Labor Party Opposes Israeli Attack on Gaza

British Labour Party Leader: ‘We Oppose The Israeli Incursion Into Gaza’

Posted: 07/21/2014 5:24 pm EDT Updated: 8 minutes ago
ED MILIBAND
 WASHINGTON — The British Labour Party opposes Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza, the party’s leader Ed Miliband told The Huffington Post on Monday.

Miliband met with President Barack Obama and National Security Adviser Susan Rice at the White House Monday afternoon, and said that Gaza was among the issues discussed.

“We oppose the Israeli incursion into Gaza,” Miliband said.

Polls show that Miliband is a strong candidate to become British prime minister in next year’s general election in May, as his party is currently ahead in the parliamentary race.

Miliband said the incursion into Gaza is likely to help Hamas’ recruiting efforts, and undermines Israel in the eyes of the international community. “I don’t think it will help win Israel friends,” he said. “I don’t think this will make the situation better. I fear it will make it worse.”

Over the weekend, Miliband criticized the loss of innocent lives resulting from the Israeli invasion. “As a party we oppose the further escalation of violence we have seen with Israel’s invasion of Gaza,” he said. “I defend Israel’s right to defend itself against rocket attacks. But I cannot explain, justify or defend the horrifying deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, including children and innocent civilians.”

Miliband said the current violence highlights the dangers inherent in a broken peace process.

He said the violence was partially the result of the collapse of peace talks. “What this horrendous, terrible last few weeks has shown is the vacuum of not having a process is incredibly dangerous,” he said. “That vacuum means any restraint breaks down. And so you’ve got to restart a [peace] process.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently told Israeli reporters that there “cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan,” which observers took to mean he rejected the idea of a sovereign Palestinian state, and therefore the two-state solution.

Asked about the remarks, Miliband said it is useful to highlight Netanyahu’s past public support of a two-state solution, referencing a landmark speech he delivered in 2009. . “I read his public statements about the two-state solution as important. He said he’s in favor of a two-state solution,” Miliband said. I genuinely believe there is not another possibility.”

The continuing growth of Israeli settlements, he said, threatens that process. “I am concerned that the more settlements there are the more the growth of settlements can become a problem in relation to” the peace process, he said.

A senior Israeli official, who asked to speak on background, said that Netanyahu’s comments had been over-interpreted and needed to be understood in the context of the current conflict, and that he may soften his position after the operation ends. But he stood by Netanyahu’s assertion that Israel would only agree to a Palestinian state with significant security restrictions, referencing the long troop presences in South Korea, Japan and Germany.

This article has been updated to include Miliband’s reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comments on a two-state solution.

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Progressive Dem Rep. Ellison: Make Union Organizing a Civil Right

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., speaks at a news conference, Dec. 20, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., speaks at a news conference, Dec. 20, 2012, in Washington, D.C.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty

Rep. Keith Ellison wants to make union organizing a civil right

07/19/14 03:27 PM

DETROIT – Minnesota Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison plans to unveil legislation that would make unionization into a legally protected civil right, the congressman said on Saturday.

The bill, which he plans to formally introduce on July 30, would make it easier for workers to take legal action against companies that violate their right to organize.

It is already illegal to fire workers in retaliation for union activities, but enforcing workers’ right to organize can be a tricky process under current law. Currently, wrongfully terminated employees must file an unfair labor practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which will then determine whether to represent the worker in a legal fight against the employer.

But workers are not able to directly sue their employers for anti-union retaliation, and the process of bringing forward a successful unfair labor practice claim can take years.

Ellison’s legislation would maintain the unfair labor practice system, but also allow workers to individually sue their employers over allegations of illegal retaliation.

“If it’s a civil rights action, it’s vindicating your personal right, first of all to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression,” Ellison told msnbc Saturday at the Netroots Nation conference here. “And it’s your individual right to say what you want. Whether or not there’s ever even a vote, you shouldn’t be fired for expressing an intent to support union activity.”

Ellison said he got the idea for the bill from a book called Why Labor Organizing Should Be A Civil Right,written by Century Foundation fellows Richard Kahlenberg and Moshe Marvit. Shortly before the book’s release in early 2012, the two authors presented a synopsis of its core argument in an op-ed for The New York Times.

“Our proposal would make disciplining or firing an employee ‘on the basis of seeking union membership’ illegal just as it now is on the basis of race, color, sex, religion and national origin,” they wrote in the op-ed.“It would expand the fundamental right of association encapsulated in the First Amendment and apply it to the private workplace just as the rights of equality articulated in the 14th Amendment have been so applied.”

The full details of Ellison’s bill remain to be seen, but the proposal set forward by Kahlenberg and Marvit would “provide that after 180 days, a plaintiff can move his or her case from [the NLRB] to federal court.” That’s how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission currently operates with regard to accusations of workplace discrimination.

Kahlenberg told msnbc that he was “delighted” by Ellison’s announcement.

“I think it’s a terrific development and Congressman Ellison’s the right person to advance this idea,” Kahlenberg said. “He has a strong record on civil rights and a strong record on labor.”

Ellison had not spoken directly with either Kahlenberg or Marvit about the idea, but Kahlenberg said he had been in contact with Ellison’s staff. According to Ellison, a recent Supreme Court decision has made it more important than ever to strengthen collective bargaining rights.

“In the aftermath of Harris v. Quinn, there’s no doubt that organizing rights are under as much threat as ever,” he said. “And now even from the Supreme Court.”