Irish union leader adds credibility to Israeli apartheid slander

The Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign this week handed in a petition with 6,000 signatures to Dunnes Stores calling on the company to “stop stocking Israeli products, until Israel respects Palestinian rights and international law.”  Nothing unusual in that — anti-Israel campaigners try to do that every day, all over the world.

The difference is that Dunnes Stores has a reputation as a right-wing, anti-union company that happily traded with apartheid South Africa.  This lead to a major fight with the Irish trade union movement.

According to one source, Dunnes “is particularly known for the lockout/strike of the retail workers union, who refused to handle goods sourced from South Africa, then under apartheid. Neither side would give way and the dispute only came to an end when the Irish Government made imports from South Africa illegal.”

The union leader at the center of the struggle to break Dunnes’ relationship with the racist Pretoria regime decades ago is today using that struggle, and his role in it, to promote the anti-Israel boycott campaign.

As a press release reported, “Brendan Archbold, the trade union official at the centre of the 1980s Dunnes strike when workers refused to handle South African goods” was present at the event.

But Israel is not an apartheid society, and to call it one is a slander.

Trade unionists who fought against the racist South African regime should not allow themselves to be used by pro-Hamas activists who promote the destruction of the Jewish state.

Indeed, one might argue that if one wishes to continue the struggle waged by anti-apartheid campaigners in the 1980s — in support of democracy and against racism — one should be fighting against the racist and reactionary regime in Tehran and its proxies in Palestine (Hamas) and Lebanon (Hizbollah).

That is where anti-apartheid campaigners and trade unionists belong today — not calling for boycotts of the Jewish state.