THE Executive of the public services Unison has rejected a proposal from the relevant union committee to give money to the international trade-union news website Labourstart, on the grounds that one of the people involved in running Labourstart is a “Zionist”.
It is a sort of “boycott before the boycott”, a pre-emptive application of motion 54 to Unison conference, which proposes a boycott of all Israeli institutions.
Labourstart provides an unparalleled breadth of information on workers’ struggles and workers’ organisations worldwide, including in the Occupied Territories.
At the Executive no-one objected to Labourstart’s coverage. The objection was to its founding editor, Eric Lee. Eric is now only one of 79 contributors world-wide toLabourstart.
But — and that was enough to damn the whole project in the eyes of the Executive — Eric is a Zionist. He has been associated with left-Zionist parties in Israel such as Mapam and Meretz.
Nobody proposed checking out the other 78 Labourstart correspondents for their views.
The basic argument is that the union cannot support projects, however worthwhile, if the people running them are Jewish. Supporters of “boycotting” Labourstart will reply that the objection is not that people like Eric Lee are Jewish, but that they are “Zionists”. But to brand left Zionists like Eric as outside the range of people whom we can work with is to “boycott” almost all Jews around the world.