The debaters were Ran Greenstein, David Hirsh, Joel Fishman and Na’eem Jenah.
Na’eem Jeenah was yesterdy detained at Ben Gurion airport in Israel, not allowed into the country by Israeli authorities, and deported to Turkey. For more on this, see the report on the Voice of the Cape website. The Israelis said he constituted a security threat.
During the debate at UJ, Jeenah claimed that the Israeli state had a policy of shooting Palestinian school children. The issue of slippage was raised with Jeenah. It was said that the discourse tends to shift from Israel not being careful enough to avoid collaterol damage, to Israel targeting children, to Israel as the child-killing state. “This is not the first time Jews have been accused of murdering children,” Hirsh said to him. Jeemah didn’t take this idea seriously, but responded simply by saying that it was outrageous that he was bieng accused of being antisemitic.
Jeemah also remembered nostalgically how he used to sing “beat up the whites” in the times of apartheid. Hirsh said that in this debate, “beat up the Jews” resonated quite differently from “beat up the whites”.
Earlier today, Wednesday 18th May, the University of London Union (ULU) voted 10-1 to institute and campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) in support of Palestine. The motion called for “thorough research into ULU investments and contracts” with companies guilty of “violating Palestinian human rights” as set out by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC). Ashok Kumar, Senate member for LSE, speaking in favour of the motion, argued,
“We have precedents for boycotting campaigns at ULU, especially with South Africa and the boycott campaign over Barclays bank, that supported the Apartheid regime. We are now responding to the Palestinian call for civil action in support of their fight against racism.”
The motion also called on other students’ unions to join in the campaign for Palestinian human rights. ULU is the largest students’ union in Europe with over 120,000 members from colleges across London. ULU senate consists of the presidents from the 20 students unions representing every University of London University. James Haywood, President-elect at Goldsmiths Students’ Union, stated,
“We are delighted that this motion has passed, and with such a clear vote as well. We have seen throughout history that boycotts are a crucial nonviolent tactic in achieving freedom, and target institutions, not individuals.”
Sean Rillo Raczka, incoming ULU Vice President,
“I’m delighted that ULU has passed this BDS policy on Israel. We stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people, and as Vice President next year I will ensure that the University of London Union does not give profit to those denying the human rights of the Palestinians”