UAW, the trade union chapter 2865 representing mainly graduate workers, including teaching assistants at University of California campuses will vote today (4 December) on a major BDS motion.
The case against BDS has been powerfully, and hopefully persuasively, stated by a number of people affiliated to the UAW:
'As members and officers of UAW 2865—current and former; Jewish and non-Jewish—we write to oppose the Joint Council’s decision to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Furthermore, we strongly oppose the proposal calling for divestment and an academic boycott.
The BDS movement is not progressive; it is unjust. It rejects the international consensus position on peace and pushes the most strident demands of the rejectionist camp. It collectively punishes Israelis and Palestinians, and stymies efforts to reach across divides, engage in dialogue, and build mutual trust. Moreover, it rejects basic academic values by opposing cooperation and the free exchange of ideas within the academy. Finally, it manipulates and selectively presents facts to delegitimize Israel, and, in essence, calls for the end of the Jewish State. Support for BDS is unworthy of our union.
Our union leadership has also violated the union’s fundamental principles of democracy, transparency, and solidarity in its efforts to promote BDS. It has announced a membership vote, but stacked the deck in favor of BDS. Our leadership has publicized numerous pro-BDS documents and events, spending thousands of dollars in the process. It has refused to send even a single paragraph representing an anti-BDS viewpoint to its mailing list. Moreover, by promoting an academic boycott against Israel, our leadership stigmatizes and isolates those of us who are Israeli, who do research on Israel, or who have Israeli collaborators. We are saddened that our union leadership would injure its own members to pursue a political goal unrelated to the union’s core mission.
We are proud of the UAW International and the University of California (UC) for taking principled stands against BDS, and urge them to continue rejecting calls for divestment from Israel. The president of the UAW International expressed our sentiments by signing a letter declaring that, “[r]ather than divestment from Israel, we believe that investment of time, energy and material aid is the best means to alleviate the ongoing suffering of Palestinians and Israelis.” The UC also expressed our sentiments by issuing a statement that “isolation of Israel among all of the countries of the world greatly disturbs us and is of grave concern to members of the Jewish community."
We urge all members of UAW 2865 to join us—as well as the leadership of the nine UC campuses, the president of the UC system, over 250 university presidents, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the American Council on Education and the American Association of University Professors—in categorically rejecting proposals to support BDS and academic and cultural boycotts of Israel.
We ask everyone to make their voices heard by voting NO in the statewide vote December 4.'Read more including footnotes and the names of signatories, here/
(Manfred Gerstenfeld has a not impertinent article here)
For far left ratbaggery that lies behind this motion and others of its kind see the video of a discussion that took place on the issue on 12 November on one of the University of California campuses.
Here's a taste:
'Lara Kiswani (executive director of the Arab Resource Organizing Center in the Bay Area) :
'.... Moving forward, so the student movement today and since the 90s has been focused a lot around BDS. Now we talk about Boycott, Divest, Sanctions having started in 2005, but you know BDS started way before that actually. And at the heart of BDS, and why I say BDS, and I know this panel is about labor, but 8:25 BDS is about isolating Zionism, BDS is about isolating Israel economically, politically and culturally and that's a labor issue. And so the only way we can actually do that is by working hand-in-hand with labor, by making sure that the driving forces of the economy are able to disrupt that very system that we're trying to bring down. And that is why labor is so key to it, and that is why BDS also centralizes labor as an aspect of that piece of work. And so in 2000, 8:55 we saw BDS kind of sprouting up at different campuses, I mean SJP [Students for Justice in Palestine, run by American Muslims for Palestine, a Hamas-aligned group], sprouting up at different campuses, and BDS was central to that, and we saw a lot of students also being the main driving force of that movement. But one of the things that was sort of different than it is today, and I'm hoping this conversation will lend itself to this also moving forward, about how 9:17 SJP's and the BDS work on campuses also dismantle the barrier between the university -- the academy -- and the community, because SJPs and BDS were brought from the community onto the campus, and SJP also brought BDS and isolating Zionism into the community. There was really a they were working hand-in-hand in terms of ways of thinking through strategies about how we can isolate Israel all over the world, right? And so here in the Bay Area we saw that happen. I was part of that work, in terms of how we, you know, we locked down Wheeler Hall, it was like, several dozen people that did that but the majority of them weren't actually students, right? So they were students that were involved in that. I was a student at Davis and I came to Berkeley to lock it down, there was solidarity across campuses. 10:02 The idea was to tell students, was to tell professors, to tell academics, to not engage with Zionism or Israeli institutions because doing that is the way we can isolate Israel culturally and economically and the reason for that being is, I don't have to tell you guys this, but you know, graduate students are the ones who do all the work, graduate students are the ones that actually do the work that professors get credit for most often, and the ones who do the work most academic institutions profit off of, right? 10:30 So, if graduate students and undergrad students, even, were to just disrupt that system whether it be by not, you know, participating in an event, whether it's Israeli academics, you know, I take, I think BDS shouldn't just be limited to the points that have been brought out internationally, I think you should boycott any Zionist institution, academic, organization, whether it be from 1967 occupied Palestine or 1948 occupied Palestine because BDS really should be about shifting the cultural framework and shifting how we see Israel and isolating it and making it feel unwelcome anywhere and everywhere, and the only way we can do that is by making it clear that we are not only disengaging ourselves as workers as activists from institutions or organizations or individuals that profit off of occupation in 1967 Palestine. 11:34 The way we do that is we make it clear that the real issue, the heart of the issue is an anti-colonial struggle, we're resisting colonialism in Palestine and colonialism entails all of occupied Palestine from Haifa to Jerusalem to Ramallah, right? So moving forward in terms of how we brought this type of framework into the Block the Boat work which is what we were talking about, I'll try not to talk to long, but, to the Block the Boat work, , when, you know the recent assault on Rasmea [Odeh - see my previous post - D.A.] created an outrage in our community as the Arab/Palestinian community specifically, you know, we saw images we haven't seen, really widely surfacing as widely as they were on social media and even on main stream media, there was a shift of public perception 12:25 as a result and we experienced the assault on Palestine since 1948 or prior, but what we saw during this smear was pretty gruesome and disgusting and really forced us to action and wanting us to really put an end to what we were seeing on the daily basis, in Gaza and also in the West Bank. So we came together and we mobilized various protests in the streets, we had mass mobilizations and that was one way to show the world that the Bay Area is outraged. It's also one way for us as Arabs and Palestinians to bring out our communities to work in solidarity with other communities and to, you know, feel empowered by our numbers and our people power. But that's not enough, right? 12:50 We wanted to feel like we were hurting Israel economically, we wanted to feel like we were actually making a dent in the system and get some tangible results. So we remember in 2010, Palestinians and our allies and activists here in the Bay Area Blocked the Boat, the Zim Ship, in Oakland because of the (couldn't make out the word) incident. We wanted to replicate that action. That was the very first time in history that an Israeli ship was blocked in the United States and Oakland, and the Bay Area made that happen.'