Britain / 30-04-2012
London – a guest lecture by an Israeli lecturer that was scheduled to take place next week in Manchester has been cancelled after members of the British National Health Services (NHS) refused to participate in it.
Attorney Moty Kristal, an expert in negotiations and crisis management, was invited to lecture next week to managers and senior Health officials, as part of a lecture series on the subject of conflict resolution. Kristal worked in the past with Palestinian groups and human-rights organizations, and also visited Britain on several occasions giving talks that he was asked to give in his area, among them a lecture before the British Islamic Council.
Last Friday Kirstal was informed that the conference organizer had cancelled his participation following pressure exerted by UNISON, the roof organization of the labor unions in Britain. The organization explained the decision saying that “the official position of UNISON, as well as the official position of the Labor Unions Council is to support the Palestinian people”.
UNISON consistently supports a general boycott of Israel. The roof organization has continued to adhere to its position, this despite repeated pleadings by the national chairman, who called on the organization to adopt an opposite position and to deepen its cooperation with Israel and with labor unions like the Histadrut. Kristal’s lecture had been invited by the NHS, a government-financed organization that opposes on principle the boycotting of Israel.
From a conversation that Ha’Aretz conducted with seniors of the UNISON organization, it emerges that they were not informed of this step and that in all probability it was due to pressure leveled by local officials of the organization in Manchester. During the annual meeting of UNISON that took place last year, the professional union of hospitals in Manchester was among the organizations that promoted the boycotting of Israel. The union’s secretary, Frances Kelly, said then that the time has come that all the professional organizations in the world decide to boycott Israeli institutions that take indirect or direct part in the occupation.