13 October '10
In a speech on Sunday to the annual conference of the Zionist Federation of Australia, held in Melbourne, the young Vice-President of the Australian Council of Trades Unions (ACTU), Paul Howes, who is also National Secretary of the Australian Workers’ Union, has made an admirable, forceful attack on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (hat tip: Matt Pryor, over at Thejc.com blogs). I’m reminded of how staunchly supportive of Israel the ACTU has been – Bob Hawke, ACTU President from 1969-80 and Prime Minister of Australia from 1983-91, was one of the firmest friends Israel has had in Australian public life, and so is politician Simon Crean, ACTU Vice-President from 1981-85 and President from 1985-91, who resigned to go into federal politics and led the Australian Labor Party from 2001-3.
Here’s most of Paul Howes’s speech, reproduced courtesy of J-Wire:
'I can’t see how any unionist can back the international BDS movement.Now I know there has been a lot of talk in the media, both here and abroad, about trade unions backing the BDS movement.But let’s take a step back from the headlines. Take an overview of the global situation.The reality is that despite the headlines most of the trade union movement in Australia, and across the globe, has not backed BDS.The bulk of the international trade union movement, and in particular unions in countries like the USA, Germany and Austria, are rock-solid in their support for Israel.
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