The workers united, will never be..Jewish?
An NHS conference on conflict resolution for managers and union representatives has turned into a sobering lesson in how conflicts are decidedly not resolved. The guest lecturer at the conference, organised by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, was to be Moty Cristal, an expert in negotiation theory and mediation. But under pressure from one of the participating unions, Unison, his invitation was unceremoniously withdrawn. The reason? He is an Israeli.
At no stage, it should be emphasised, was any concern raised about Professor Cristal himself. He is, by all accounts, an expert in his field. He has lectured around the world and in the UK, including to the Muslim Council of Britain, and has been an active participant in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and back-channel dialogue. It was his Israeli nationality alone, he was informed, which made his participation “unacceptable given Unison and TUC policy on the Middle East conflict”.
This is not the first time a supposedly political boycott has seamlessly morphed into bigotry and prejudice. When two Israeli academics were “unappointed” from the editorial boards of journals at Manchester University, – again purely on the grounds of their citizenship – one of them, Gideon Toury, observed wryly: “I was appointed as a scholar and unappointed as an Israeli.”
The UK Trade Union movement is a seething bed of anti-Semitism.