UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Equity accused of violating its own rules with Pro-Palestinian Rhetoric

The actors’ union Equity has been accused of violating its own rules, by its pro-Palestinian rhetoric.

UK Lawyers for Israel has written to Paul Fleming, Equity’s general secretary, pointing out that its pro-Palestinian stance is contrary to Equity’s own rules. UKLFI has requested that the Union avoid future one-sided interventions in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Equity has recently encouraged its members to support “Palestinian Comrades” and join anti-Israel marches.  This action has resulted in several Jewish members of equity expressing concern, or resigning from the union. It has also led to an open letter from several hundred theatre goers regarding the impact of Equity’s conduct on Jewish performers.

UKLFI has been contacted over the last few months by members of Equity who have been very concerned about political activities of the Union relating to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, which have sided with the Palestinians and against Israelis, and have been accompanied by inflammatory rhetoric.

UKLFI’s letter draws attention to the following clauses in Equity’s rules:

  • Clause 3.1.1 provides that the Union’s Objects are “As a trade union that is independent of any political party or religious faith”.

  • Clause states that an Object of the Union is “to oppose actively all forms of bullying and unlawful victimisation, harassment and discrimination on the grounds prohibited under equality law” (which include ethnicity and religion).

  • Clause 3.2.16 adds that “the Council shall at no time affiliate the Union, its Branches or Committees to any political party or religious faith, or to any organisation, society or association which is itself affiliated to any political party or religious faith”.

  • Clause 3.2.17 acknowledges “the right of individual members to hold and express their personal political and other beliefs both in their private and professional capacities”

Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UKLFI commented:

“There is a lot to be said on both sides of the conflict and the Union no doubt has some members who are sympathetic to the Palestinian side, and others to the Israeli side. Feelings are so strong on these issues that political activity and rhetoric can readily encourage bullying, victimisation and harassment of those considered to be on the “wrong” side.    These factors make it highly undesirable for the Union to take sides on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which is irrelevant to the Union’s primary objects of promoting performance arts and the economic, social and legal interests of its members in their professional capacity.”