The largest teachers’ union in Europe has passed a resolution backing a boycott of companies profiting from Israel’s illegal settlements and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The National Union of Teachers (NUT), which has more than 300,000 members in England and Wales, adopted the motion on Palestine at its recent annual conference. The vote was conducted by a show of hands, and passed by a clear majority.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, commenting on the motion, said the union “call[s] on the British Government to pursue vigorously the dismantling of the 700km-long wall which separates many Palestinians from their schools and their land, and to support the UN’s call for the lifting of the blockade of Gaza.”
The NUT also continues “to call upon the UK Government to fulfil international obligations in relation to the treatment of Palestinian child prisoners”, said Blower.
NUT delegates head a report from the delegation of Executive and non-Executive members who visited Palestine in October of last year, and “the strengthening of links between the National Union of Teachers and the General Union of Palestinian Teachers”. Conference delegates all received a post-trip report.
As well as a call for boycott, the motion singled out for criticism the Israeli government’s plan for the destruction of Bedouin villages in the Negev, and called for an end to “discrimination in education” faced by Palestinian citizens.
The motion also includes a call for the NUT to publicise the delegation report, invite speakers to meetings, and in addition, as per an adopted amendment, “educate the membership through publications, divisions and international solidarity officers of the ‘Pinkwashing’ propaganda used by Israel to make their citizens and the wider world believe that they are progressive in respect of LGBT rights, while distracting attention away from the human rights abuses they have instigated by their occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.”