The International Jewish anti-Zionist Network was very happy to hear that the student-workers in the University of California system endorsed the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) call through their local union, UAW 2865. This was the first time a major union – in this case, one representing over 14,000 workers – voted to support the BDS call, an inspiring example of grassroots union-based solidarity. This action was in the best traditions of organized labor, following in the wake of the contributions of the rank-and- file of the Bay Area dockworkers union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, to block the unloading of a Zim cargo ship.
We are disheartened that the UAW International Executive Board (IEB), instead of choosing to follow the tradition of solidarity and internal democracy, has chosen instead to annul the democratic processes and decisions of UAW 2865. We find the decision of the IEB anti-democratic and unacceptable. In particular, we take strong issue with the claim that support for BDS constituted “biased targeting of Israeli/Jewish UAW members.” The specific BDS resolution made crystal-clear that they were opposed to all forms of discrimination. Moreover,the BDS call itself does not target Israeli individuals, but Israeli institutions. Furthermore, we take especially strong issue that supporting the Palestinian call for boycott – a call which came from a people under colonial occupation – was a “biased targeting” of Jews. The colonial settlement policy is the policy of the Israeli state, not the policy of Jews more broadly. We reject any notion that Israeli policies are the collective policies of Jews. And we reject any notion that Israel speaks on behalf of Jews world-wide, more and more of whom reject the occupation, and indeed reject Zionism. It certainly does not speak for us.
If the IEB wishes to override the democratic processes of its member unions, it should own its anti-democratic actions. It has no right to force its grassroots to support Israeli apartheid. For ourselves, we stand with the principled actions of UAW 2865, and we defend their democratic processes and their important decision to stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people. We finally call on the IEB to retract its annulment.
International Jewish anti-Zionist Network