City University students vote to boycott Israel, in new BDS victory

Hundreds of protesters in support of Palestinians are seen in London (Hasan Esen - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  December 9, 2021

Students at London’s City University have overwhelmingly voted to implement a boycott of Israel and its occupation, signaling another victory for the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

As part of the University’s “Decolonize City” campaign, it is now set to abide by the demands of the BDS movement after the student members’ meeting approved and voted in favour of the policy at the beginning of this month.

In that meeting, a staggering 93 per cent of the attendees voted in favour of the motion, while 6 per cent voted against and 1 per cent abstained. It came after City University’s ‘Friends of Palestine Society’ called on the University and its union to recognize and implement BDS measures to limit the institution’s ties with Israel and its occupation.

In a statement by City’s Friends of Palestine society, it hailed the vote as “a victory for the Palestinian cause and for the BDS movement,” and said that it will be working with the University and its union “to initiate investigations into its involvement with companies complicit in Israel’s illegal actions within international law.”

Once BDS measures are successfully implemented, it stated, it “would mean that City University of London will be recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinians by respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinians as stipulated by the United Nations.”

It urged the Union’s Board of Trustees to approve the motion, however, as that would finalize it and ensure its implementation. “Failing to support this motion, which has been democratically voted for by students, would mean that the Trustees would be failing City students and democracy.”

Launched in 2005, the BDS movement encourages the boycotting of Israeli products from the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank, as well as the boycotting of and divestment from companies which deal with or have contracts with the ongoing occupation.

Struggles for and against the movement have been seen in universities throughout the UK, as well as other Western nations, including the US, and have led to prominent institutions such as the University of Manchester, Columbia University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) passing resolutions and adopting measures in support of BDS.

Despite significant pushback by western European governments and states in the US to crack down on and outlaw the boycotting of the Israeli occupation, victories such as this latest one in City University have seen it gain more traction in recent years.