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Israel’s Largest Labor Union: Boycotts Hurt Palestinian Workers Too

The Histadrut, by far the largest labor union in Israel, on Sunday urged a counterpart union in Germany to abandon its bid to boycott Israel, saying that such actions would harm both Israeli and Palestinian workers, Benjamin Weinthal of The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

After learning that the Oldenburg chapter of the Education and Science Workers’ Union—known by its German acronym GEW—had begun a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Histadrut spokesperson Avital Shapira told Weinthal that her union “strongly opposes the BDS phenomenon,” because “it is counterproductive, harms innocent Israeli and Palestinian workers and its goal is to delegitimize and demonize Israel and Israeli organizations.”

Instead, Shapiro said, “The Histadrut calls on trade unions throughout the world and other organizations to focus on constructive deeds and cooperate with the Histadrut in its constant protection of workers – Israeli, Palestinian and migrant alike – and strive to enhance the relationship between Israeli and Palestinian unions.”

The Oldenburg chapter of GEW has been embroiled in the BDS controversy since September, when one of its members, a teacher named Christoph Glanz, published an article in the chapter’s magazine calling for a complete boycott of Israel. The national GEW union condemned the article, which was said to be the first time time that a German union called for a boycott of Jews since  the Holocaust.

Klaus Faber, a member of the Coordinating Council of German non-Governmental Organizations Against Antisemitism, told the Post that “for us and our membership associations, anti-Semitic anti-Zionists do not belong in the German teaching profession or in the teaching profession anywhere in Europe.”

Glanz called the charge that he is anti-Semitic “absurd,” but refused to answer Weinthal’s questions about his feelings concerning Jews and Israel.

A GEW chapter in the state of Hesse also has ties to anti-Israel activity: the chapter arranged a trip to Israel with an activist who once defended Hamas terror attacks against Israelis.

[Photo: Hadas Parush / Flash90 ]