A LABOUR union in the US state of Vermont has declared its decision to join the alliance of ‘Labour for Palestine’, a trade union group that opposes ‘Israeli apartheid,’ bringing to 15 the number of American labour associations joining the alliance.
‘Our affiliate Vermont State Labour Council AFL-CIO joins its counterpart at the Connecticut Labour Council in standing against Israeli apartheid,’ said the Vermont State Labour Council in statement posted on its Facebook page, as quoted in a Saturday report by the UK-based Middle East Monitor news outlet.
‘This should come as no surprise,’ the Labour institution added, citing its leadership’s ‘reputation of standing on the right side of history and embracing rank-and-file unionism’.
‘We have heard the call of Palestinian workers’ organisations for global solidarity in their struggle for freedom and justice and we applaud the growing number of US unions that have responded with resolutions, statements, and workplace actions, such as the Block the Boat campaign,’ the council’s Executive Board Member Helen Scott emphasised in remarks regarding the decision.
‘We, therefore, endorse US Labour Must Stand with Palestine.’
According to the report, the pro-Palestinian labour alliance has previously blamed the atrocities committed by the Israeli regime against Palestinian people – since occupying their land in 1948 – on the persisting American sponsorship of the occupying entity.
‘These crimes are only possible because of $3.8 billion a year (or $10+ million per day) in bipartisan US military aid that gives Israel the guns, bullets, tanks, ships, jet fighters, missiles, helicopters, white phosphorus and other weapons to kill and maim the Palestinian people,’ the alliance declared in a statement last month following the Israeli regime’s bloody onslaught against the besieged Gaza Strip.
The council also congratulated the Labour alliance on its ‘undeterred and uncompromising solidarity with the Palestinian fight for freedom’ and called on all US-based organised labour ‘to support Vermont AFL-CIO’s righteous vision of building a united, powerful labour movement.’
The development came as a number of US unions and bodies had already joined the pro-Palestine labour alliance prior to Vermont, including UMN Clerical Workers Union, Black Attorneys of Legal Aid, Attorneys of Colour of Legal Aid, Labour Against Racist Terror, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Central Jersey DSA, NYC DSA Labour Branch and others.
This is while nearly 700 political figures, academics, peace activists, and Nobel laureates called on US President Joe Biden earlier in the week to honour his commitments regarding protection of Palestinian rights, and to end the Israeli regime’s oppression.
In an open letter the 682 signatories further urged Biden to place ‘human rights at the centre of US foreign policy’ and to ‘help bring an end to Israel’s institutionalised domination and oppression of the Palestinian people.’
‘A sustainable and just peace – for all people – will remain elusive if US policy holds to a political status quo devoid of justice and accountability,’ the letter read.
The move also came after Washington slammed a recent decision by the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation into Israeli war crimes against Palestinians in the occupied territories, and failed to adopt any measures to hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the torture and assassination of dissident US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
‘Only a consistent application of a rights-centred foreign policy can signal to Israel’s leaders that violations of international law will no longer go unaccounted for. Mr President, now is the time to set a new benchmark in American foreign policy that leads with justice and paves the way toward lasting peace,’ the letter further emphasised.
- Israeli officials are seriously concerned that 2022 would be the year when the Tel Aviv regime would be labelled as an apartheid entity due to its measures against Palestinians and occupation of their lands.
‘In the coming year, we’re expecting a discourse that is unprecedented in its poison and radioactivity,’ foreign minister Yair Lapid said during a Zoom press briefing with Israeli journalists earlier this week.
He added: ‘Calling Israel an apartheid regime was a slowly creeping trend for a very long time, and in 2022, it will be a real threat.’
Lapid highlighted that his ministry sees a likely scenario in 2022, according to which international organisations apply the apartheid label to Israel, ‘with potential for significant damage’.
‘There is a real danger that a UN body will say Israel is an apartheid regime,’ the top Israeli diplomat noted.
Retired US General Lawrence Wilkerson says Israel will not exist in the next 20 years because it delegitimises itself as an apartheid regime.
In March last year, former International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced, in a statement, the launch of a war crimes investigation into the Palestinian territories, which have been under Israeli occupation since 1967.
The war crimes investigation against Israel is expected to include the 2014 Israeli military onslaught against the Gaza Strip, the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations at the Gaza border in 2018, and Israeli settlement expansion policies across Palestinian lands, including East al-Quds.
Bensouda said at the time that her inquiry would be conducted ‘independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favour.’
The Palestinian Authority (PA) along with Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement, welcomed the prosecutor’s announcement.
A prominent Palestinian rights group says Israel has been implementing an apartheid regime of discriminatory laws for decades.
Among senior Israeli officials who could face war crimes lawsuits are former prime minister and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, as well as current minister of military affairs Benny Gantz.
The ICC’s founding document declares apartheid to be a war crime, and the Israeli foreign ministry expects Palestinians to advance an active ICC investigation against Tel Aviv this year, and to use the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to campaign that Israel is an apartheid regime.
Moreover, Israeli officials consider the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) of war crimes against Israel in the aftermath of last May’s war between the military and Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip that lasted 11 days. During the war, Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza killed over 250 Palestinians, including 66 children.
The Israeli foreign ministry also anticipates that the COI will declare Israel an apartheid regime in its first report, due in June.
Israel has barred rights’ groups from entering schools, fearing their influence on its education system, days after B’Tselem described Tel Aviv as an apartheid regime.
Israeli officials expect the ‘Israel apartheid’ label to come up in the Office of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), as well.
In 2018, Palestinians submitted a complaint arguing that Israel is an apartheid regime with racist policies.
CERD is expected to publish its report on the matter in the coming year, and the Israeli foreign ministry says it is highly likely CERD will say Israel is an apartheid regime.
Finally, there are growing concern among Israeli authorities that Palestinians will appeal to the International Court of Justice in The Hague to ask whether Israel can be defined as an apartheid regime or its policies as racist, or what other countries are obligated to do if Israel is declared apartheid by an international body.
Lapid said his ministry is preparing for the worst in the international arena.
An Israeli rights group says Israel is not a democracy but an ‘apartheid regime’ that systematically oppresses Palestinians via military occupation and racist laws.
Back on January 12th last year, Israeli advocacy group B’Tselem said Israel is not a democracy but an ‘apartheid regime’ that systematically oppresses the Palestinians via military occupation and racist laws.
‘American politicians must explain to the people why more than $4 billion of taxpayer money is given annually to support apartheid Israel.
‘Politicians must explain why the US government gives more money per capita to Israel than to any country in the history of US foreign aid. Elected leaders, tasked with supporting democracies, must explain to Americans why they support an apartheid regime that denies even the most basic human rights to Palestinians,’ the daily Patriot-News, the largest newspaper serving the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, metropolitan area, wrote.