27 March 2024

Sharon Graham’s Hypocrisy Over Gaza Beggars Belief

Having Refused to Take Part in the National  Palestine Demonstrations Against Genocide Graham Writes to the Palestinian Trade Unions after Israel Bombed Their Offices Boasting About Her Support

Protest Outside Unite HQ

Unite for Palestine Activist Meeting

Wednesday March 27 2024 6.30 p.m.

Please register here


For once I was lost for words. Never was the saying that Hypocrisy is the Tribute that Vice Pays to Virtue truer. It takes a special kind of gall to have done absolutely nothing in support of the Palestinians as they are bombed and ethnically cleansed in Gaza, to have held hands with the far-right Campaign Against Antisemitism as she banned Jeremy Corbyn – The Big Lie from Unite premises and then to write to the General Secretary of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions boasting of Unite’s record.

On March 7, as part of its ‘war against Hamas’ Israel bombed the headquarters of the PGFTU in Gaza City. The Federation’s five-story building had attached to it several other facilities providing services to the Palestinians, including a kindergarten that served 380 children, as well as a large automatic bakery.

The PGFTU Offices in Gaza After Israel Bombed Them

In a statement, signed by Basheer Al-Sisi, a member of their General Secretariat, he spoke of how the Federation has “lost thousands of members, union offices, facilities, and other institutions” as a result of the “wholesale slaughter and forced dislocation—ethnic cleansing” committed against the Palestinian people in the last six months.

Palestinian workers from Gaza who were in Israel at the time of October 7 were rounded up, imprisoned and tortured. A number of them died yet Graham kept her silence throughout.

The PGFTU is controlled by Fatah, not Hamas, but that did not stop Israel bombing its offices. The ‘war against Hamas’ is a fiction meant only for stupid westerners and the BBC/Sky.

It is of course welcome that Graham has, at last, written expressing her solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. But it is long overdue. It is also welcome that she has, for the first time, condemned Israel’s ‘war crimes’ but we will never forget that this only came nearly 6 months after Israel’s attack and with deaths and injuries over 100,000.

Graham even boasted that Unite has donated £50,000 to Medicins Sans Frontiere, which isn’t even a Palestinian organisation when Unite could have donated a much larger sum to Medical Aid for Palestinians, which is permanently on the ground in Gaza, as a host of Unite branches have done.

Demonstration Outside Unite Exec Meeting by Unite Members, March 11

£50,000 is chicken feed. It is reported that Graham and Unite’s legal bill for defending itself in a labour court in Dublin, against its former Regional Organiser Brendan Ogle is over £1m (1.35m Euros) and that is before Graham starts defending herself against a libel action by Ogle which no doubt Unite will pay for.

There have been regular demonstrations in London against genocide in Gaza ever since October 7. Not only has Sharon Graham refused to attend or speak but she has forbidden Unite’s national banner being taken on the march.

Will Sharon Graham be attending the Demonstration next Saturday 30 March. I won’t be holding my breath. Graham even tried to prevent Peter Kavanagh, Regional Organiser for the London & Eastern Region speaking at the demonstration on January 13th and threatened him with loss of a pension bonus if he did.

This is in addition to suspending Simon Dubbins, a Unite official who organised a meeting on Palestine at the Labour Party Conference in defiance of her wishes.

Graham also didn’t mention that Unite members had staged a demonstration/lobby outside Unite headquarters on March 11th at the beginning of the Executive Meeting in protest at Unite’s complete inactivity on Palestine.

Suffice to say that Graham also failed to mention that she and her supporters had opposed any discussion of Palestine at the meeting and in response to those who did wish to discuss it told them that ‘Palestine is not a service that Unite offers to its members.’

Perhaps the height of Graham’s hypocrisy was her boast that ‘I am sure you are aware that Unite has a longstanding policy in support for the Palestinian people.’ How would the PGFTU be aware when she has refused to put the policy on Unite’s website. Is Shaher Saed, the General Secretary of the PGFTU expected to be telepathic?

Tonight we will be holding a meeting of Unite activists who do want Unite to start giving real solidarity to the Palestinians – this includes

1.           Unite being present on all future national demonstrations

2.           Instructing dockers and Unite workers to boycott all arm shipments to Israel and all trade with Israel as and until its genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gaza stops.

3.           To fund members wanting to attend the demonstrations and to publicising the demonstrations on the website and internally.

4.           Unite policy on Palestine to be displayed on Unite’s website

5.           That Unite donate £250,000 to Medical Aid for the Palestinians

6.           That an Emergency Executive Committee Meeting be called in order to discuss what Unite can now do on Palestine.

7.           That Unite let Keir Starmer and the Labour Party know that until they reverse their position of support for Israel’s genocide they won’t get another farthing from Unite.

Let us hope that Sharon Graham’s letter to the PGFTU is a sign that she has at last recognised that her previous stance of support for Israel’s genocide is unacceptable and that the Union must revert to its traditional position of support for the oppressed not the oppressor. I fear though that Graham’s letter is about as far as she intends to go and that these are mere empty words.

Tony Greenstein


  1. Thanks Tony, this is an important topic. Regarding that 7th demand - would it not be even better if they followed in the footsteps of the Bakers Union and just completely disaffiliated from labour ?

    What should Unite members do if these demands aren't met ?

    1. Unionists need to be thinking about a fresh, clean, honest, technologically up-to-date political representation of the working class:

  2. I agree but I'm not sure we should be discussing this tonite. Let's keep it focused. But yes we must build a campaign for disaffiliation.

  3. Great article as usual Tony. Sharon Graham doesn't act alone, she has supporters amongst the National Executive who are skulking behind the General Secretary. These National Executive members voted down motions expressing fraternity with Palestinians exposed to genocide. They must be identified and made known to the membership. If branches have lost faith in the GS to represent the views of the membership then there is an imperative that branches hold a vote of confidence in the GS. If the GD loses such a vote I imagine there could well be a domino effect across union branches.

  4. Unite member here. Is it worth members like me leaving the union ?
    I don't want my money to be going into something that doesn't represent my interests.


    1. no I would strongly urge members to stay and fight not to abandon Unite to this disgusting British nationalist

    2. OK. What can we do to fight against this ? Also, with local and general elections this year, what needs to be a good strategy ?


  5. Thank you Tony Greenstein for your efforts to bring this information into the public domain. With people like Sharon Graham and Keir Starmer "representing working people", pouring their filth into the already oceanic deceit coming from the government and media this sort of revelation and exposure is a critical service.
    I can't attend this evening but I will be there in spirit and I wish to have my extreme disgust of Sharon Graham and her supporters on the record.

  6. I agree 100% including regretfully not having been able to attend the event this evening. Many thanks Tony for all your work galvanising on behalf of those of us opposed to hypocrisy, war and genocide.

  7. I dumped Unite last year after the infamous shag of the flag-shagger. (Squeeth). I work in a shop now but USDAW looks just as bad.


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