Delegates at the annual UK Trade Union Congress “overwhelmingly” passed a motion calling for an extensive boycott of Israel.
The motion, submitted by the co-chair of 300-member Artists’ Union England, demanded the TUC “prioritise Palestinians’ rights to justice and equality, including by applying these principles based on international law to all UK trade with Israel”.
Zita Holbourne, whose artwork has been used for campaigns by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), was behind the motion called ‘Palestine: supporting rights to self-determination’.
It accused the US and Israel of “destroying prospects for peace”.
Holbourne also sits on the TUC’s Race Relations Committee and co-founded United Black Labour for Jeremy Corbyn.
Steve Scott, of the Britain Israel Trade Union Dialogue group, who attended this year’s conference, told the JC the motion “lacked any balance” and that it also failed to mention working with Israeli trade unions was crucial for any progress towards peace in the region.
Other trade union officials said the motion did not change any existing TUC policy on a two-state solution, despite the fact it was passed.
One told the JC: “It becomes a ritual every year — Israel is singled out for criticism above any other country.”
But Ben Jamal, director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, later took to social media to publicise the fact it had passed “overwhelmingly”, adding: “The message from every major union was clear: we understand the seriousness of the assault on the collective rights of the Palestinian people being mounted by Israel with the support of Trump and far-right allies.”
He added that the unions recommitted to “ramp up the collective response and reaffirm support for a policy of boycott and divestment”.
The TUC, which has 5.6 million members, has adopted several similar motions in recent years.