British Unions Block Israeli Expert's Appearance

By Haaretz

Published April 30, 2012.

A master-class on conflict resolution that was set to be given by an Israeli lecturer in Manchester next week was canceled by the British National Health Service, after trade union members who were to take part in the class objected to participating in a workshop with an Israeli expert.

Moty Cristal, an Israeli expert on negotiating skills and crisis-management, was to have taught a class entitled The Role of Negotiation in Dealing with Conflict, as part of a workshop on conflict resolution for health-trust managers and union officials. The workshop is being organized by Manchester Mental Trust, part of the NHS.

Cristal has worked in the past with Palestinian groups and human-rights organizations, and has lectured on his field on numerous occasions in Britain, including a lecture to the Muslim Council of Britain. Despite this, he received an e-mail on Friday from the company that organized the event, that Cristal’s expertise was no longer required, following pressure by members of UNISON, Britain’s largest trade union, which represents 1.3 million public service workers. The message said the class was being canceled “on the grounds that it is [the union’s] policy and also that of the Trades Union Council to support the Palestinian people.”

While the council has voted in the past against general boycott resolutions of Israel (while boycotting goods manufactured in West Bank settlements), the UNISON National Delegate Conference has repeatedly voted in favor of a general boycott, despite the recommendation of its national executive to “critically engage” instead with Israelis and Israeli organizations, including the Histadrut.

For more, go to Haaretz.com



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