The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has aligned itself with its Palestinian counterpart – a group that B’nai Brith accuses of supporting terrorism.
In late May, CUPW, which represents some 50,000 postal workers, revealed that it has a “joint project” with the Palestinian Postal Service Workers’ Union (PPSWU) that’s “designed to strengthen the Palestinian postal union and build greater solidarity between our two unions.”
It didn’t say what the project was, but noted that Palestinian postal workers have been “strong allies” of CUPW, and claimed that the PPSWU was the first union in the world to issue a statement of support during CUPW’s last contract negotiation.
The Canadian union also said that Imad Temeiza, president of the PPSWU, had obtained a visa to visit Canada, where he attended several labour-related events and met with pro-Palestinian groups in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa last spring.
In a July 31 statement, B’nai Brith Canada accused the Palestinian postal union of supporting terrorism and “the elimination of Israel.”
The group cited the union’s Facebook page, which “twice glorified Palestinian terrorist Ahmad Nasr Jarrar, hailing him as a ‘hero of my country,’ ” according to B’nai Brith.
A member of Hamas, which is banned in Canada as a terror organization, Jarrar went into hiding after Rabbi Raziel Shevach, 32, was murdered last January outside the West Bank settlement where he lived.
Weeks later, Jarrar, the suspected ringleader of the group that killed Shevach, was shot dead by Israeli forces.
B’nai Brith also noted another recent post on the PPSWU’s Facebook page that called for the release of Fuad Shubaki, who was convicted in 2009 of attempting to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip for use by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, which is also a designated terrorist entity in Canada.
All the posts on the PPSWU’s Facebook page are in Arabic, which B’nai Brith translated into English.
Alon Katzakevich, an Israeli-born member of CUPW who lives in Winnipeg, told The CJN that upon discovering his union’s ties to this and other Palestinian causes, he was “shocked and surprised – but a negative surprise.”
He encountered “a total ignorance of Israel” and began writing and calling union representatives, including the president. “I’m still waiting for their response,” he said.
Be my guest to explain to my kids why they grew up without a grandmother who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
– Alon Katzakevich
Katzakevich, who came to Canada three years ago, has special reason to be upset: his mother-in-law was murdered in the 1997 suicide bombing at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. She was one of 16 people who were killed and 178 who were injured.
“Be my guest to explain to my kids why they grew up without a grandmother who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists,” he told B’nai Brith.
Katzakevich began working at Canada Post in May 2017 and was planning to quit before this episode.
“Rather than using the union movement to build peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the CUPW leadership has aligned itself with the path of violence and extremism,” said Michael Mostyn, CEO of B’nai Brith Canada. “This is both deeply immoral and obviously not in the best interests of Canadian postal workers.”
In the same statement in late May, CUPW noted the rioting at the Israel-Gaza border that left some 135 Palestinians dead and accused Canada of being “complicit in these crimes, supplying Israel with weaponry used to kill civilians and to maintain an illegal occupation of Palestine.”
CUPW endorsed the BDS campaign against Israel in 2008.
It did not return The CJN’s messages seeking comment.