Kamal Abu Aita announced that the newly-formed Egyptian Independent Union Federation (EIUF) is backing the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS.
Abu Aita, a leading figure in the EIUF and president of the property tax collectors’ union, was addressing a packed meeting at the Marxism 2011 festival in London.
He said: “The EIUF has a very clear position and that is one of solidarity with the Palestinian Arab people, support for their right to a state in the whole of their land and support for their right to use all forms of resistance against the Zionist state.
'The EIUF announces its rejection of all forms of normal relations with the racist, settler Zionist state and we will not co-operate with any of its official or trade union bodies because they are all connected to the Zionist occupation of our land. It is impossible for us to work with this racist regime, and it is vital to build a movement of humanity which aims to get rid of racist regimes against the world, just as we got rid of the Apartheid regime in South Africa.
'The Egyptian revolution opened the door wide for our people to express their rejection of the Zionist state. From the beginning, the revolution has worked in the interests of the Palestinians, by stopping the export of Egyptian gas to the Zionists, and opening the border crossings. Egyptian youth besieged the embassy of our enemy and demanded the expulsion of the ambassador.
'We reject any relationship with the Histadrut because it is part of this racist regime. We call on all friendly unions to boycott the Histadrut as part of the campaign to get rid of racist regimes all over the world.”
Omar Barghouti, one of the founders of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), also spoke at the meeting. He said:
“The support of the Egyptian independent unions, represented by their federation, for the Palestinian Boycott Campaign is a source of pride for us, just as we are proud of Egypt’s leadership in the march of freedom from imperialism both old and new. We look forward to the return of the spirit to the all the Arab peoples struggling for freedom and social justice, and to break away of dependency on imperialist domination.”
The connections established at this meeting have the potential to play a truly historic role in the struggle for Palestinian liberation. For the first time in decades, the Egyptian working class is creating its own independent organisations, which are playing a leading role in the on-going revolution. On the Palestinian side, the BDS campaign is both a mass popular campaign within Palestine which has shifted the Palestinian trade union leaders from open accommodation with the Israeli unions, to formal support for the BDS campaign, as well being a hugely significant global movement.
As Omar Barghouti told Friday’s meeting: “Our South Africa moment has come”.
For details of the Palestinian Trade Union Coalition for BDS go here: www.bdsmovement.net/2011/ptuc-bds-formed-6912