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Unions reject Israel boycott

    The founding president of TULIP, Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine, has applauded an overwhelming rejection of Hamas and the Israel boycott by the International Trade Union Confederation.

    At its world congress in Vancouver, ITUC, which represents unions in more than 150 countries, pledged its "universal recognition" of Israel's right to exist. It also rejected "the extremist policies of Hamas".

    Eric Lee, a leading trade union activist and a founder of TULIP, said: "This is welcome news for Israelis and Palestinians.

    "It is a blow to the supporters of Hamas who have tried hard to isolate and demonise Israel within the trade union movement."

    In a defiant slap to the boycott movement, the leader of Israel's Histadrut, its umbrella trade union body, Ofer Eini, has been elected as one of ITUC's vice presidents and given a place on its 25-member executive board.

    Unions around the world called for divestment and sanctions on
    Israel, with Britain's largest union, Unite, unanimously passing a motion to boycott Israeli companies earlier in June.

    The University and College Union also passed several anti-Israel resolutions at its recent Manchester conference.

    Yet in a striking volte-face, calls from different unions for a campaign against Israel were unsuccessful.

    The conference instead committed ITUC to support for a two state solution and the 2002 Road Map for peace.

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