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September 02, 1988 - Image 1

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-09-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE

THIS ISSUE 6W

SERVING DETROIT'S JEWISH COMMUNITY

SEPTEMBER 2, 1988 / 20 ELUL 5748

Arab Labor Charges Called Political

Allegations in a petition by the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee
may threaten Israel's favorable trade status with the United States

ELIZABETH KAPLAN

Staff Writer

The AFL-CIO and Jewish orga-
nizations nationwide joined in protest
against charges late last week that
Israel is violating the rights of
Palestinian workers in Gaza, the West
Bank and Israel.
The charges were presented in a
petition to the Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative in Washington, D.C.,
by the American-Arab Anti-
Discrimination Committee (AAADC).
If the claims are accepted as valid,
Israel's favorable trade status with
the United States could be in
jeopardy.
Under the General Systems of
Preferences, Israel and other nations

are permitted to import duty-free a
number of specified goods into the
United States. A little more than 18
percent of Israel's imports are now
entering the United States duty-free,
saving the country about $24 million
last year alone.
The Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative is expected to conduct
a public hearing on the matter the
first week of October, with a decision
due in April. Representatives of the
Jewish Labor Committee, and
possibly other groups, will testify in
support of Israel at the hearing.
In its petition, the AAADC
charged that Israel is denying Palesti-
nians the right to freely associate
with the trade union of their choice
and the right to collectively bargain

on issues including minimum wage,
work hours and safety concerns. It
also alleges that Israel harasses Arab
trade union leaders, interferes with
union elections and quashes trade
unions in the West Bank and Gaza.
Seven registered unions operate
within the Gaza Strip and 31 in the
West Bank.
After writing the petition, the
AAADC turned to the AFL-CIO for
support.
Instead, AFL-CIO International
Affairs Department Director Tom
Kahn responded by praising, in a four-
page letter to AAADC President Ab-
deen Jabara, Israel's treatment of
trade unionists.
Kahn said in his letter that
"Israel has the freest and most

.c - 7017:4;v1P-1

dynamic trade union movement in
the Middle East." He also said that,
contrary to information cited in the
AAADC petition, 15 new trade
unions registered in the West Bank
after 1967, when Israel gained control
over the area.
But Gary Holmes, a spokesman
for the Office of the U.S. Trade
Representative, said charges contain-
ed in the AAADC letter are not un-
subtantiated. He said officials at the
Labor Department and the State
Department assisted in determining
that the AAADC claims against
Israel warranted further study.
"Of course the State Department
was involved in the very beginning,"
he said. He said the possibility of
Continued on Page 22

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What they believe
and how they differ
among themselves
(sometimes violently)

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