Evidence that the trade union campaign in favour of BDS - i.e. in support of the workers and people of Palestine, the Arab minority in Israel, and the anti-militarist, anti-racist, anti-occupation activists in Israel is provided in the Google translation below.
For your information, the ABVA-KABO is the major union of public sector workers in the Netherlands, a country that historically, for decades after World War 2, was pro-Israel and the unions of which were/are allied with Histadrut.
The ABVA-KABO happens to be my union.
Now read on...
More and more people in the Netherlands understand that the current "peace process" in the Middle East failed. As long as Israel continues to expand the settlements, building the wall, and the harsh repression of any attempt (even peaceful) resistance, there can be no question of Palestinian self-determination and therefore no just peace. Meanwhile, the U.S. and the EU by using various forms of aid to Israel, including the provision of important commercial privileges which the Israeli economy to keep running. It is increasingly clear that only massive pressure from the people, social movements and civil society worldwide can break this vicious circle.
The most powerful tool we have at our disposal is BDS: boycott, divestment and sanctions. BDS was long a taboo in Dutch society. Yet in recent years increasingly BDS campaigns and initiatives created in this country. They take different forms: efforts from unions (like ours) to pension funds is to withdraw from companies that are complicit in the occupation; campaigns against contracts of provinces and municipalities with carriers that are also busy with trams to settlements; protests against " pink washing "of Israel's image through sponsorship of LGBT film festivals; actions against agricultural products from Israeli settlements illegally enjoy trade privileges, or simply handing out pamfletjes outside shops selling Israeli products are sold.
The diversity of these BDS campaigns is also their strength. We do not advocate for them under a single umbrella, or joint decisions about their approach or requirements. Yet we think BDS activists in the Netherlands can learn much from each other. We all need detailed information about how concrete trade and investment with Israel in Israel, the oppression of the Palestinians support. We can borrow each other's arguments, for example on international law or against accusations of antisemitism. We can share experiences on tactics that have proved more or less effective. Through our joint to manifest, we can attract more attention. And we can cheer each other a stabbing.
For all these reasons, we propose to hold a national conference of BDS activists in the Netherlands. This would be no debate about BDS, for or against, the assumption would be that all participants are in favor, or at least peace activists BDS actions seriously consider. Through both plenary discussions and workshops on both substantive and practical aspects of BDS, the conference should help us to strengthen our work.
We are not able to be alone, as Workgroup Palestine Abvakabo, such conference. That should be a joint effort of several people from different organizations, which share the feeling that BDS is now in the Netherlands to a higher level can and should be. We hope this letter convinces your organizations to this project together with us to address many of your organizations and one or two people can freely make to participate in a workgroup. The working group would reply as soon as possible after you meet to discussion on public programs, possible dates and places, etc.
Will you be so kind to before 15 June to respond to this letter by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org? We hope that this could be the start for a major leap forward for BDS in the Netherlands.
Wim Lankamp, Lot van Baaren
on behalf of the Palestine National Working Group, Abvakabo
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