As members and officers of United Auto Workers 2865 — current and former, Jewish and non-Jewish — we write to oppose the Joint Council’s decision to endorse the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Furthermore, we strongly oppose the proposal calling for divestment and an academic boycott.
The BDS movement is not progressive; it is unjust. It rejects the international consensus position on peace and pushes the most strident demands of the rejectionist camp. It collectively punishes Israelis and Palestinians, and stymies efforts to reach across divides, engage in dialogue and build mutual trust. Moreover, it rejects basic academic values by opposing cooperation and the free exchange of ideas within the academy. Finally, it manipulates and selectively presents facts to delegitimize Israel and, in essence, calls for the end of the Jewish State. Support for BDS is unworthy of our union.
Our union leadership has also violated the union’s fundamental principles of democracy, transparency and solidarity in its efforts to promote BDS. It has announced a membership vote, but stacked the deck in favor of BDS. Our leadership has publicized numerous pro-BDS documents and events, spending thousands of dollars in the process. It has refused to send even a single paragraph representing an anti-BDS viewpoint to its mailing list. Moreover, by promoting an academic boycott against Israel, our leadership stigmatizes and isolates those of us who are Israeli, who do research on Israel or who have Israeli collaborators. We are saddened that our union leadership would injure its own members to pursue a political goal unrelated to the union’s core mission.
We are proud of the UAW International and the University of California (UC) for taking principled stands against BDS, and urge them to continue rejecting calls for divestment from Israel. The president of the UAW International expressed our sentiments by signing a letter declaring that, “[r]ather than divestment from Israel, we believe that investment of time, energy and material aid is the best means to alleviate the ongoing suffering of Palestinians and Israelis.” The UC also expressed our sentiments by issuing a statement that “isolation of Israel among all of the countries of the world greatly disturbs us and is of grave concern to members of the Jewish community.”
We urge all members of UAW 2865 to join us — as well as the leadership of the nine UC campuses, the president of the UC system, over 250 university presidents, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the American Council on Education and the American Association of University Professors — in categorically rejecting proposals to support BDS and academic and cultural boycotts of Israel.
We ask everyone to make their voices heard by voting NO in the statewide vote Dec. 4.
This letter was signed by UAW 2865 members in opposition to the BDS movement