November 02, 2009

Landmark victory for BDS at Sussex Uni

BDS is on a roll now. Remember the wave of student occupations over the Israeli assault on Gaza late last year? There was the recent TUC vote for a boycott of Israel. There have been many votes in favour of BDS at various UK trade unions. Now students at Sussex University have voted for a boycott of Israeli goods.

I first heard about the vote taking place from someone I know at the university. I didn't think too much of it because there seems to be a lot of it about these days. Then the vote came out in favour of BDS and I was pleased but, as with the TUC decision, it didn't strike me as momentous. Well it turns out that, as with the TUC decision, it was unprecedented. See this:
Following a landmark referendum, students at Sussex University have voted to boycott Israeli goods. The decision will become part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign, which calls upon Israel to respect international law and end the occupation of Palestine. The referendum result mandates the Students’ Union to remove all Israeli produce from its stores, and review its sources for food outlets. This makes Sussex Students’ Union the first in the UK to implement a full boycott of Israeli goods. The vote was one of the largest and closest contested in the Union’s history, with 562 votes for and 450 against the boycott.

The referendum received messages of support and thanks from Jewish and Israeli academics and non-governmental organisations that oppose Israel’s policy of occupation in Palestine. Author and scholar Norman G. Finkelstein described the referendum result as ‘a victory, not for Palestinians but for truth and justice’. He continued by saying, ‘Let us hope the boycott transmits the message to Israel that it should end the occupation, so that Palestinians can lead a decent life and amicable relations can be restored between Israelis and other peoples.‘
As I said, BDS is on the move now, like an idea whose time has come.

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