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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Speaks Out Against Calls to Boycott Israel

Pledges Support for Israel, Calls for Support of U.S. President Obama’s Peace Initiative

2009 Oct Dinner.
(l-r: Sybil Sanchez, Morton Sloan, Roberta Reardon, Paul Almeida, Richard Trumka, Stuart Appelbaum, Jack Ahern, Rabbi Michael Miller, Ruben Diaz, Jr.)

Addressing the Jewish Labor Committee, newly-elected President of the AFL-CIO, Richard L. Trumka, has spoken out clearly and forcefully in opposition to calls to boycott Israel. .Before 475 participants of the annual Human Rights Dinner of the JLC, held in New York City on October 27th, Trumka stated that “we’re proud to stand with the JLC to oppose boycotting Israel.” Trumka was elected President of the national AFL-CIO in September of this year. The AFL-CIO is composed of 57 national and international labor unions, represents 11.5 million members.

He noted that “the Jewish community here – and around the world – has never had a stronger ally than the AFL-CIO,” adding that “so long as I’m president, you will never have a stronger ally than the AFL-CIO!”

Trumka added that “in America, we sometimes think that anti-Semitism is part of the past, but the truth is that it’s like a weed that can always grow back. And that’s especially true during hard times. You know, sometimes it’s couched as `anti-Zionism.’ Other times there’s no effort to disguise it at all.”

In a keynote address, Trumka stated that “there is only one way we’re going to stop the violence in the Middle East – and it’s not by bashing Israel – it’s by supporting President Obama’s peace initiative. And I ought to add, that’s why we need to stand by President Obama on Iran, too!” (President Trumka’s entire speech can be found here.)

Three extraordinary individuals received this year’s Human Rights Award from the JLC: Roberta Reardon, the National President, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFL-CIO {remarks here}, presented by Paul E. Almeida, President of the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO; Morton Sloan, President of Morton William Supermarkets {remarks here}, presented by Ruben Diaz, Jr., Bronx Borough President; and John T. Ahern, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, and Business Manager & Financial Secretary of IUOE Local 30 (remarks here), presented by Richard Trumka.
The dinner, hosted by Jewish Labor Committee President Stuart Appelbaum (remarks here), received greetings on behalf of the Jewish community of New York from Rabbi Michael Miller, Executive Vice President of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (remarks here.) JLC Executive Director Sybil Sanchez also shared remarks at the beginning of the dinner (remarks here).

Organizations represented at the 2009 Human Rights Award Dinner included the Actors’ Equity Association, the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, AFTRA, the American Federation of Musicians, the Change to Win labor federation, the Connecticut AFL-CIO, Cornell ILR, New York’s Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the Communications Workers of America, the Essex-West Hudson [NJ] Labor Council, IATSE, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Association of Machinists, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Longshoremen’s Association, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the NYC Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Long Island Federation of Labor, the New York Chapter of the NAACP, New York Americans for Democratic Action, the NYC Central Labor Council, the New York State AFL-CIO, the NYSUT, OPEIU, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the Screen Actors Guild, SEIU, the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, the Transport Workers Union of America, the United Food and Commercial Workers, UNITE HERE, the United Federation of Teachers, United University Professionals, the Workmen’s Circle and the Writers Guild of America.