This article, co-authored with Benjamin Weinthal, appeared in The Guardian online edition.
Perhaps the most overlooked factor in the demise of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in Tunisia, and the weakening of Hosni Mubarak’s grip on state power in Egypt, has been the trade unions in both countries.
The TUC was right to discuss international affairs at its annual congress. Unions have been involved in global solidarity actions for more than 150 years. In an increasingly globalised world, unions have to make their voices heard on issues affecting their members and working people abroad.
The problem is that the decision the TUC took to support boycotts, sanctions and divestment targeting Israel was the wrong one. The energetic campaign to target the most democratic and lively trade union federation in the Middle East, the Israeli Histadrut, is a disappointing case of misplaced priorities. Iran, not Israel, should have been the focus of TUC attention this year.
To read the rest of this article, which appeared on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, click here.