Report on the New York Visit by Representatives from the PGFTU

Report on the New York Visit by Representatives from the PGFTU

Last Friday and Saturday, New York City hosted an historic visit from two Palestinian activists: Mohammed Saleh Aruri from the Executive Council of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Ramallah, and Hekmat Al-Serraj, a grassroots activist from Gaza City. Ms. Al-Serraj has worked with the Women’s Affairs department of the PGFTU, as well as other organizations.

New York was one of the last stops in an extremely busy nationwide tour that included visits to Seattle, Olympia, Portland, San Francisco and the Bay Area, Texas, New Orleans, North and South Carolina, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Albany, Amherst, and Washington, DC.

The New York visit was coordinated by members of many groups, with vital organizing done by – among others – New York City Labor Against the War, Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right of Return Coalition, Jews Against the Occupation, and Direct Action for Justice in Palestine.

In their two days in NYC, the PGFTU delegates had meetings with representatives of the Jewish Labor Committee, from Al-Awda, and from Colombian trade unions. They spoke at the Interchurch Center in Morningside Heights, at the uptown anti-war march, at a union-sponsored event at AFSCME DC1707 (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 1707) and at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. They raised almost $2,000 for projects in the West Bank and Gaza, including democratization, rebuilding, and women’s rights projects.

During their visit they were interviewed by press from WBAI (Building Bridges and Wake Up Call), City Limits, and Labor Notes.

Labor activists and Palestine solidarity activists heard first-hand reports about the current situation in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, and about worker’s rights, women’s issues and work with children. New relationships were built and ideas for future activities were planned. In addition, audiences saw videos by filmmaking collective Big Noise Tactical and by Jackie Salloum, and heard activist Emily Winkelstein’s eyewitness report from October’s Olive Harvest.

Friday night’s Event was hosted Michael Letwin of New York City Labor Against the War, and Saturday night’s event was hosted by Reem from Al-Awda.

Thank you all for working on this. *Please* pass on thanks to all those others who helped.

Solidarity,

Siobhan and Jordan

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