September 03, 2015
Mr. Bruce Klipple
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America
Dear President Klipple,
We are deeply troubled by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) decision to endorse the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The resolution in favor of BDS, which was adopted on August 20th, presents a highly distorted view of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, including the outrageous and totally unfounded claim that from 1947-1948 the Jewish State engaged in ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians.
The BDS movement in its origins is anti-Semitic. Denying solely to the Jewish people a universal right – that of self-determination – is fundamentally anti-Semitic. The BDS movement’s founders have explicitly expressed their goal of eliminating Israel as a Jewish state.
While some supporters of BDS may genuinely believe these efforts will encourage Israel to change policies with which they disagree, the predominant drive of the BDS campaign and its leadership is not criticism of policies; it is to demonize and delegitimize Israel. Many BDS proponents support the complete right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, thereby rejecting a two-state solution and denying the Jewish right to self-determination and statehood.
The organized labor movement has been a force for good in the US for generations. It has contributed to our economy and our society. It has brought people together. And yet, by joining the ranks of those who support BDS, your Union has embraced a tactic which was conceived to stoke discord, deepen divisions and make the possibility of reconciliation less likely.
The UE has shamefully lent its support to a campaign that is bigoted in its origins and entirely counterproductive to peace efforts between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s a sad break from your traditions of fairness and inclusivity. We would urge you to reconsider your position.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt