Following an overwhelming vote at the PCS conference in 2009 to support the people of Palestine, we have been working closely with the TUC and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) to put together a campaign in which you, your colleagues, friends and family can all take part.
The campaign is focused on stopping shops in the UK selling goods (such as fruit, vegetables and herbs) that are grown on illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land. The settlements are illegal under international and domestic law, but continue to expand through force and violence.
As a result of the illegal settlements, and the restriction on goods coming in from the outside (known as the blockade), the Palestinian people are being suffocated and their economy is crumbling. It is a tragedy of massive proportions as the UN estimates that only a quarter of the aid needed is being let into Gaza by the Israeli government. Amnesty International describes the situation as a “humanitarian crisis”.
By ending the sale of illegal settlement goods in the UK, we can stop those who make a profit out of human suffering and send a powerful message that the existence of illegal settlements on stolen land will not be tolerated.
The only way to achieve this is by mass action. We need as many people as possible to put pressure on the supermarkets that sell the goods and demand that our politicians uphold international law by stopping the goods entering the UK in the first place.
This campaign pack has been specifically put together so that anyone can take part in our campaign – whether you have one minute to give or one day, whether you are new to the subject or a lifetime supporter. We hope the information and advice is clear but, if you have any questions or suggestions, do get in touch and we will be happy to help you.
At the time of writing this campaign pack, Israel is at the epicentre of a diplomatic storm having attacked a flotilla carrying crucial humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine. These tragic events and the horrific pictures broadcast across the globe highlight the urgency of our action and the need for solidarity with the workers in Palestine.
Please, take action now and help us take a step toward ending the suffering, even if you can only give one minute of your time.
PCS deputy general secretary
Many people may feel that they don’t know enough about the conflict between Israel and Palestine and are nervous about offering an opinion on what is a complex and difficult history.
However, the issue of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land is one that has been well documented and commented on by governmental and non-governmental organisations such as the United Nations and Amnesty International.
Many British supermarkets sell produce grown in Israeli settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
Such settlements are on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank, and are illegal under international law.
Why this should matter to you as a trade unionist and ethical shopper:
Settlements have a detrimental impact on the daily lives of Palestinians. Movement is restricted through a system of separate roads for Israelis and Palestinians, hundreds of checkpoints, and the illegal separating wall. Palestinians also endure violence at the hands of the settlers.
The settlements and their continuing expansion are recognised internationally as one of the main obstacles to resuming peace negotiations.
The need for action is clear. The more people that take the campaign actions, the more likely the campaign is to make an impact. Please encourage your colleagues, family and friends to help and speak to any community groups you are a member of as well.
As a direct result of the action taken by campaigners, the Co-operative and Marks and Spencer have agreed to stop stocking illegal settlement goods. However, several major players are still selling illegal settlement goods including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons,
Waitrose and Asda.
In order to put pressure on these high-street giants, we need to take action at a national and local level.
1. Send letters to their headquarters – write to the supermarkets using our online tool. We have a pre-written email that you can send to the Chief Executive Officers of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda and Morrisons, urging them to stop selling illegal settlements goods.
2. Gather petition signatures – using the template:
to gather petition signatures about a Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Asda or Morrisons store in your local area. Once you have done this, contact your local store and arrange to hand it in (preferably to the manager). When handing it in explain the importance of the issue and urge them to make the views of all who have signed the petition known at the highest levels within their company. Remember to ask them to get back to you within a specific timeframe with a progress report/their response.
With the embryonic coalition government in place and parliament full of new MPs, it is a good time to make known what you expect of your representatives. Many MPs (especially new ones) will be eager to do good deeds and use their office to effect real change with
tangible outcomes. This campaign offers that opportunity.
There are two things you can do to help make a difference.
3. Send a postcard or letter – take one minute to email your MP urging them to help ban settlement goods using our online tool. Ask colleagues, friends and family if they will do the same.
4. Meet your MP – whether you get 10 minutes or half an hour of their time, meeting an MP face to face can have a huge impact. It is an opportunity to show your concern and passion, and persuade them why they should take action. See below for information and advice about how to make an appointment and what you might want to say in the meeting.
Making your appointment: first of all, if you are not certain who your MP is, you can check by either contacting your local council or checking inputting your postcode at the parliamentary website.
In order to make an appointment, you can either check the website of your MP to get their contact details, or you can contact the House of Commons on 0207 219 3000 and ask to be put through to their office.
If possible, please arrange to see your MP at one of their local advice surgeries on or around 9/10 July (this has been chosen as a time of action, though activities will be ongoing through July so don’t worry if you can’t secure a meeting on the exact date).
Advice surgeries are normally held by MPs on a weekly basis and the staff in their offices will be happy to help arrange an appointment at one or give you the details of the diary secretary who deals with booking appointments at the surgery.
Depending on how busy the advice surgery is, your MP could have anything from 10 minutes to half an hour to discuss the issues with you. In order to help, we have written a briefing about the campaign issues, that you can leave with your MP after the meeting. Many people find it helpful to think about the most important points they want to get across and rehearse what they want to say.
If you have never been to see your MP before, you could use the following as a prompt sheet...
1. Introduce yourself and why this issue is important to you
2. Explain the campaign (they may know nothing about the issue)
3. Ask your MP to raise the issue with the foreign secretary, write a supportive letter for you to send to the supermarkets and become a champion for the cause (you might find it helpful for future reference to take note of their answers and what they promise to do)
4. Thank them for their time and ask them to keep you updated.
After the meeting, make a point of writing to your MP to thank them for meeting you. Make sure you restate what they promised to do and remind them that you want to know about their progress.
Finally, please let us know what happened. It is vital that we know what action has been taken, how MPs respond and what the high street giants say to you so we can campaign on this issue as effectively as possible in the future. Please email email@example.com
For further information, including details of local PSC branches and how to get a guest speaker and details of local PSC branches visit:
or for more campaign materials (including postcards) contact the DGS Office on:
T: 020 7801 2821
Help your fellow workers and their families in Palestine – get involved and help your branch to organise in support of the Boycott Settlement Goods Campaign.