CUPE should stay out of politics
Source: CUPE should stay out of politics, Calgary Herald, January 08, 2009
What part of Hamas's stated goal to kill every Jewish person in Israel do Canadian union leaders not understand? In the past few days, union leaders dressed up in their favourite playtime costume of romantic revolutionary have denounced Israel for defending itself against terrorist attacks.
Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario section of CUPE, is calling for universities to ban Israeli academics from Canadian campuses unless they first denounce Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza. Dennis Lemelin, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, attending a pro-Palestinian rally, railed against "the Israeli apartheid government." And Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, slammed the federal government's support for"the Israeli people to protect themselves from attack.This is a woefully inadequate and frankly shameful response on behalf of Canadians."While Moist gives a nod to the idea that Hamas must cease its rocket attacks on Israel, he uses the largest part of his letter to cite United Nations special rapporteur Richard Falk, who has accused Israel of "genocidal tendencies" and disgracefully stoops to likening Jewish leaders there to Nazis.
Put away the faux Che berets, union leaders, and get back to what your true mandate is --dealing with your members' workplace issues and grievances. Stay out of the political arena. You cannot claim to speak on behalf of all your members, among whom there are doubtless thousands who support Israel acting in self-defence. Your public support for terrorists with a predilection for carrying out ethnic cleansing in the only democracy in the Middle East is repulsive. Since this kind of support for terrorism only manifests itself when Israel attempts to defend itself from attack, one could construe an underlying anti-Semitism shoring it up.
Ryan's call for banning Israeli academics unless they toe his line of propaganda is racist, undemocratic and suffused in an utterly vile aura of censorship.
Lemelin, who accuses Israel of apartheid, likely because of the security wall Israel erected, clearly hasn't a clue what the term means.The wall went up to keep suicide bombers from perpetrating their evil upon Israeli citizens guilty of no crime other than enjoying lunch in a pizza parlour or riding a city bus.Nor is there any apartheid in Israel proper, where the quality of life for Israeli Arabs is vastly superior to what Palestinian Arabs must endure under the leadership of Hamas. As for Moist, quoting the hyperbole of an extremist only undermines his own credibility, especially when simultaneously denouncing Israel for acting in self-defence after months and months of thousands of rocket hits from Hamas.
Union leaders should respect the diversity of their members, and refrain from taking political stances that may clash with the views of many of their members.
The purpose of a union is to negotiate contracts and represent its members' interests with their employers--and unions should strictly limit themselves to that function.
Reproduced at Zionism On The Web. Documents and excepts reproduced for educational purposes only, please cite the initial source as provided.