC Congress by the Fire Brigades Union. TUC Congress proceedings 1982, International Committee debate, 615-617.
[7] "The Delegitimization Challenge: Creating a Political Firewall," Reut Institute report,
[8] For the full statement, see
[9] Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary speaking during the Palestine debate, TUC Congress 2010,
[10] See TUC campaign leaflet, Also Jonny Paul, "Calls for settlement boycott in UK," Jerusalem Post, 12 April 2010.
[11] "Delegitimization Challenge."
[12] A recent 2010 example was when the BDS movement took credit for the sell-offs of Israeli shares by pension funds and other institutional investors, the sales of which were all undertaken for purely technical reasons connected with Israel's admittance to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).
[13] CST report on "Antisemitic Discourse" in the UK 2009,
[14] For the full statement, see
[15] See
[16] "Israel Boycott Illegal and Cannot Be Implemented, UCU Tells Members," 28 September 2007, See also UCU Circular 41, 1 October 2007,
[17] See PSC website, Also see War on Want report,
[18] One such effort was in 2008 when under the auspices of the ITUC, the Histadrut and the PGFTU, both of which are affiliated to the ITUC, signed a landmark agreement to protect the rights of Palestinian workers employed by Israeli employers and to base future relations on negotiations, dialogue, and joint initiatives to advance "fraternity and coexistence between the two peoples." This agreement draws on the terms of an initial 1995 agreement that could not be fully implemented in the intervening years and allows for the remittance of 50 percent of the union dues of Palestinians legally employed by Israeli employers, an arrangement that exists nowhere else in the world. ITUC Press Release, 6 August 2008,
[19] "Israel/Palestine: Now Is the Time for Serious Negotiation,"
[20] "The view from Britain: Unions launch campaign to sever links with the Histadrut,"Academic Friends of Israel Digest 9, no. 5, 23 May 2010.
[21] At the beginning of November 2009, the Trade Union Friends of Israel (TUFI) took a delegation of senior trade unionists to Israel and Palestine. As part of this trip the delegation spent a day in the West Bank city of Nablus and met with Shaher Sa'ad, General Secretary of the PGFTU. Following the meeting Britain's boycott movement applied severe pressure on the PGFTU. The result was their renunciation of their previous stance, and issuance of public calls to boycott the Histadrut. For full details, see
[22] "World's unions reject boycotts, embrace Israeli-Palestinian cooperation,"
[23] ITUC statement, "Workers' Pact for Peace and Justice for Palestine and Israel,"
[24] "PGFTU may have won campaign against PA ban on settlement work,"
[25] ITUC Annual Survey of Trade Union Violations 2009,
[26] Charles Levinson, "IMF: Palestinian Economy Is Growing," Wall Street Journal, 13 September 2010,; Gwen Ackerman, "Israeli Growth Unexpectedly Accelerates to 4.7%," Bloomberg, 16 August 2010,

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