The NUJ Manchester branch will debate the Israeli boycott at its May meeting - here are the details:
Thursday 17 May at the NUJ regional office at Arthur House, Chorlton Street, Manchester. If you arrive after 7.30pm call 0161 237 5020 and someone will let you in.
And Gita Conn - a Life Member has written this in Quorum - NUJ Manchester's newsletter:
BAN THE BOYCOTT
Howls of outrage can be heard all over the land, and from abroad, at the passing of a motion at ADM to boycott Israeli goods.
At a time when journalists are seriously concerned about pay, job security, new media and pensions, i.e. Union matters, why is our Union becoming embroiled in the political fallout of a motion that has been described as ‘daft and dangerous’?
Wimpier members have torn up their membership cards in disgust… and in a useless, self-righteous gesture.
Hardier souls are using every democratic means to persuade the NEC to neuter a motion that should never have been passed.
Hundreds of members from BBC and ITV have already signed a petition condemning the motion. ITN broadcasters, expressing their dismay, stated: ‘As members of organisations which take pride in providing impartial news coverage, we cannot associate ourselves with a move which involves taking sides in any conflict.’
The Observer NUJ Chapel is adamant: ‘If Observer journalists come out for any side in any conflict, we do so after researching and thinking about it for ourselves. We are angered that reports have gone round the world that “British journalists” have democratically agreed to single out Israel - and only Israel - for sanctions. We call on the Union to hold a ballot of all members to see whether they support the view taken at ADM on an issue that could have a profound effect on the way the independence of British journalists is viewed at home and abroad.’
Leading public figures (including the Editor of the Guardian and Jon Snow) have criticised a motion that bears factual inaccuracies, discriminatory overtones and a lack of balance abhorrent to every journalist of principle.
Such ill-conceived messages coming from ADM in our name bring the Union and its members into disrepute. We are losing credibility at a time when we need to focus on extremely important issues and are seeking public support for the Journalism Matters campaign and for the Day of Action in November.
Worse still, hyperbole does little to assist the search for peace in the Middle East nor, of immediate urgency (as I write), the freeing from captivity of Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist.
I will be asking the Branch (which mandated its conference delegates to oppose this motion) to make representations to the NEC to do everything in its constitutional powers to negate this unfortunate resolution.
General Secretary Jeremy Dear is on record as saying the NEC did not support the motion and he has made it clear that it is open to members to reopen the issue.
If you share my concern, please come along to the next meeting of the Branch on 17 May and lend your support. If you cannot come, please do add your name to the submission by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Gita Conn, Life Member
Editor’s note(This is the Editor of Quorum): This is an issue which has aroused strong feelings and should make for an interesting discussion at the next Branch meeting, not least over the question of whether the NEC should overturn a decision made by the democratic will of the Union's membership decision - however unpalatable that decision. The NEC has the constitutional right to do so but this right has been exercised very rarely. As Gita urges, please try and get to the meeting on Thursday 17th May.