Labor for Palestine Pickets NYC Israel Celebration
On Thursday, June 5, some fifteen union members and other activists participated in an emergency picket line for more than two hours outside a “Celebration” of the “60th Anniversary of Israel” held at AFSCME District Council 37, the largest city workers’ union in New York.
The picket was sponsored by New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW). It was endorsed by Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition-NY; Adalah-NY; New Jersey Solidarity-Activists for the Liberation of Palestine; Center for Constitutional Rights; Guyanese-American Workers United; and Not in Our Name-Toronto.
Protesters carried placards and banners proclaiming “Labor for Palestine,” “End DC 37 Support for Apartheid Israel,” “Israel is a Racist Slave-Labor State,” “Free Palestinian Workers from Israeli Apartheid,” “Support Palestinian Labor Against Zionist Racism” “Gaza is Today’s Warsaw Ghetto,” and “Free Palestine — From the River to the Sea.”
Despite its small size, the emergency picket achieved its purpose of showing that such protests in U.S. labor are both possible and necessary.
By ensuring that such events did not go unchallenged, it emboldened protesters and visibly demoralized those who came to “celebrate.” It was also an opportunity to distribute hundreds of the attached flyers to DC 37 staff and members — predominantly People of Color — many of whom were disturbed to learn of their union’s support for Israeli Apartheid.
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Background of Labor for Palestine
The June 5 picket built on more than six years of NYCLAW work against Israeli Apartheid.
April 20, 2002
NYCLAW helps ensure unified action, with full inclusion of Palestine, in the first national antiwar protest following 9/11, which takes place in Washington, D.C.
May 21, 2002
NYCLAW pickets the Midtown Manhattan appearance of Israeli Consul General Alon Pinkus before the AFL-CIO Israel Bonds National Labor Division.
NYCLAW cosponsors U.S. tour by Palestinian trade unionists.
March 20, 2004
NYCLAW successfully fights for UFPJ to join with the ANSWER Coalition in unified New York City antiwar protest that includes Palestinian demands.
NYCLAW and Al-Awda-NY initiate Labor for Palestine, which calls for: Palestinian national, democratic and labor rights throughout historic Palestine, including the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and land; An end to U.S. military and economic support for Israeli Apartheid; and Divestment of all labor investments in Israeli Apartheid.
October 7, 2004
NYCLAW helps organize “From Palestine to the US — Labor Fights Back” forum, at AFSCME District Council 1707 in New York City.
October 17, 2004
Labor for Palestine is announced from the platform of the Million Worker March in Washington, DC.
November 20, 2004
Labor for Palestine simultaneously presented at a NYCLAW’s “Resistance to Empire” conference held at AFSCME District Council 1707, and at Al-Awda’s West Coast Regional Conference in San Diego, where it “was given center stage as one of Al-Awda’s most critical campaigns for international justice.”
Labor for Palestine issues founding statement.
December 2, 2004
NYCLAW proposes that U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW): (1) Condemn Israeli attacks on the rights of Palestinian labor; (2) Join a U.S. labor delegation to examine the conditions of Palestinian workers; (3) Organize a U.S. speaking for Palestinian trade unionists; and (4) Discuss joining LFP and the growing movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions. USLAW declines to do so.
July 23, 2005
Labor for Palestine conference in Chicago coincides with AFL-CIO convention.
August 11, 2006
NYCLAW statement denounces U.S. labor leaders’ support and/or silence about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon.
NYCLAW participates in a two-week delegation of attorneys and activists to the ‘67 and ‘48 areas of Palestine.
March 23, 2008
NYCLAW statement on U.S. Labor and Gaza is endorsed by hundreds of activists around the world.