Teamsters Join Forces With Israel-Hating Labor Union That Backs ‘Resistance’ Against Jewish State

Joe Biden meets with Christian Smalls (C), other labor leaders (Twitter)
June 5, 2024

In April, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ Chicago chapter hosted a rally where activists chanted "Death to America" to protest the United States’ handling of the Israel-Hamas war. Now, the Teamsters have joined forces with a controversial labor union that has endorsed Palestinian "resistance" against Israel and refers to Zionism as "inherently evil."

The Teamsters board of directors voted unanimously on Tuesday to accept the Amazon Labor Union as a formal affiliate, the former union announced. The Amazon union garnered widespread praise after organizing a warehouse in Staten Island in 2022, but has since been marred by financial struggles, mismanagement, and failed efforts to organize two other Amazon warehouses. Amazon union founder Christian Smalls, who has been at the center of the labor group’s infighting, called the Teamsters partnership a "historical day for labor in America" that will allow both to "take on Amazon together."

The sentiment was echoed by Teamsters president Sean O’Brien, best known for being challenged to a fight by Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year Markwayne Mullin (R., Okla.) during a Senate hearing last year.

The alliance raises questions for the Teamsters, which represents 1.3 million workers in the delivery and transportation industries. The Teamsters union has largely avoided weighing in on the Israel-Hamas war, in contrast to counterparts like the United Auto Workers, which has called for an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza.

Amazon Labor Union, along with Smalls, has defended the Hamas attack, accused Israel of waging genocide in Gaza, and referred to Zionism as "inherently violent." After Hamas’s October 7 attack, Smalls tweeted "from the river to the Sea," a rallying cry for the destruction of the Jewish state. And Smalls, who once took a makeshift guillotine to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s home, wrote "it’s Viva Palestine all day and all night just like it’s Viva Cuba!"

In December, the union said Palestinians have an "inalienable right to … resistance" against Israel. It called on Amazon to end a cloud computing partnership with the Israeli government, and proposed training sessions for Amazon union members to combat the "lies and disinformation" of "the Zionist regime and its imperialist backers."

Amazon Labor Union attorney Jeanne Mirer leads a left-wing group that has called for "armed struggle" against Israel over the "unlawful occupation" of Palestinians. The group, the National Lawyers Guild International Committee, urged the United States to remove terrorist designations for Hamas and other groups, claiming they are "engaged in exercising their fundamental and protected right to self-defense."

The Amazon Labor Union paid Mirer’s law firm $150,000 last year, according to the union’s financial disclosure. Another organization led by Mirer, the International Commission for Labor Rights, donated $425,000 to the union, the largest contribution to the union last year.

The Teamsters vote comes as political observers keep a close eye on the union’s endorsement for the 2024 presidential race. While the union has historically backed Democrats—and endorsed Joe Biden in 2020—it recently hosted a forum for former president Donald Trump. The Teamsters, which has said it will issue an endorsement later in the summer, donated $35,000 to the Republican National Committee earlier this year, its first contribution to Republicans since 2004.

The Teamsters did not respond to a request for comment.