Israel Civil Rights Group Files Complaint Against Labor Union Engaged in Israel Boycott


On Tuesday, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), accusing the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) of violating the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This law “prohibits labor unions from encouraging workers to take part in boycotts during the course of their work duties, commonly known as ‘secondary boycotts.’”

In August of this year, the UE adopted a resolution endorsing the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). The resolution passed by the 30,000-member organization blames the Israel-Palestinian conflict on the creation of the Jewish State.

As reported by the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought last month:

The resolution does not endorse a “two-state solution” and neglects to condemn the terrorism perpetrated by terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. It accuses Israel of racism, genocide, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and “waging a merciless war on the impoverished population of Gaza.”

Calling for an end to all U.S. military aid to Israel, the resolution seeks to pressure Israel to end its “siege” of Gaza and “negotiate a peace agreement on the basis of equality, democracy, and human rights for the Palestinian and Israeli people, including Palestinian self-determination and the right of return for refugees.”

According to a media release, attorneys David Abrams of New York and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv have informed the NLRB that the ultimate goal of the BDS movement “is to put an end to the existence of the Jewish State.” Their complaint explains that the BDS movement “makes no attempt to boycott countries or entities which hang homosexuals, torture political opposition, or deny voting rights to their citizenry… Instead the BDS movement remains focused on Israel exclusively,” with prominent supporters having “admitted that their goal is to put an end to the Jewish State.”

Shurat Hadin is mostly concerned with the UE’s resolution advocating that members “become engaged in BDS” at all levels. The civil rights group claims that the UE is in violation of NLRA Section 8(b)(4)(i)(B), which states that “It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents . . . to induce or encourage any individual employed by any person engaged in commerce … to engage in… a refusal in the course of his employment to use, manufacture, process, transport… or to perform any services; . . . where . . .  an object thereof is  . . . forcing or requiring any person  . . . to cease doing business with any other person.”

“Filing a charge against the UE over its secondary boycott policy is a new tactic to combat the anti-Semitic BDS movement and its supporters,” stated Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. “It is a violation of American labor law for the union to encourage its members to cease doing business with Israelis and Israeli companies. The UE needs to decide whether it wants to be a discriminatory hate group targeting Jewish companies or a respected union representing the best interests of its members. We are insisting the NLRB take immediate action against the UE. We intend to force the UE to abandon its unlawful policies.”

A phone call into the UE for comment was not returned.


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