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2018 National LGBT Conference
23 July 2018

Conference notes that:

1)Israel carries on denying Palestinians their rights and refusing to comply with international law. It maintains regimes of settler colonialism, apartheid and occupation over the Palestinian people;

2)This is only possible because of international support for Israel; governments do not hold Israel to account; corporations and institutions all over the world help Israel to oppress Palestinians;

3)Because those in power refuse to act to stop this injustice, Palestinian civil society calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, a global citizens’ response of solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality which UNISON has long supported; earlier Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) conferences have echoed this support; and,

4)LGBT communities are a major target for ‘Brand Israel’, the Israeli government strategy to divert attention from colonialism, apartheid and occupation and make Israel appear liberal, modern and attractive; targeting LGBT people thus is called ‘Pinkwashing’.

Conference considers that Pinkwashing demands a more concerted and sustained response than hitherto to assert that LGBT communities stand on the side of human rights, shoulder to shoulder with the Palestinian people.

Conference confirms its support for the group, No to Pinkwashing, (NtP) but notes its activities are sporadic and largely confined to London.

Conference therefore wonders whether we need another network, close to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), to maintain a consistent focus on LGBT solidarity with the Palestinian people and engage LGBT trade unionists in its work.

Conference recalls the resolution of last year’s conference which welcomed publication of ‘Palestine: Is Your Pension Fund Investing in the Occupation: A UNISON guide to Engaging your Pension Fund’ and noted PSC’s successful application for judicial review of the United Kingdom (UK) government’s regulations that tried to stop local government pension funds from divesting from such companies.

Conference welcomes UNISON’s continuing work in this area and the new version of the guide prepared with the support of PSC and of Palestinian Lawyers for Human Rights.

But Conference regrets to note the UK government’s successful appeal against the outcome of the judicial review and that, in response, UNISON has paused its guide and PSC has launched a campaign to fund an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee, seeking the support of the National Executive Council as needs be, to:

a)Discuss with PSC, LGBT groups in selected trade unions and others as appropriate how feasible it would be to set up a new LGBT Palestine Network to work alongside NtP;

b)Continue campaigning to raise LGBT people’s awareness why not to go on holiday or make cultural or sporting visits to Israel and offer appropriate support to campaigns to boycott Eurovision 2019;

c)Publicise the work of PSC, urge LGBT members to join and to get their branches and regions to affiliate and support PSC’s fundraising campaign; and,

d)Continue promoting UNISON policy and guidance on pension fund divestment as and when appropriate.