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Peter Waterman Suspended/Banned from Union Book:
An Open Letter to the Labour Internationalist Community

Dear Colleagues, Friends and Companyer@s interested in labour
internationalism (on or offline).

July 23, 2014, I received from UnionBook (created by LabourStart founder, Eric
Lee) the following a message, suspending or banning me from from his blogsite,
UnionBook (Item 1). This was apparently conditional on removing my content
(unspecified) from the site.

I immediately replied (Item 2). This happened just as I was about to post on
UBook Item 3 below (note that I confused here Aotearoa/New Zealand with
Australia). Unfortunately, the suspension means I cannot now either identify, recover
for my own purposes or even possibly delete the item that provoked Erics extreme

But I do still have the item that provoked my challenge to him. This is a recent item
by Eric on Israels latest war on Gaza (Item 4). And whilst this item was posted on his
personal website, it bears the identification LabourStart, thus suggesting, implicitly
if not explicitly, that it is written on behalf of this body.

There is here no suggestion even (as Western liberal or neo-liberal statesmen have
been saying) of disproportionate response by Israel to a Hamas provocation. Far less
does Erics piece consider Israel, the overwhelming military hegemon of the region,
co-responsible. Even less, of course, is it informed by the map of more than a half
century of Israeli expansion, graphically revealed in the maps in Item 3 below!

Before going public with this Open Letter or an update thereof, I am sending it to
Eric, in case he should wish to reconsider his suspension/ban or to respond, on
UBook, openly, to me. Given any lack of response within 24 hours (the time
within which he suspended me), I will circulate this text to people who either use
UnionBook/LabourStart, or who know, collaborate with or otherwise have
respect for Eric and his online labour activities. Or who may be aware of his
Zionist* activities either on or offline.

Perhaps I should, finally, say that I have been previously impressed by and
made energetic and unrestricted use of UnionBook. I have also publicized it in
my writings. I am hopeful that my unobjectionable postings over previous years
have not been and will not be removed from the site. As also that Eric will end
his suspension and replace this by 1) a response on UBook that might lead to an
open discussion on what he thinks should be an internationalist labour position
on the Israel-Arab dispute and 2) the extent and limitations of an online
internationalist labour site owned and controlled (apparently) by one person.
* I would tend to characterise Zionism as a colonialist-racist-militarist ideology
and movement, dependent on Jewish mythology, historical European anti-
semitism and the Nazi holocaust, that prioritises the Israeli state rather than
Jewish people (of whom I am one), whether inside or outside Israel, accords it
rights and powers not granted others, and that systematically ignores or denies
attitudes or decisions of the international community of even liberal-democratic
states and, more particularly of the United Nations.

Item 1

You have been suspended from UnionBook
Sorry, peter waterman, you can not access UnionBook as you have been suspended. If you think you've
been suspended in error, you can contact the administrator.
Click here to delete your content from UnionBook.
Message to the Administrator

Item 2


I am assuming that you have suspended me because of my challenge to you
concerning the contradiction between your identification with the Israeli state
and your promotion of labour internationalism. I would have thought that the
best way for you to respond to this or some other infringement of (unwritten?)
limitations, on what can or should be said or not said on UnionBook, would be by
a message on UBook itself. But you have taken the proprietorial right to suspend
from what, regrettably, is now revealed to be a private enterprise. I would
appreciate knowing the nature of any appeal procedure and whether such an
appeal could be posted on UBook itself. As far as international labour and the
Israeli war on Gaza is concerned, I take cheer from yet further union
denunciation of this state from, if I have this right, Australia. I might be prepared
to remove the content you object to if I can continue to post such news on UBook.


Item 3
'Do unto apartheid Israel what you did to apartheid South
Africa': trade unions protest attack on Gaza

Resolution on Palestine adopted by Unite Union (Aotearoa/New Zealand), posted at
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
July 18, 2014 -- Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions and other organisations
including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions issued a call in July 2005 for a
global campaign of boycotts and divestment against Israel similar to those imposed against
South African Apartheid.
Unite Union will work to
1. Demand the Israeli Government immediately withdraw from the occupied territories and
abide by UN resolution 242 which requires Israel to withdraw to 1967 borders.
2. Support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel until it
meets its obligation to recognise the Palestinian peoples inalienable right to self-
determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of
Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution
3. Call for the end of suicide bombings, military assaults and other acts of violence that take
the lives of innocent people and demand that the IsraeliWest Bank barrier the apartheid
wall be immediately torn down.
4. Develop an education campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israel state for Unite
Union members and work with the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions to take this
campaign to all New Zealand workers.
5. Propose this resolution to the Council of Trade Unions for adoption as official CTU policy.
6. Call on the New Zealand government to increase humanitarian aid to Palestinians that have
been affected by the ongoing conflict.
Unite Union is taking these steps because of the appeal to support Palestinian workers
and because:
- No lasting peace can be created unless there is implementation of international law, United
Nations resolutions and respect for the human rights of both Palestinians and Israeli citizens.
- 42 years ago, the United Nations Security Council unanimously called for Israel to withdraw
from territories it invaded in 1967 (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem) in resolution 242.
- Israel has refused to implement resolution 242 for 42 years and, moreover, has illegally
established Jewish-only settlements in these areas in violation of the Fourth Geneva
- The Israeli Apartheid Wall has been condemned and determined illegal under international
- The apartheid barrier severely restricts the movement of and work possibilities for
Palestinians, violates international law, is partially built on land.
Note: New Zealand's national peak trade union body, the Council of Trade Unions, has
adopted a resolution that is almost identical as its position. See
* * *
The following notes were prepared by Unite national director Mike Treen.
1. Boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) is a demand by the Palestinian people, and the
Palestinian unions in particular. An appeal was issued in July 2005 by Palestinian civil
society. More than 170 bodies, including trade unions, political and social organisations, and
womens and youth groups. Its signatories represented all three components of the Palestinian
nation: refugees, those living under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel. It has
support from Jewish Israeli advocates of genuine peace. They demand that Israel: 1. End its
occupation of all Arab lands, dismantling the Wall and freeing all Palestinian and Arab
political prisoners; 2. Recognise the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of
Israel to full equality; 3. Respect, protect and promote the rights of the Palestinian refugees to
return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN General Assembly resolution 194.
2. In 2004 the International court of Justice (ICJ) declared illegal the Separation Wall and
settlement-colonies Israel is building on Palestinian occupied land. The ICJ also ruled that
Palestinian whose lives have been damaged must be compensated and that all nations have an
obligation to ensure Israel complies with international law.
3. In September 2009 UK Unions supported the initiation of a mass boycott movement ,
divestment and sanctions. Similar calls have been issued by union federations in South
Africa, Norway, Ireland and Scotland.
4. In the midst of the assault on Gaza in 2008, 500 Israelis, dozens of them well-known artists
and scholars, sent a letter to foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel. It called for the
adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions and draws a clear parallel with the
anti-apartheid struggle. the boycott on South Africa was effective, but Israel is handled with
kid gloves This international backing must stop.
5. The apartheid comparison is legitimate as the consequences of an occupation that has
lasted over 40 years that has seen two generations of Palestinians grow up in the occupied
territories effectively denied rights of citizenship. Any rights associated with the territory
nominally under Palestinian control is effectively circumscribed in much the same way the
Bantustans were in South Africa. The comparison has been made by former US President
Jimmy Carter, the Israeli Human Rights group BTselem, and Bishop Tutu of South Africa.
The editorial board of Israels leading newspaper Haaretz observed in September 2006 that
the apartheid regime in the territories remains intact: millions of Palestinians are living
without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli
occupation. Chris Hedges, Foreign Correspondent of the New York Times wrote in
December 2006: Palestinians in Gaza live in encased and squalid, overcrowded ghetto,
surrounded by the Israeli military and a massive electric fence, unable to leave or enter the
strip and under daily assaultThis is more than apartheid.
6. A campaign around BDS of Israel has a power in NZ precisely because of its association
with similar, successful campaigns against South African apartheid.
7. The rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel are increasingly circumscribed as the Israeli state
insists on its Jewish character to the exclusion of the Palestinians. This affects access to
health, education, water , housing and land. Acceptance of the Jewish character of the state is
now a precondition of the renewed peace talks farce.
8. Israel now has 300,000 settlers in 200 plus settlements on the West bank plus at least
180,000 more settlers in East Jerusalem. Some are twice the size of Manhattan with their own
schools, universities, shopping malls and billions of dollars invested in infrastructure and a
segregated, for-Jews-only highway system, 300 kilometres long, cutting up the West Bank
with Palestinians imprisoned between these concrete and asphalt barriers.
9. For the two-state solution to remain valid there must be an unconditional withdrawal to
the 1967 borders with no conditions. The settlements must be dismantled.
10. Failure you do so will increasingly raise the other legitimate alternative future a unitary,
democratic and secular state over the whole territory with equal rights for all its citizens.
11. The existing state of Israel justifies its continuing war and occupation of Palestine on the
basis that some people in these territories and abroad wont recognise the state of Israel. This
is simply another version of the Big Lie. Every faction in Palestine recognises the fact of
Israel in its pre-1967 border (including Hamas).
12. Israel itself, however, will not recognise its own borders. There is no Israeli map with the
1967 border delimited. East Jerusalem has been annexed. The Apartheid Wall follows no
border. All Israel political leaders refer to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria. The
continuing existence of the settlements is declared to be non-negotiable. There is no
acceptance of Palestinian refugees right of return (a condition for UN recognition of Israel in
1948). There is no recognition of the Palestinian right to even establish a state let alone
what borders it may have. Now Israeli leaders insist that not just the State of Israel that
must be recognised but the Jewish character of that state i.e. the eternal dispossession of
the Palestinian refugees and second class status of Palestinian citizens.

Statement by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
July 17, 2014 -- The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is outraged
at the Israeli Defence Forces bombing of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, and the
ongoing administrative detentions, house raids, and murder of Palestinians in the West Bank
and East Jerusalem.
We reject the Israeli Apartheid States pretext that the military attacks in Gaza are acts of self-
defence. We lend our unequivocal support to the Palestinian people in Gaza as they face and
resist the military nuclear power of Israel with no official military of its own. The Israeli
Apartheid regime fails to acknowledge the true origins of Palestinian resistance, i.e. the Israeli
occupation of Palestinian land.
Having experienced Apartheid, we express our revulsion at the bloodletting of the Israeli
regime. Even at the height of Apartheid in South Africa, such brutality was not experienced.
We will never forget that it was the Israeli governments close military ties with the South
African Apartheid Regime that prolonged Apartheid and the oppression of the masses of
South Africa. Neither will we forget that it was our Palestinian comrades who supported our
liberation struggle, at a time when many had deserted our liberation movements.
NUMSA calls for the immediate expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in South Africa, Arthur
Lenk, and the recall of Comrade Sisa Ngombane from Tel Aviv. Israel must be politically
isolated in the same way that Apartheid South Africa was. We also call on the National
Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to follow-up and investigate the Gaza Docket, and prosecute all
South Africans conscripted to the IDF, and participating in Israels war-crimes against the
We support Palestinian civil society's call for an immediate, full military embargo on Israel.
South African citizens and businesses must be discouraged from supporting Israeli
settlements illegal under international law. Products from Israeli settlements must not be
sold in South Africa, this ban must immediately be implemented by the Department of Trade
and Industry.
We call on the South African government and Non-Aligned Movement to support the
implementation of a comprehensive Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against
Israel until the Israeli government:
(i) releases all Palestinian political prisoners immediately;
(ii) ends its occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and dismantles the
Apartheid Wall;
(iii) Acknowledges the right of return of Palestinian refugees.
(iv) relinquishes its nuclear weapons, and accedes to the Non-Proliferation Treaty;
Silence is complicity, and we will not remain silent in the face of Israeli Apartheid aggression
and occupation. An injury to one is an injury to all.
NUMSA supports and will be part of the upcoming Nelson Mandela Day Protest in Solidarity
with the Palestinian people being organised by BDS South Africa at the Israeli Embassy
Trade Office in Sandton.

Congress of South African Trade Unions statement on Israel's bombing of
Gaza: Do unto apartheid Israel what you did to apartheid South Africa
July 10, 2014 -- On the night of the 8th July, 2014, Gaza woke up to the tremors of earth-
shaking bombings by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). It is said since then more than 27
Palestinians, including more than six children among them, were killed and more than 200
have been injured as a result of the airstrikes by Israel. Dozens of homes have been
demolished and several families lost relatives.
The Israeli cabinet has further authorised the reactivation of 40,000 army reservists in
anticipation or signalling a possible ground offensive, to top up those already deployed in and
around Gaza. How do we explain 60 airstrikes in one day?
The intensification of the mass arrests against Palestinians in various parts of the occupied
territories, such as in West Bank where about 500 Palestinians have been arrested in a space
of three weeks. Mohammed Abu Khdier a Palestinian child was kidnapped, tortured and burnt
alive in Jerusalem. Mohammed is among millions of Palestinian children who have for years
been murdered by the state of Israel in the name of self-protection against terrorists.
We firmly support the African National Congress statement that, In line with our 2012
policy resolutions, that called on "all South Africans to support the programmes and
campaigns of the Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel", branches and
structures of the ANC across the country will be joining the Palestine solidarity and boycott,
divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in organising protests and pickets calling for the
immediate end of Israeli violence against the Palestinian people.
We call on all South Africans, Black, White, Jewish, Muslim, Christian and all others to join
us in expressing our solidarity. Solidarity will bring us together as different South Africans
just as how the international anti-apartheid movement brought people together.
It is only those who have lost their humanity who cant feel or share in the pain felt by the
suffering people of Palestine from the barbaric and savage attacks by what has become the
most acceptable, deliberate and legalised murder and deliberate violation of international law
by a country.
Israel is only able to commit all these ruthless atrocities because of the licence from the US,
EU and allies. The UN must be ashamed of itself for failing humanity and the people of
Palestine, always pleading for restraint from the victim, equally. We cannot equate an
aggressor to a victim or coloniser to a colonised. Nelson Mandela was also called a terrorist
for fighting for freedom, hence the natural task of oppressed people to wage a liberation
struggle and our natural responsibility is to support them.
We call on the international trade union movement, various civil society organisations,
international religious bodies and even business to speak out against savagery and barbarism
against fellow human beings. We support the call to recall South African ambassador to
Israel, kick out the Israeli ambassador from South Africa and move with speed to decisively
isolate Israel and all who sympathise with racism and Zionist occupation all over the world.
Now is the time for the world to stop words of pity and lamentation, but take action by doing
what it did to apartheid South Africa when its policies were declared a crime against
humanity. Indeed, apartheid remains a crime against humanity wherever it happens. If
apartheid cant outrage us, our humanity is called into question and our morality is hollow.

Britains biggest trade union slams Israeli apartheid,
commits to BDS
July 4, 2014 -- Unite, Britains biggest trade union, has slammed Israel as guilty of the crime
of apartheid and committed itself to BDS campaigning.
The Labour Partys biggest union backer considered three motions related to Palestine at its
annual policy conference in Liverpool this week, of which two were carried.
The main "Israel and Palestine" motion condemned Israeli violations of international law such
as settlement construction, crimes of persecution against the Palestinian people and the
Israeli militarys detention and torture of Palestinian children. As well as the situation in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip, Unite also highlighted the racist laws affecting Palestinian
citizens of Israel.
The motion commits Unite to taking bolder steps like those that were taken against the South
African apartheid regime as part of the fight against the Israeli ethnic cleansing of the
Palestinian people. The union will work with others to develop a campaigning and leverage
strategy around BDS within the next 12 months, notably against complicit companies
involved in the occupation, the apartheid wall and the illegal settlements (such as Veolia, G4S
and Sainsburys).
Unite also passed a motion on the inhuman conditions of siege in Yarmouk refugee camp in
Syria, where Palestinians have been killed in military attacks and died from malnutrition. The
conference urged all parties to withdraw and allow humanitarian aid to reach [camp
residents] without further delay. As part of the Yarmouk resolution, Unite also reaffirmed
its commitment to Resolution 194 which asserts the rights of Palestinians [expelled by
Israel] to return to their land.
A motion titled Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation was not carried, however. The motion
expressed support for the stricken US-led peace talks and encouraged engagement with both
Israeli and Palestinian trade unions.
Source: Middle East Monitor

Item 4

Eric Lee
How to stop Hamass terror-blitz on Israel
The Islamist terror group Hamas cannot conquer Israel; in fact, it cant even run the Gaza
Strip. Unable to provide anything useful for the Palestinians, it engages in endless and pointless
confrontations with Israel.
The local population, cowed by terror, is unable to get rid of these gangsters that rule them.
Israel, though not under existential threat, faces up to 10,000 rockets, hundreds of which have already
been fired at it.
Many in Israel and elsewhere have expressed a kind of despair, a what can you do attitude. This was
reflected in most media, which point to the seemingly endless nature of the conflict, and the lack of
leverage now that the USA seems disengaged, and post-Morsi Egypt without any leverage on the
Even a temporary cease-fire, let alone a peace agreement, seems impossible.
But I think this is not entirely the case, and I want to make a few comments on a number of ways out
ways to put an end to Hamass rocket terrorism.
1. The IDF. The common wisdom says that there is no military solution to terrorism. But this is
untrue. Throughout history, terrorist movements have been crushed by superior military force many
times. Israel has learned from experience that all steps forward in a peace process are conditional upon
its own military strength. Sadat came to Jerusalem and signed the Camp David accord only after the
Israeli military inflicted crushing defeats on the Egyptian army in 1967 and again in 1973. Arafat and
the PLO finally embraced a two-state solution and recognized Israel in 1988, in a prelude to Oslo, only
after the first Palestinian intifada fizzled out. Dont underestimate the effectiveness of military
force in ending conflict; its an important ingredient in persuading one side (or both) to lay down
arms and start talking.
2. The USA. While Secretary of State John Kerry may have left the Middle East without having made
any progress on restarting an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, its not true that the Obama administration
doesnt care. They do care, as the region seems to be spiralling out of control, and they understand that
the US has a strategic interest not only in a strong Israel, but in Hamass defeat. And while the USA
may have little or no leverage with the Islamists, it has lots of leverage in the region including
Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.
3. The Palestinian Authority. This is the key. Mahmoud Abbas has called on Israel to show
restraint. What he needs to do is call on Hamas to show restraint. Abbas needs to make it absolutely
clear to Hamas that if it wants to be part of the unity government, the condition for that is stopping the
rocket terror. (One can argue that Abbas has essentially said this in the past, declaring the newly-
formed unity government will respect the Oslo accords and is committed to a peaceful resolution of the
conflict with Israel based on a two-state solution.) Abbas is not making this clear, and those who
have influence on him (and this includes Israel and the USA) must press him to press his Hamas
4. Iran. The mullahs in Tehran have in recent weeks become the darlings of the West. No longer seen
as a nuclear-armed Third Reich aiming to obliterate Israel, the Iranians are now seen as partners in
nuclear disarmament and, more important, in stabilizing Iraq in face of the Sunni Islamist threat. In
Iraq, Iran, the USA, Israel, and the Kurds are all on the same side in battling the terrorist group now
known as Islamic State. The USA and others can use this de facto alliance, and Irans desire to
appear to be committed to de-escalation in the region, to get Tehran to place a phone call to Gaza
and tell their Hamas clients to back down.
5. The Palestinian people. The people of Gaza were terrorized into accepting Hamas rule, and have
been silent even as their Hamas rulers have brought down utter destruction upon them. From time to
time, when things are relatively quiet, there are signs of unrest, such as the occasional strike by
workers. We know from history that sometimes, wars end when a people decides to get rid of the
rulers who caused the wars, as happened across Europe in 1918. Im not expecting a Gazan uprising
any time soon, but the conditions for a Palestinian Spring exist in widespread disillusionment
with the corrupt warlords of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
6. World public opinion. Being outside the region, one often feels powerless to do anything. But
actually, the world does have leverage if not directly on the gangsters running the Islamist groups in
Gaza, at least on the Palestinian Authority (which is completely dependent on international support and
goodwill) and on Iran, which arms and pays for the terrorist gangs in Gaza. The USA, and to an even
larger degree, the countries of the European Union, have real leverage here. They can pressure
Abbas and the Iranians to tell Hamas to back down, and should do so.
Stopping Hamass rocket blitz against Israel will not be easy.
But a combination of precision military strikes and diplomatic pressure targetting the Palestinian
Authority and Iran will work.
In the long run, the Palestinian people themselves will need to stand up and say to the criminal gang
that calls itself Hamas enough is enough.
That day may be a long way off, but it will happen, and when the Palestinians have had enough,
there will be peace.

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