Thursday, April 03, 2008

The National Union of Journalists to debate Israel motion

3 April 2008
By Patrick Smith

The (UK) National Union of Journalists could overturn one its most controversial motions of recent years at its Annual Delegates’ Meeting this weekend, a boycott of Israeli goods and services.

Hundreds of activists and NUJ chapel representatives will vote on a motion to overturn the boycott, passed at last year’s meeting in Birmingham, along with 130 others over the next three days.

The motion reads: “This ADM instructs the NEC (the National Executive Council, the union’s ruling body) to overturn the policy calling for a boycott of Israeli goods on the grounds that it jeopardises the safety and credibility of NUJ members.”

A lengthy amendment from the NEC – which members could vote on separately – said it "rejects absolutely" allegations of anti-semitism and/or racism and called for the union to “reaffirm our responsibility to towards our sister unions in the Middle East and our sister union in Palestine” to help them “deal with the day-to-day problems of journalists and their families, in particular their safety”.

Another motion calls for the Press Complaints Commission to be covered by the Freedom of Information Act in a widening of the act announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year.

Alan Johnston, the former BBC Gaza correspondent who was kidnapped for almost four months last year, will speak on Saturday alongside Naim Tubasi from the Palestinian Journalists’ Union.

General Secretary Jeremy Dear will address the conference tomorrow and is expected to focus on the threats journalists face from media owners and continued attacks on freedom of speech.

NUJ president Michelle Stanistreet will give her speech to the conference tomorrow afternoon after spending the early hours on the picket line outside Express Newspapers in London during the full-day strike.

More updates from the conference will be published on throughout the weekend and in the magazine next week. (Press Gazette)

Read also "A British journalist in Israel chronicles the shocking, systematic anti-Israel bias of the European media" by Tom Gross


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