Ratified by the Sierra Club National and Chapter Units of Progressive Workers Union on June 26, 2023

Whereas PWU is an organizing labor union with values rooted in racial justice and opposing white supremacy and militarism; 

Whereas our constitution states, “Members affirm to stand with anti-racism initiatives and other progressive movements that strive towards equity and justice while harnessing the collective power of the membership for the benefit of all employees;” 

Whereas PWU has historically used its influence to transform the US environmental movement; 

Whereas numerous other labor unions and environmental organizations have publicly stated their solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian liberation; 

Whereas numerous human rights organizations – namely Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and B’Tselem – have comprehensively proven that Israel’s treatment of Palestinian people constitutes the international crime against humanity of apartheid; 

Whereas the forces that uphold this apartheid are the same forces destroying our planet; 

Whereas the Israeli regime utilizes greenwashing to cover up its crimes against humanity, and its supposed environmental accomplishments are only made possible by the brutal denial of Palestinian’s’ basic environmental rights to clean air, land, and water; 

Whereas the United States is complicit in Israeli apartheid through military funding and other activities; 

Whereas the state of Israel does not represent all Jewish people, and in fact, many Jewish members of PWU openly advocate for Palestinian human rights and dignity; 

Whereas criticism towards Israeli apartheid is not, in and of itself, a form of antisemitism; 

Whereas the Palestinian struggle to return to their occupied homes fits within a global anti-imperialist struggle including Indigenous movements in so-called North America; 

Whereas there are direct ties between the violent oppression of Indigenous, Black, and people of color in the United States and the oppression of Palestinians, including Israeli training of

police officers in the US who commit brutality against Black and brown lives and military equipment from Israel provided to US police; 

Whereas the safety and the security of all people are impossible so long as any community is the target of systemic oppression; 

Whereas on May 15, 2021, a coalition of Palestinian unions and organizations issued a call for solidarity rallies by workers internationally; 

Therefore, be it affirmed that the Sierra Club National and Chapter units of Progressive Workers Union officially commit to acting in solidarity with the Palestinian liberation movement, including the following actions: 

  • Investigate the union’s finances, spending, and other activities to ensure that they do not contribute to Israeli settler-colonial oppression; 
  • Form a Palestine Solidarity Committee, which will foster relationships with leading groups working on Palestinian human rights and will support the full union to align its practices with Palestinian solidarity; 
  • Provide educational events and dialogue to increase members’ knowledge, analysis, and ability to act in solidarity with the Palestinian people and other Indigenous, anti-colonial struggles everywhere; 
  • Affirm the union’s commitment to visibility and protection for workers of marginalized identities, including Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs, Middle Easterners, West Asians, North Africans, and Jews; 
  • Apply the principles and spirit of this Palestinian solidarity statement to the union’s engagement with our workplaces and social movements, including active opposition to any workplace practices that contribute to colonization and oppression of Palestinians and other Indigenous peoples everywhere.

 

Background: 

In May of 2021, protests began in East Jerusalem against the evictions of Palestinians from the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli police responded to protestors with violence, which led to civilian clashes. Clashes escalated into greater conflict after Israeli forces entered the al-Aqsa mosque on the evening of May 7. 

This conflict would ultimately spread across Israel/Palestine, and armed conflict including rocket strikes and airstrikes would occur in Gaza between Palestinian and Israeli armed forces. This violence led to the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, including children. 

The evictions in Sheikh Jarrah were a catalyst for Israeli forces to escalate their repression of Palestinian civilians, facilitating the unjust evictions taking place in East Jerusalem and other occupied territories. 

Calls for Solidarity: 

On May 15, 2021, a coalition of Palestinian unions and organizations issued a call for solidarity rallies by workers internationally, outlining five steps to support them.
https://bdsmovement.net/news/palestinians-calling-from-gaza-jerusalem-all-out-saturday-may-1 5th-end-ongoing-nakba-and

Workers and activists also coordinated a general strike in May of 2021, calling on trade workers internationally to support them
http://www.etun-palestine.org/site/2021/05/24/palestinian-trade-unions-call-for-immediate-and-u rgent-action-from-international-trade-unions/

Palestinian calls for international solidarity continue to this day, as does the systemic eviction and displacement of Palestinians from occupied territories. This call for solidarity inspired members of the Progressive Workers Union to gather to discuss our union’s response. 

Therefore, we would like to propose joining the Palestinian solidarity movement. 

We believe that this is one such moment to take a stand for equity and justice by committing our solidarity with Palestinians. 

We recognize the explicit ties between the ongoing evictions of Palestinian people from their homes and the role that white supremacy and settler-colonialism played in the genocide of Indigenous people in the Americas. We also recognize the many violations of international law committed by corporate bad actors with the aid of the Israeli government and defense forces, often aided by NATO allies. These violations uphold the apartheid that Palestinian people are subject due to the actions of the state of Israel’s expansion into contested territory. (link: Wikipedia) The forces that uphold this apartheid are the same forces destroying our planet, and as a union that both represents environmental workers and is committed to the progressive cause, we cannot remain silent on this issue.