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Ceasefire NOW

Ceasefire NOW!

16 January 2024

ʵ joins with many others in Palestine, the UK, and beyond to reiterate the demands for an immediate ceasefire, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, unrestricted access to humanitarian aid, and the lifting of the siege of Gaza. 

We are very concerned by the sharp rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia across the UK and beyond since October. We restate our unwavering opposition to all forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia - hate has no place on our campuses or in our society.

ʵ stands with our students currently protesting against the war in Gaza and occupying university campuses in Leeds, Nottingham, Bristol, at Goldsmiths and elsewhere. The conflict has already claimed the lives of over 30,000 Palestinians with thousands more injured or missing. The protestors are right to question our universities' complicity with what the International Court of Justice recently ruled as a potential genocide and to call on educational institutions to make a clear commitment to end partnerships with the Israel state. ʵ continues to call for the release of all hostages, an immediate ceasefire, and an end to the occupation.

  • : Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) works for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees. They provide immediate medical aid to those in great need, while also developing local capacity and skills to ensure the long-term development of the Palestinian healthcare system, and are currently working to procure and deliver urgently needed medical aid and shelter supplies in Gaza. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs cites that hospitals in Gaza are under heavy strikes, and there are critical shortages of medicines and supplies. The TUC's General Council is calling on all affiliates to support the MAP Gaza Emergency Appeal: Please

  • Last week the International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave its verdict that Israel is potentially committing genocide in Gaza, and ordered the killing of Palestinians to stop and for humanitarian aid to be allowed in. The response of the UK government has instead been to suspend its funding to the UN agency which provides essential services for 1.7 million refugees in Gaza, and to minimise the significance of the ICJ. Now, more than ever, it is essential for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to be able to provide crucial aid to the people in Gaza. and the Foreign Office to reinstate UNRWA funding.
  • #BoycottBarclays
    The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) are asking people to take urgent action and support their campaign to boycott Barclays Bank. You will be aware of the urgent call by more than thirty Palestinian trade unions for unions around the world to - among other things - take action against companies involved in implementing Israel's illegal siege and genocidal assault on Gaza, and to pressure companies deeply complicit in the military trade with Israel. On 17 January PSC activists organised a in central London, to mark the launch of their campaign which is asking everyone to stop banking with Barclays. We are now asking trade unions (branches, regions, sectors, etc) to pledge not to use the services of Barclays bank and request that your members do so too as individuals:

Work to support Palestinian education

As an education union, ʵ is particularly concerned about the devastating impact of Israel's war on Palestinian education.

  • Members are encouraged to read an open letter by Gaza academics and university administrators (dated 29 May 2024). It calls on international friends and colleagues to help them resist the Israeli campaign of 'scholasticide' and to assist them in rebuilding their universities
  • Friends of Birzeit University (Fobzu) supports the right to education and its role in the creation of a free and flourishing Palestine. One way Fobzu supports access to education for young Palestinians is by to students in financial need. Not only do scholarships provide vital assistance for young people facing hardship, they are also an important source of hope to a generation growing up under occupation. You can .
  •  - a Higher Education Coalition for Palestine in the UK and beyond.
  •  - a network of union reps and activists on campuses and in colleges across the UK who are united in building solidarity for Palestine and against wider war.
  • The General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT) has published a powerful video entitled the 'Education sector under Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip'
  • Our global union federation - has been mobilising financial support for Palestinian education unions, including the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE).

Branch asks

  • Write to the management at your institution demanding that they speak out against the 'educide' being committed in Gaza, support the urgent reconstruction and long-term rebuilding of Palestinian education, and ensure that none of their partnerships, funding arrangements and investments, involve institutions and corporations that are aiding and abetting Israel's 'plausibly genocidal acts' in Gaza.

    You may wish to use the letter [175kb] which was sent by ʵ general secretary Jo Grady to UUK chief executive Vivienne Stern for inspiration.

  • Write to USS (if in the scheme)

    If your branch is at an institution in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) then , Chair of the Trustee Board to demand an immediate meeting of the Board of Trustees to consider its position on Israeli investments and those companies that have been found to be complicit in Israel's 'plausibly genocidal acts' in Gaza.

    We have written a template letter [15kb] to assist with this.
     
  • The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is the biggest organisation in the UK dedicated to securing Palestinian human rights. Nationally, .

Academic freedom and free speech

ʵ is aware that some of our members have been targeted for speaking out about the events in Israel and Palestine, and that this targeting has unfortunately often been racialised. ʵ has clear policy in defence of academic freedom; if you have been targeted in this way please contact  for support.

Events

We call on all regions, branches and members to continue to attend national and regional protests organised by Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, fellow trade unions and others.

Migrant members and demos

We recognise that participation in protests can present additional risks and anxieties for migrant members, due to the government's hostile environment and the authoritarian crackdowns on protest. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Migrants (JCWI) has produced .

Are there limits to what ʵ can do?

ʵ's longstanding policy has been support for BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) 'within the constraints of the existing law'. ʵ has taken the advice of a senior barrister (Kings Counsel) on what can and cannot be actioned by union as an organisation. While ʵ cannot and should not call for an academic boycott as such a call would be unlawful - outside of the union's powers, and aims and objects - this page sets out a full range of suggested actions and further information for all those members who wish to support the call for an immediate Ceasefire.

Resources

Ceasefire Now - roundel   Ceasefire Now - poster   Ceasefire Now - poster [305kb]
     

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Last updated: 11 June 2024