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Boycotting Israel won't solve crisis

Sir -- We, members of the American Trade Union movement, have heard and read with disappointment and sadness that some of our Irish colleagues continue to lead a campaign in Ireland for a boycott of Israeli goods and services. It would seem that the appeal we made to them, during our visit to Ireland last November, to reconsider their boycott call has fallen on deaf ears.

We believe that such a campaign amounts to a form of prejudice and discrimination. In unfairly singling out one party to the conflict, it aims to punish and delegitimise Israel while ignoring the decades-long attacks against it by Palestinian terrorist organisations. Such a campaign can only serve to embolden these extreme elements and disempower moderates.

We believe that the boycott campaign is misguided and runs counter to efforts to promote dialogue and understanding. It contradicts the insistence, based on the experience of the Irish peace process, on the value of dialogue as a means of solving conflict.

We suggest that, rather than embracing the politics of rejectionism, trade unionists and other non-governmental organisations seeking a just and fair resolution should help to bridge the gaps between the two sides. In particular, the encouragement of trade and academic links has the potential to bring employment and prosperity, significant factors in the achievement of peace.

Jack Ahern, President,

New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO,

Atty Mike Carroll,

Robert Haynes, President, Massachusetts AFL-CIO,

Atty Cody McCone,

Atty Brian O'Dwyer,

Tom Wilkinson, President,

Fairfield County Labor Council, AFL-CIO

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