February 15, 2017 | The Jerusalem Post

Anti-Israel BDS Motions Stopped at UK/Northern Ireland Universities

The City University in London and Ulster University in Northern Ireland rejected in February motions to boycott the Jewish state.

A spokesman for the City University sent The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday a student union statement overriding a motion supporting the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

In November, the student union passed a pro-BDS motion. Yusuf Ahmad, the chair of the Board of Trustees for the Student Union, wrote, “The Union is happy to support all students in drafting motions submitted to a General Meeting, Referendum or Student Council to try and avoid cases where the Union Board of Trustees would need to override a decision. “ 

He added, “The Union is a registered charity and is required to remain compliant with all relevant legislation. Upon receiving legal advice the Union Board of Trustees decided that the existing wording of the motion was not compliant with legislation and therefore it could not remain a policy of the Union. The Board of Trustees took no view on the merits of the motion's subject.”

Michali Belovski, the head of a Jewish City student group at the City University, told the London-based Jewish Chronicle, she was “proud that Jewish students and our allies came together to vote against the motion, ensuring by their sheer number that the vote did not go ahead.

“We also very much appreciate certain other non-Jewish students at City who have showed their support in various ways, including taking time out of their busy schedules to vote and spend time understanding our perspective.” 

The pro-BDS motion was proposed by Tasnima Uddin and Sharmin Siddiqa in November.The proposal said the student union should raise awareness about BDS on campus.

According to the motion, “Israel is occupying and colonizing Palestine and, discriminating against Palestinian citizens and denying Palestine refugees the right to return to their home.”

The City University pro- BDS motion was blocked because of an apparent violation of anti-discrimination laws.

The United Kingdom is ground-zero for the academic BDS movement in Europe. Student union groups at the University of Vienna and Leipzig University in Germany passed resolutions in 2016 opposing BDS and termed the movement anti-Semitic.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that a BDS motion at the Ulster University in Northern Ireland was defeated. A Post query to the Ulster University was not immediately returned.

Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal