With a 10 to 1 vote in favour of BDS, the University of London Union Senate just remade history. The ULU was the first student union in the UK to support boycott of white South Africa and the largest student union in Europe has now built on its laurels, being the first to support BDS against apartheid Israel.
Here’s the historic motion:
1) to boycott is to target products, companies and institutions that profit from or are implicated in, the violation of Palestinian rights
2) to divest is to target corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights, as enshrined in the Geneva Convention, and ensure that investments or pension funds are not used to finance such companies
3) to call for sanctions is to ask the global community to recognise Israel’s violations of international law and to act accordingly as they do to other member states of the United Nations
4) that in 2009 the The Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa released a report stating that Israel was practising a form of apartheid in the occupied West Bank, (http://www.hsrc.ac.za/Media_Release-378.phtml)
5) that Israel continues to build a 8 metre high “annexation” wall on Palestinian land inside the post-1967 occupied West Bank, contravening the July 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice (the highest legal body in the world, whose statutes all UN members are party to) and causing the forcible separation of Palestinian communities from one another and the annexation of additional Palestinian land.
6) that within the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel continues a policy of settlement expansion in direct violation of Article 49, paragraph 6 of the 4th Geneva Convention which declares “an occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into territories it occupies.” 6) that the Gaza Strip continues to face a suffocating siege from land, sea and air by Israel, and continues to suffer military incursions into the territory by the Israeli army
7) that Palestinians living in Israel continue to suffer third-class citizenship and are heavily discriminated against from healthcare, education, landownership and in many cases having ‘unrecognised’ villages completely demolished
8) that there continues to be millions of Palestinian refugees throughout the world who are racially discriminated against by not being allowed to return to their homes in Israel and the Occupied Territories, which is legally recognised under international law, including United Nations resolution 194.
9) that ULU and the NUS nationally adopted the call for BDS in the 1980s when it was called for by South Africans fighting racism and apartheid
10) that Ronnie Kasrils, the Jewish South African Minister of Intelligence said “The boycotts and sanctions ultimately helped liberate both blacks and whites in South Africa. Palestinians and Israelis will similarly benefit from this non-violent campaign that Palestinians are calling for.”
11) that the call for BDS has come from over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations, including student organisations, as well as organisations within Israel and across the global; and that the campaign is founded on the basis of anti-racism and human rights for all
1) that unions should work to support the Palestinian people’s human rights and uphold international law
2) that BDS is an effective tactic, which educates society about these issues, economically pressures companies/institutions to change their practices and politically pressures the global community
3) that unions have a moral responsibility to heed the call of oppressed peoples, like we did so proudly during the BDS campaign to end South African apartheid
4) that the BDS movement has united human rights campaigners from different nationalities, races, religions and creeds across the world
Passed 10-1 in ULU – largest union in Europe, 20 universities and 130,000 students.
(1) Institute thorough research into ULU contacts with investments and companies,including subcontractors, that may be implicated in violating Palestinian human rights as stated by the BDS movement
(2) Pressure University of London universities and affiliate students’ unions to divest from Israel and from companies directly or indirectly supporting the Israeli occupation and apartheid policies;
(3) Promote students’ union resolutions condemning Israeli violations of international law and human rights and endorsing BDS in any form;
(4) Actively support and work with Palestine solidarity organisations such as the BDS Movement, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, British Committee for Palestinian Universities , Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
(5) Affiliate ULU to the Palestine BDS National Committee and engage in education campaigns to publicize the injustice of Israel’s discriminatory policies against the Palestinians and its illegal occupation
Meanwhile, the National Union of Students in the UK has voted to support the principles of BDS.
1. To demand freedom for Palestine, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank and the right to return for all refugees.
2. To encourage unions to twin with universities in Palestine and to send an NUS delegation on future convoys to the Gaza strip.
3. To strongly condemn Israel’s siege on Gaza and actively campaign for it to be lifted in accordance with international law.
4. To support the Palestinians’ right to education by building links with students at the Islamic University of Gaza and other educational institutions in Gaza.
In other dispatches, female human rights lawyer Meissa Irshaid, from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, was assaulted and arrested by Israeli goons whilst advocating for protesters who had already been arrested. Such is Israel’s contempt for the rule of law.
Joseph Weitz, director of the JNF since the 1920s, said in 1940 with malice aforethought: ‘There is no way beside transferring the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries’. This vile zionist ethnic cleansing must end.
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