Buzz Hargrove, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union, has an op-ed piece in the Toronto Star in response to the Canadian Union of Public Employees decision to boycott Israel (see here). He writes:
The Canadian labour movement and the left could play an important role in supporting a peaceful resolution to the Middle East conflict. To do this, however, we must get past simple rhetoric - like the claim that Israel is equivalent to the former South African apartheid regime.Read the rest. (Thanks: Eric Lee.)
As one of the many in the Canadian labour movement who for many years supported the struggle against apartheid, I am disappointed by this unfair depiction.
A more constructive approach for the labour movement would be to support the continuing peace efforts of PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas. We must all condemn Hamas for its support for terrorism and its refusal to recognize the right of Israelis to exist within secure borders, free of the threat of terrorism.
Recent events in the region... give rise to fear and despair.
The labour movement and the left should try to counteract that despair with calls for genuine dialogue and exchange, not by finger-pointing and boycotts.