Churches, unions back Israel boycott

A growing number of unions across Australia have backed the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel. The campaign demands that Israel ends its apartheid-like policies towards Palestinians.

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) said in a July 20 statement that it would “continue to add its voice to the call for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and condemning all acts of terrorism”.

“In solidarity with Palestinian Christians, the NCCA asks its member Churches and the wider Australian community to consider a boycott of goods produced by Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

NCCA general secretary Reverend Tara Curlewis said: “We are asking the member Churches of the NCCA to consider boycotting particular goods produced in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

“It is hoped that such actions will liberate the people from an experience of injustice to one where a just and definitive peace may be reached.”

Curlewis said the NCCA called for an immediate end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza: “The NCCA will stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine and act for an end to the injustice and suffering borne by the people.”

The statement said the NCCA’s aid agency, Act for Peace, would encourage churches around Australia to help actions on the boycott and support initiatives calling for a just, peaceful end to the conflict.

The council of the Queensland Teachers’ Union voted to support the BDS campaign, joining a joined a growing list of Australian unions calling for an boycott of Israel, said on July 24.

On August 4, the Queensland branch of the Liquor, Hospitality & Miscellaneous Workers Union issued a resolution calling for an end to illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and resolved to support the BDS campaign.