Weeks of relentless bombing have left more than 14500 dead and tens of thousands injured, while homes, schools, hospitals and basic infrastructure across Gaza have been flattened. Millions around the world are organising to show they reject this mass murder and challenge the complicity of our governments and institutions in the Israeli war machine and the apartheid regime which powers it.
Our union has a long history of concrete solidarity organising for Palestine. The motions passed by the NEC on 24 November are an important step forward in developing our ability to deliver that solidarity when it is most needed.
Collectively, they not only reaffirm existing policy but also ensure pro-Palestinian voices are protected and call on activists and branches to accelerate their solidarity with Palestine and working with students to make the walkouts and action called for by student activists and by Stop the War Coalition as big as possible on every campus.
We hope to see branches across the country working with our students, many of whom have led inspiring mass walkouts over recent weeks calling for a ceasefire and an end to university complicity in apartheid, to organise creative forms of action on 29 November. Let’s reach out to other campus unions to build protests, walkouts, teach-ins and meetings across post-16 education.
Resources for building branch action:
– National student walkout coordination https://linktr.ee/palestinewalkouts
– Stop the War’s day of action call https://www.stopwar.org.uk/events/ceasefire-now-workplace-day-of-action-for-palestine-2/
Campaigning in solidarity with the people of Palestine
- Israel’s horrific war on the Palestinian people.
- The mass movement in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
- Whereas three-quarters of all Britons call for a ceasefire, Keir Starmer’s Labour and Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Parties back Israel’s war.
- Congress motions 8 and 9 supporting BDS and protests against Israeli oppression of Palestinians and motion 13 (2021) against the IHRA anti-Semitism ‘working definition’.
NEC resolves to
- Call on regions, branches and members to attend national and regional protests organised by the Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, fellow trade unions and others, including tomorrow’s demonstration on 25 November.
- Support students’ right to walk out, protest and demonstrate, and call on members to act in solidarity with them.
- Call on branches to organise workplace protests on UN International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, 29 November, and ask student and campus unions to participate.
Defending members over free speech on Palestine
- Since 7 October 2023, members expressing support for Palestine have been targeted publicly and privately for their free speech.
- The European Legal Support Centre (ELSC, https://elsc.support) has provided legal advice via their network of pro bono lawyers.
- Institutional IHRA adoption has encouraged wrongly conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.
NEC resolves to urgently:
- Set up early intervention ‘hotline’ support for members and advertise it widely.
- Develop and publish focused advice for members on the UCU website.
- Develop protocols with the ELSC and other firms to avoid unnecessary duplication and to support members remaining eligible for Legal Scheme support should they receive pro bono advice.
- Organise rep training for free speech cases with a focus on allegations of ‘support for terrorism’ and “anti-semitism”.
- Write to employers and support branches to ensure members are not ambushed by managers insisting they attend meetings without a rep being present.