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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.

Press Releases

The CUPE proposals and clarification, (Jan 5, Jan 13, Jan 14)
CUPE 3902 (local branch), Executive Statement, (rejecting boycott proposal)
Canadian Graduate Students, Petition Against the Proposed CUPE Ontario Boycott of Israeli Academics and Institutions
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), petition
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), press release
B'nai Brith Canada, CUPE-National must address blatant discrimination by its Ontario affiliate, Press Release, January 6, 2009
B'nai Brith Canada, Why is CUPE National still silent on Hamas terrorism, Press Release, January 13 2009

News Reports

Union at Ontario Universities Proposes Boycott of Israeli Professors, The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 6, 2009
Sid Ryan's bigotry, National Post, 6 January 2009
Bob Dale, Ottawa needs to proscribe CUPE's anti-Israel agenda, The National Post, January 06, 2009
Sid Ryan keeps digging, National Post, 7 January 2009
Tamas Virag, Local Jews slam union ban idea, The Edmonton Sun, January 7, 2008
Kate Dubinski, Western rejects CUPE call for boycott, The London Free Press, January 8, 2009
CUPE should stay out of politics, Calgary Herald, January 08, 2009
Vanessa Kortekaas, CUPE Ontario leader apologizes for 'Nazi' reference, The Ottawa Citizen, January 8, 2009
Jessica Ireland, Ryan's Israel stance creates rift in CUPE, The Windsor Star, January 09, 2009
Susan Martinuk, Racism is behind push to ban Israeli scholars, The Calgary Herald, January 09, 2009
James Cowan, Right to fight?, National Post, January 10, 2009
Michael Coren, Lecture for a union, Toronto Sun, 10th January 2009
Oren Gross, CUPE Ontario's proposed boycott of Israeli academics is just plain anti-Semitic, The Globe and Mail, January 13, 2009
Kenyon Wallace, Ryan rebuked by national CUPE head, Toronto Star, 14 January 2009
Howard Levitt, Political lobbying doesn't help CUPE member interests, Financial Post, January 14, 2009
Joe Howell, CUPE Ontario proposes to ban Israeli academics from campuses, The Strand, 15 January 2009
Ryan’s rage, Editorial, Canadian Jewish News, January 15, 2009
Murray Teitel, A waste of CUPE's money, Toronto Sun, 15 January 2009
Sid Ryan must go, National Post, 16 January 2009

Responces, Blogs, Newsletters

CUPE Shows Their Colours, Pelalusa Blog, January 05, 2009
CUPE Wants HM Government to Condemn Israel, Dr Roy's Thoughts, January 05, 2009
Israel Academic Boycott Urged by Canada Labor Leader, ZWord Blog, January 06, 2009
CUPE’s Latest Gimmick: Just Plain Wrong, BlogUT (A blog by University of Toronto Students), January 6, 2009
Scratch A Leftist Labour Union, Small Dead Animals, January 06, 2009
CUPE asks that Israeli professors be blacklisted, Keyes, January 06, 2009
CUPE: Ban Israeli academics, The Shotgun Blog, January 07, 2009

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