woensdag 3 juni 2015

Britain's National Union of Students votes to boycott Israel

A BDS Israel protest in London. Photo: Wiki Commons.

The leadership of Britain’s National Union of Students voted on Tuesday to boycott Israel and affiliate itself with the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement. The motion, which passed 19-14 in the union’s National Executive Council,was not new; it affirmed a similar vote taken last August during the Gaza conflict,  Haaretz reports.
The vote, put forward by the student union at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, was criticized by the Union of Jewish Students, but also by leading NUS members, including its vice-president, Joe Vinson, who tweeted after the vote that “Anti-Semitism is like a virus, it mutates and infects everything it touches. It’s mutated into BDS and NUS is infected.”
Maggie Suissa, campaigns director for the Union of Jewish Students, told Haaretz that “the motion isn’t new and it is largely symbolic since it doesn’t mandate the student unions at different universities to follow it. However it is bad news for Jewish students because it means that at many universities now, we will have to campaign and fight boycott measures and there will be moves to ban JSocs (Jewish Societies) from taking part in student events.”
 Student unions at a number of universities in Britain voted to ban their local Jewish Society because of their Israel-related activities, including Cardiff University last August and Middlesex University in 2012, but these votes were quickly overturned.
Despite the largely symbolic nature of the vote,this will doubtless be hailed as a major victory for the BDS movement, and it has already caused a stir in Israel where the report on the vote opened the main news show on Channel Two. One Jewish student involved in the campaigning before the vote said, “They are making a much bigger fuss of this in Israel than anyone is in Britain.”

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