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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NUJ: incredible explanation for the boycott

I wanted to move on from the NUJ debacle over the boycott of Israeli products. Enough has been said. You would have thought that the NUJ might want to put other issues to the fore before the motion inevitably comes up at the next annual delegates meeting.

Jeremy Dear, the general secretary of the NUJ, has been quoted in an e-mail as saying the following:

"The call for the boycott in part related it to the kidnap of Alan Johnston. The Palestinian journalists union has given huge support to the campaign for his release - holding demonstrations and strikes against the Palestinian authority to demand more action from them. We work closely with the Palestinian union through the International Federation of Journalists and the boycott call was a gesture of support for the Palestinian people - notably those suffering in the siege of Gaza, the community Alan Johnston has been so keen to help through his reporting."

I cannot see the link myself. A Palestinian group kidnaps a BBC reporter, local Palestinian journalists protest and the NUJ to show how much they are concerned boycotts Israel!

Dear also claims that,

"The boycott call has nothing to do with reporting. The NUJ is not telling members how to report Israel."

Well, if you boycott a country's products surely you are making a political statement and directing your members.

When I was growing up the unions were broken, vilified by sections of the media and we have all had less job security since as a result. Why create this PR own goal? Why make yourselves a target? This is the time when we need the NUJ fighting for its members.


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