The Jewish Labor Committee andApartheid Israel
International JewishAnti-Zionist Network-Labor, and Labor for Palestine(U.S.),April 13, 2010
Israelwas left with no choice but to defend itself and dismantle Hamas’s ability tolaunch more missiles. . . . Israelis continuing to supply humanitarian aid of food, water and medicine into Gaza, and to allow relief agencies to supply material tothe suffering people of Gaza.
–"Jewish LaborCommittee Statement on Gaza,"January 9, 2009[i]
TheJLC put together a delegation of Irish-American trade union leaders lastNovember (including one of our honorees tonight) to go to Ireland and tostand up for the State of Israel whenIrish trade unionists were considering positions with which we disagreed.
–"StuartAppelbaum’s Remarks at October 2009 JLC Dinner"[ii]
•Overview.The Jewish Labor Committee (JLC) presents itself as a model of progressive,socially conscious trade unionism. But as a U.S.mouthpiece for the Histadrut, this false image has been a smokescreen todisguiseand promote Apartheid Israel,"AFL-CIA" support war and empire, and racism in the labor movement.
•1940s:The Nakba. The JLC was founded in 1934 to fight fascism and helpJewish refugees from Europe.[iii]But in the late-1940s, the JLC joins with Labor Zionist union officials who helppersuade both Truman and Stalin to support partition and establishment of theZionist state.[iv]
•1950s:McCarthyism. Under the banner, "Jewish Labor FightsCommunism,"[v]the JLC supports McCarthyite purges of government and labor,[vi]and undermines the campaign to defend the Rosenbergs from execution.[vii]
The JLC also supports overall U.S. Cold Warforeign policy,[viii]urgesthe U.S. to arm Israel against "Communist and Arab designs,"[ix]and declares that conflict in the Middle East, "is not simply between Egypt and Israel,but between democracy and expansionist dictatorship, between the free world andNasserism backed by Moscow.. . . Events also have demonstrated the basic identity of interest of Israel and thefree world."[x]
•1960:Trade Union Racism. Speaking to a JLC conference, AFL-CIO chiefGeorge Meany attacks the NAACP for exposing racism in U.S. laborbodies. Historian Philip S. Foner observes, "Meany’s choice ofthe Jewish Labor Committee conference to unleash the official AFL-CIO responseto the NAACP report was not accidental. The JLC had been one ofthe shrillest critics of the report,"[xi]which-like today’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeliapartheid-it brands as anti-Semitic.[xii]
•1962:Attack on the Student Movement. The JLC joins "an all-out attack onthe Port Huron convention" of Students for aDemocratic Society (SDS) for allowing Communists to participate and opposing U.S. imperialism.[xiii]
•1964:Censorship at the World’s Fair. The JLC demands removal of aWorld’sFair mural it calls "anti-Semitic" for depicting Palestinian refugees.[xiv]
•1967:Witch Hunting the Black Power Movement. The JLC accuses the StudentNonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) of being "anapostle of racism," for having called Israel racistand imperialist.[xv]
•1967-1968:Vietnam War. In 1967-the same year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.publicly spoke out against the Vietnam War, the JLC hosts a dinner at which PresidentLyndon Johnson links support of Vietnam and Israel’s 1967 War, claiming thatU.S. "commitment to a small and distant country in Southeast Asia is beingtested. . . . [and that] [t]he same kind of issues are atstake in the Middle East."[xvi]In 1968, the JLC honors Hubert Humphrey, Johnson’s pro-war vice-president andDemocratic Party presidential nominee.[xvii]
•1968:Community Control of the Schools. The JLC joins with the UnitedFederation of Teachers to oppose African American demandsfor community control of the schools in the OceanHill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn.[xviii]
•1970s:Racist Hiring Practices. The JLC, Anti-Defamation League (ADL), andother Zionist organizations help roll back affirmative action policies designedto boost African American employment.[xix][xx]
•1973:1973 War. During the 1973 Mideast War, the JLC is part of acoalition that spends more than $1 million to mobilize support for Israel.[xxi]
•1979:Andrew Young and the PLO. The JLC, Anti-Defamation League and otherorganizations help oust Andrew Young, chief U.S. delegate to the U.N., for meetingwith a PLO representative.[xxii]
•1991:Settlements.The JLC criticizes the Bush Sr. administration for threatening to condition U.S. loan guarantees on ending Israel’saggressive settlement policy.[xxiii]
•1998:War Against Iraq.JLC Executive Director Avram Lyon criticizes an 1199 SEIU resolution that callsfor an end to U.S. sanctionsagain
•2001:Boosting Labor Support for Apartheid Israel. JLC head StuartAppelbaum boasts that "[t]he labor movement, and the AFL-CIO in particular, hasbeen among the most stalwart defenders of Israel," andthat the JLC itself had blocked "Israel-bashing resolutions at various DemocraticParty gatherings" in the 1980s.[xxv]
•2002:Jenin Massacre. In April, as Israelbutchers Palestinian refugees at Jenin in the West Bank, AFL-CIO President JohnSweeney-introduced by JLC chief Stuart Appelbaum-is a featured speaker at abelligerent "National Solidarity Rally for Israel."[xxvi]
•2003:Palestine Student Solidarity at Rutgers University. In July,the JLCjoins the attack on a student Palestine solidarityconference at RutgersUniversity.[xxvii]
•2004:Somerville BDSResolution. On November 8, the JLC opposes a BDS resolution underconsideration in Somerville,MA as "one-sided."[xxviii]
•2004:Nakba Denial. On December 5, the JLC cosponsors a conferencein Philadelphia organized by AIPAC (the main Zionist lobbyingagency in the U.S.) to discreditsuch "Arab myths" as Israel’sresponsibility for Mideast wars; "theso-called Palestinian ‘right of return’; and facts aboutPalestinian Arab suicide bombers."[xxix]
•2006:War on Lebanon.In July, the JLC participates in a Philadelphiarally supporting Israel’swar on Lebanon"and its fight against the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas."[xxx]
•2006:Palestine Solidarity in Los Angeles. Under pressure fromthe JLC, the ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center,the United Teachers of Los Angeles cancel an October 5forum on Palestinesponsored by the union’s own human rights committee.[xxxi]
•2007:Equating Anti-Zionism with Anti-Semitism. In January, the JLC,AIPAC and other Zionist organizations co-sponsor conference in San Francisco against alleged "anti-Semitismon the left."[xxxii]The JLC’s session is entitled "An Imperfect Union: Keeping Anti-SemitismOut of the Labor Movement."[xxxiii]
•2007:Trade Union BDS in the UK.In June, AFL-CIO and Change to Win leaders sign a JLC statement denouncing Britishtrade union support for BDS. JLC head Stuart Appelbaum later boasts that,"American leadership is fundamental to challenging Israel bashing withinthelabor movement globally-and there can be no effective campaign to build supportfor Israel on the left internationally absent labor support."[xxxiv]
•2008:Solidarity Conference in Boston.Under pressure from the JLC and UNITE-HERE leadership, a Boston community center cancels a March 8conference on "Zionism and the Repression ofAnti-Colonial Movements."[xxxv]
•2008:Australian Trade Unions. Also in March, JLC head Stuart Appelbaumaccuses two Australian unions of "anti-Semitism cloakedunder the veil of anti-Zionism," for having accused Israel of "excessiveuse of force" against the people of Gaza.[xxxvi]
•2009:Gaza Massacres.On January 9, the JLC endorses Israel’s brutal war on Gaza, falsely claimingthat "Israel was left with no choice but to defend itself and dismantle Hamas’sability to launch more missiles," and that "Israel is continuing to supplyhumanitarian aid of food, water and medicine into Gaza, and to allow reliefagencies to supply material to the suffering people of Gaza."[xxxvii]
•2009:"TULIP" and Escalating Sabotage of International Trade Union BDS.In April, the JLC and Eric Lee(Labourstart) are primary cofounders of "Trade Unions Linking Israel andPalestine" (TULIP), the purpose of which is to opposelabor support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS)campaign against Apartheid Israel.[xxxviii]
International JewishAnti-Zionist Network-Labor: www.ijsn.net/C91
Labor for Palestine: www.laborforpalestine.net/wp/
Union labor donated.
[i][i]"Jewish Labor CommitteeStatement on Gaza,"January 9, 2009, http://www.jewishlaborcommittee.org/2009/01/jewish_labor_committee_stateme_1.html.
[iii]"Labor Group Maps Policy on Hitler," NewYork Times, April 5, 1934.
[iv]Adam Howard, Sewing the Seeds ofStatehood: Garment Unions, American Labor, and the Establishment of the Stateof Israel (University of Florida, 2003),http://www.cofc.edu/~jwst/pages/Howard, Adam – Seeds of Statehood +.pdf.
[v]"Guide to the Records of the Jewish Labor Committee (U.S.), Part II, HolocaustEra Files 1948-1956,"http://dlib.nyu.edu/eadapp/transform?source=tamwag/jlc_h2.xml&style=tamwag/tamwag.xsl&part=body.
[vi]"Tobin Hails Labor For Fight on Reds," NewYork Times, May 29, 1950.
[vii]Edward S. Shapiro, A Time for Healing:American Jewry since World War II (Baltimore: JohnsHopkins University Press, 1995), pp. 36-37.
[viii]"Military Economy For AmericaSeen," New York Times, October 2,1950.
[ix]Irving Spiegel, "Parley Stresses Threat to Israel," New York Times,January 18, 1956.
[x]Irving Spiegel, "Jewish Units Ask U.S. Reappraisal," New York Times,November 1, 1956.
[xi]Philip S. Foner, Organized Labor and theBlack Worker 1619-1973 (New York: International Publishers, 1974), p. 332.
[xii]Noel Ignatius and John Garvey, Race Traitor (Oxford: Rutledge, 1996),p. 225.
[xiii]Jon Wiener, Professors, Politics and Pop (London: Verso, 1991), p. 233.
[xiv]Emily Alice Katz, "It’s the real world a
fter all: the American-Israel Pavilion-Jordan Pavilion controversy at the New York World’sFair, 1964-1965," American Jewish History,March 1, 2003.
[xv]Kathleen Teltsch, "S.N.C.C. Criticized For Israel Stand," New York Times, August 16, 1967.
[xvi]"Excerpts From Johnson’s Talk atJewish Labor Dinner Here," New York Times,November 10, 1967.
[xvii]"Labor Leaders Hail Humphrey At Dinner Here Honoring Abel," New York Times, December 11, 1968.
[xviii]Daniel Perlstein, "The dead end of despair: Bayard Rustin, the 1968 New York school crisis, and the struggle for racialjustice," Afro-Americans in New York Lifeand History, July 1, 2007, http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+dead+end+of+despair:+Bayard+Rustin,+the+1968+New+York+school…-a0165359506.
[xix]Murray Illson,"6 Jewish Groups Charge Colleges With Reverse Bias," New York Times,January 14, 1973; Herbert Hill, "Black-JewishConflict in the Labor Context," in Noel Ignatiev and JohnGarvey, Race Traitor, (New York:Routledge, 1996), p. 230.
[xxi]Julia Goldman, "Remembering Yom Kippur War: U.S. Jews mobilized for Israel withprayers, money and lobbying," JewishTelegraphic Agency, September 21, 1998.
[xxii]"11 Jewish Groups Reject Criticism From Blacks, but Urge Cooperation," NewYork Times, August 24, 1979.
[xxiii]Fox Butterfield, "Bush’s Dispute With Israel Upsets Many Leading Jews, NewYork Times, September 16, 1991,http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE5D6143EF935A2575AC0A967958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all.
[xxiv]Jeffrey Blankfort, "The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions," LeftCurve, Issue 27, May 2003,http://www.leftcurve.org/LC27WebPages/IsraelLobby.html.
[xxv]Stuart Appelbaum, "Working for Workplace Justice," Jewish Daily Forward, August 31, 2001.
[xxvi]"National Solidarity Rally with Israel, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., April15, 2002," http://www.ujc.org/local_includes/downloads/1163.pdf.
[xxvii]Robert Wiener, "Jewish groups plan pro-Israel advocacy response as Rutgers, governor okay pro-Palestinian parley," Jewish News, July24, 2003.
[xxviii]Penny Schwartz, "SomervilleJewish residents up in arms; Outcry by hundreds of residents blocks passage ofdivestment in Israeli Bonds," JewishAdvocate, November 12-November 18, 2004.
[xxix]Zara Myers, "The Name of the Game? Advocacy for Israel," Jewish Exponent, November 25, 2004.
[xxx]"Supporting Israel’sRight to Fight," Jewish Exponent,August 3, 2006.
[xxxi]D. Wurker, "Labor Solidarity Versus the Occupation," Live From Palestine, Vol. 4, No. 2, July 2007, http://www.norcalism.org/newsletters/ISM_July_2007.pdf.
[xxxii]Ben Harris, "Bay Area takes on‘progressive’ anti-Semitism," The Jewish Journal, January 25, 2007,http://www.jewishjournal.com/world/article/bay_area_takes_on_progressive_antisemitism_20070126/.
[xxxiii]"Finding Our Voice: The Conference for Progressives Constructively AddressingAnti-Semitism, California,"http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=773.
[xxxiv]"Statement of Opposition to Divestment From or Boycotts of Israel," July18,2007, http://www.juf.org/news/local.aspx?id=24484.
[xxxv]"Jewish Labor Committee Attempts to Shut Down Boston Conference on Zionism,"New England Committee to Defend Palestine, March16, 2008, http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m42087&hd=&size=1&l=e.
[xxxvi]Brad Norington, "US Jews attack unions over ad," The Australian, March31, 2008,http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23457342-5013404,00.html;BradNorington, "Union chief retreats from Israel advert," The Australian,April 7, 2008, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23495395-2702,00.html.
[xxxvii]"JewishLaborCommittee Statement on Gaza,"January 9, 2009, http://www.jewishlaborcommittee.org/2009/01/jewish_labor_committee_stateme_1.html.
[xxxviii]"Pro-Israel unionists seek to undermine Palestinian solidarity," May 31,2009,http://revitalisinglabour.blogspot.com/2009/05/pro-israel-unionists-seek-to-undermine.html;JonnyPaul, "Organization sets upGoogle ad campaign to counter Israel boycott calls," Jerusalem Post,July 16, 2009, http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443833062&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull;"Whoare the 50 most influential Jews of 2009?", Haaretz, November 14, 2009,http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1128026.html.