19-12 vote to pass motion and join BDS Movement; UK Foreign Ministry dismisses decision
The United Kingdom’s National Union of Students, known as the NSU, voted in majority to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against the State of Israel, passing a motion through the movement’s National Executive Council.
The motion accuses the IDF of “directly attacking the right to education in Gaza” claiming the IDF’s intentional “targeting” of “UN schools and the Islamic University of Gaza were amongst the infrastructure Israel targeted during its assault on Gaza.” It additionally claims that Israel’s “siege” on the Gaza Strip “traps 1.7m people in a tiny strip of land with severely limited access to basic supplies such as food, safe water and medicine.”
The BDS movement, which was created in June 2005 by Palestinian NGO’s and growing in support mainly through out Europe and North America, specifically in universities and university faculty, is committed to end the “Israeli occupation” via use of sanctions and boycotts on Israeli products, services and persons of significance, connected to or who the support the State of Israel.
The BDS movement calls for the “Law of Return”, in which Jews anywhere worldwide can immigrate to the State of Israel by law, be offered and given to Palestinian refugees.
It additionally supports Palestinian efforts to bypass peace talks and gain recognition as a state internationally, such as the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to gain state recognition from the Untied Nation’s Security Council, as well as the PA’s signing of the Roman Statute and officially joining the International Criminal Court in the Hague as the PA continues its accusations against the State of Israel of human rights violations during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.
The movement refers to Israel as an apartheid state, and any and all Israeli citizens living in the West Bank by the 1967 borders are illegal settlers. The movement’s main economic strategies have been to gradually advocate and pass for boycott or labeling of Israeli products from the West Bank, several cases of goods in Europe labeled or boycotted as “from occupied territories of Palestine”.
It sees the IDF not as a defensive army, but an army used to occupy and maintain “Israeli control” of the region.
While the UK’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the proposed Canterbury Christ Church Students’ Union’s “Motion 518- Justice in Palestine” proposed and coted in favor to join the BDS Movement “19-3 with 3 abstaining) stating that the decision is “without any real implications made by a body which has already expressed anti-Israel opinions in the past” adding that “Instead of expressing hatred towards Israel, the British students should invest some time in history lessons and realize the distance between verbal hatred and prejudice to heinous crimes is not that big.”
The UJS (Britain’s Union of Jewish Students) responded to movement stating officially that, “It is disturbing that supposed representatives of students throughout the UK have joined a movement that at the core is not progressive or constructive in supporting two states for two peoples… Israeli individuals and academics have been blocked from delivering lectures on nothing to do with Israel or Palestine. Just look at Durban University of Technology, where they called for the expulsion of Jewish students ‘especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle.'”