University of London Union (ULU) supports BDS against Israel

Press release from ULU:

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”

4 Responses to “University of London Union (ULU) supports BDS against Israel”

  1. Green Gordon Says:

    It’s astounding how self-assured some people are. I’d be interested to hear the arguments against that were heard in the debate.

    The one saving grace, may be the line “violating Palestinian human rights”. It’s unclear how this would be determined, and whether it means, say companies involved in the arms trade, companies operating in settlements, or companies that are Israeli-owned.

    I think there is some likelihood that this motion will result in very little being changed.

    • Brian Robinson Says:

      From the CAAT website

      ‘The UK government claims it has a “responsible” attitude to arms sales. Yet it spends public money on persuading some of the world’s worst human rights abusers and most unstable regimes to buy weapons. This is NOT OK

      ‘While UK weapons were being used against civilians in Libya, a government department and David Cameron were promoting weapons sales in the Middle East. This is NOT OK.

      ‘In September 2011, the government will help organise a massive arms fair, DSEi, in London. Thousands of arms sellers and buyers from across the globe will gather to deal in death. Clarion Events, the private company that owns the arms fair, says that the arms fair is supported by the government, so it must be OK. … ‘

      So many countries to boycott (starting with the UK), so little time …

  2. modernityblog Says:

    I have always thought that the selective indignation found amongst the English middle-classes to be a form of petulance, and this motion indicates not much has changed.

    There is no mention of the other 22 countries in the region composed of dictators, despots and monarchies. Nor does the motion even touch upon the murder of peaceful protesters in Syria, Tunisia, Yemen or Bahrain.

    Still less does it mention Saudi imperialism, intervening in a neighbouring country’s quest for a democracy and putting it down.

    It is, as if, to the students at ULU that the Arab Spring never occurred.

    It is, as if, to the students at ULU that repression and murder in other Middle Eastern countries is unimportant.

    It is, as if, to the students debating this motion that the people of other Middle Eastern countries are unimportant.

    At this particular time, this motion is telling of an old phenomena, selective indignation, and should be treated as such.

  3. conchovor Says:

    The NUS is demanding BDS until complete ROR:

    “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.”

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