Anti-Government Unrest in the Middle East Brings Hope for Workers Rights

Mar 08, 2011, 10:33 ET from World Jewish Congress

Israel's Labor Federation Chief Meets with American Union Leaders

NEW YORK, March 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The World Jewish Congress (WJC), in association with the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), is hosting a series of gatherings that has brought together Ofer Eini, Chairman of the Histadrut (Israel's Labor Federation) and American union leaders in order to reaffirm Israel's strong and longstanding relationship with the American Labor movement and to discuss the possibility of advancing workers' rights in the Middle East that could emerge from the recent wave of anti-government protests across the region.

Eini's visit underlines the close relationship between the Histadrut and the American Labor movement and comes at a time when civil society groups in other parts of the world are working to delegitimize Israel through boycotts and divestment campaigns. "We are proud to spearhead this effort together with the JLC. Israel is the only free and democratic state that protects the rights of its workers in the Middle East. Helping affirm the strong relationship between the Histadrut and U.S. labor and civil society groups while combating the growing assault against Israel via boycotts, divestment and sanctions in other parts of the world is a top priority for the WJC and a vital interest to the Jewish people," said Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress.

During meetings in New York, Eini underscored the progressive measures that the Histadrut has taken to position Israel as one of the fastest growing Western economies in the world, while protecting the rights of its workers. "The anti-government protests we are seeing across the Middle East bring hope to those who wish to advance peace in the region through economic cooperation, whose foundation needs to be embedded in the protection of workers' rights," said Ofer Eini, Chairman of the Histadrut. Eini cited his cooperation and assistance with the Palestinian Labor Movement as one of the bright spots in Israeli-Palestinian relations that proves that this kind of cooperation on a larger scale can be a success in the region.

Eini's meetings with labor and community leaders in New York and Washington D.C. during his three day visit include a session with Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO and will be capped off with a luncheon hosted by the World Jewish Congress and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on March 9th in the afternoon. The luncheon will be open to select members of the media.

About the WJC: The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 92 countries around the world. The WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

About the Jewish Labor Committee: The Jewish Labor Committee enables the Jewish community and the trade union movement to work together on important issues of shared interest and concern, in pursuit of our common commitment to economic and social justice.

SOURCE World Jewish Congress