LONDON — The British Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU), one of Britain’s largest trade associations, has decided to boycott all the products made in Israel in protest at the practices of the Israeli army in the occupied Palestinian territories.
"We send a message to the Israel state by our support for a boycott of Israeli products and goods," Barry Camfield, the union’s assistant general secretary, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Sunday night, July 8.
Nearly three-quarters of the 350-odd delegates who attended the union’s annual conference last week voted in favor of the boycott motion.
They decision was not given much media coverage whether inside or outside Israel.
The TGWU is one of Britain’s largest trade unions, representing some 800,000 members across the country.
The boycott decision came one month after another British trade union, UNISON, also decided to launch a consumer boycott of all the products made in Israel.
Israel’s Histadrut labor federation responded with anger to the union’s decision, vowing to cut ties with all groups that back boycott of Israel in Britain.
British calls for boycott of Israel over its practices in the occupied Palestinian territories have picked up steam recently.
Last month, Britain’s largest association for professors and lecturers, the University and College Union (UCU), backed a call by Palestinian trade unions to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
In April, Britain’s National Union of Journalists has voted in favor of a boycott of Israeli goods.
More than 100 British doctors have also called for a boycott of the Israeli Medical Association.
On May 28, Britain’s Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP) blasted fellow professionals in Israel for participating in the Israeli construction projects on occupied Palestinian land.
Camfield said the Union hoped to repeat the precedence of South Africa, which was forced to halt its apartheid policy following an economic boycott.
"As with South Africa, a boycott played a key part in liberating that country from apartheid," he said.
"Now, we work to liberate the Palestinian people from their suffering at the hands of the Israeli state’s military machine."
Former US president Jimmy Carter, a 2002 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, released in November a new book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," sparking outrage from Israel and the powerful Jewish lobby in the US.
In his book, Carter blasts "an enormous imprisonment wall" Israel is building in the West Bank.
The separation wall "is snaking through what is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers," he wrote.
"In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid."
Israel is also building a separation wall, a mix of electronic fences and concrete walls that will eventually snake some 900 kilometers (540 miles) along the West Bank and leave even larger swathes of its territory on the Israeli side.
And over the years, Israeli settlements have mushroomed in the occupied West Bank where 270,000 Israeli settlers now live among some 2.5 million Palestinians.
An Israeli report revealed on Friday, July 6, that some 90 per cent of the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank had sprawled beyond the official boundaries set up by Tel Aviv, seizing more Palestinian land and preempting the future status of the occupied territory under the watchful eye of the Israeli government.
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