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“TUC resolutions calling for boycott of Israel have led to anti-Jewish threats, and now violence in the UK.”

Paris, 21 July 2015

In a letter to the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) Secretary-General, Frances O'Grady, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, protested “the violence and ejection of this weekend's Tolpuddle Trades Union Congress of a registered Jewish group by pro-Palestinian rioters.”

Samuels noted that he "first learned of the six Tolpuddle Martyrs – deported to an Australian penal colony for unionist activity in 1834 – as a teenage member of British Habonim, a socialist/Zionist youth movement, associated with many collective farm Kibbutz communities in Israel.”

The letter argued that “the attacks in Tolpuddle on the 'Bournemouth Action for Israel' (BAFI) volunteer group have tarnished the ethics and struggle of those martyrs and the words of their leader, George Loveless: 'God is our guide from field, from wave. From plough, from anvil and from furlough. We come our country's rights to save, and speak a tyrant faction's doom'…”

Samuels pointed to “a flash-mob from the Palestine Solidarity Company (PSC) stall, which threw BAFI leaflets to the floor, trying to destroy its stand, calling them 'fascists, apartheid, baby-killing'...”, adding, “BAFI on the other hand, presenting their campaign as 'pro-Israel, pro-Palestine, pro-Peace' were jeered into silence.”

The letter continued, “while BAFI was erecting its stand, the organizers, pleading 'short-staffed on security', told them 'to leave in [their] own interest and their staff's safety'.”

The Centre was shocked that the TUC, “apparently, never even called the police under the Civil Disorder Act,” and questioned the Secretary-General, “whom here is the 'fascist' denying 'rights to save', whom 'the tyrant faction'?”

Samuels continued, “this travesty has supplanted the TUC, once allied to the Histadrut Israeli labour movement. This betrays the unionism and Ruskin cooperativism that I taught to Palestinian, Israeli and budding non-aligned leaders at the Afro-Asian Institute in Tel Aviv... The mask has been torn away from the several anti-Israeli resolutions of the TUC, especially calling for boycott of Israeli products. They have had no effect on the Israeli or Palestinian economy. But by osmosis, they have led to anti-Jewish threats, and now violence in the UK.”

“Madam Secretary-General, we urge you to condemn the pro-Palestinian antisemitism at Tolpoddle, apologize to the Jewish community and take measures to ban the Palestine Solidarity Campaign of terror and fascist behaviour from next year's Festival,” concluded Samuels.