Occupation Map

Occupation Map

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

TUC vote strengthens stance on Palestine

The Trades Union Congress, representing 6.5 million workers in the UK, voted overwhelmingly today (14 September 2011) to deplore the 'anti-democratic law' passed by the Israeli Knesset banning individuals and organisations in Israel from calling for the boycott of Israel, and reaffirmed existing policy to 'work closely with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to actively encourage affiliates, employers and pension funds to disinvest from, and boycott the goods of, companies who profit from illegal settlements, the Occupation and the construction of the Wall'.

The new policy also 'calls on all unions on the basis of this policy to review their bi-lateral relations with all Israeli organisations, including Histadrut'. The motion was proposed by Unite the Union, and an amendment was proposed by the PCS.

Hugh Lanning, Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Deputy General Secretary of the PCS Union which moved the amendment, said:

'Today British trade unions have decided not to buy into the Israeli occupation - not to buy goods from firms or work with organisations complicit with Israel's illegal occupation, settlements and wall.

'Israel must be made to honour international law. The UN, Obama and the EU should be making Palestine a reality not blocking their freedom.'

Hugh Lanning continued: 'Companies are paying the price for their complicity with Israel's crimes. Agrexco, infamous for exporting produce from Israel and the illegal settlements, has gone into liquidation. Veolia has lost contracts worth millions of pounds. It is time for companies and organisations to recognise that they must end their complicity with occupation and war crimes. The trade union movement was a central pillar of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. And today, trade unions in Britain are taking the same principled stance - supporting peace and justice, and opposing racism and apartheid.'

For the full text of the motion and amendment:


Sunday, 4 September 2011

"Ode to Boycott" at the Proms

For those of you unable to make out the words amid the rumpus at the Proms earlier this week here is the piece recorded earlier.

A new vocal ensemble, Beethovians for Boycotting Israel (BBI), gave its debut  performance at a Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall yesterday evening. 
 Their first piece was intricately interwoven with Webern's Passacaglia, played by guest artists the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO).

"We thought we'd liven up the Webern a bit" said Deborah Fink (soprano)."The  performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony at the previous night's Prom was so exciting that we decided to treat the audience to our own version of the Ode to Joy".

The lyrics of the BBI's "Ode to Boycott" have an unmistakeably Beethovian ring:

Israel, end your occupation:

There's no peace on stolen land.

We'll sing out for liberation

'till you hear and understand.

Ethnic cleansing and apartheid

Should belong to history.

Human rights cannot be silenced:

Palestine will soon be free.

Sue Blackwell (alto), who penned the alternative lyrics, said: "We think Ludwig would have approved.He was known to be a bit of a subversive who had no time for conventions, and he admired the French Revolution with its themes of 'Liberty,  Equality, Fraternity'.Sadly, Israel represents the exact opposite of those ideals."

During the second piece, Bruch's Violin Concerto, and in Alb─Śniz's "Iberia"  after the interval, BBI duos and trios took part in the Proms charitable  tradition of synchronised slogan-shouting, including "THE SIEGE OF GAZA - IS OUT  OF TUNE - WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW" and "THE IPO - AREINSTRUMENTAL - IN AN ILLEGAL OCCUPATION".

The BBI recital was somewhat curtailed on this occasion due to its members being removed by the Albert Hall security staff, so that they had to continue outside. However, they are intending to build on their Proms success and are now looking for a suitable venue for their next performance.