Thursday, March 31, 2011

Boycotting Apartheid Israel on university campuses--

in (1) Edinburgh, (2) Colorado, (3) Ottawa, and (4) Johannesburg.

"Edinburgh University Students Vote Overwhelmingly for Boycott of Israeli Goods"

"Edinburgh University Students Vote Overwhelmingly for Boycott of Israeli Goods"

A motion to boycott Israel was overwhelmingly passed at the Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) General Meeting on Monday 14th March. In what was described as a ‘landslide’, the motion, ‘Boycott Israeli Goods in EUSA shops and supply chains’ received around 270 votes in favour, with only 20 students voting against...

...After the motion was discussed for around 15 minutes, it was put to a vote and the result was so comprehensive that no count was required. The passing of the motion led to rapturous applause in the George Square Lecture Theatre, where the General Meeting was held, and was by far the most welcomed result of the night.

Similar motions have been passed at SOAS, Manchester, and Sussex Universities in recent years. This latest result seems a clear indication that students in the UK are continuing to play a prominent role in the campaign for a just peace in Palestine.

The motion came in the wake of recent protests against Israeli officials speaking at the University. In February, student activists shut down a talk by Ishmael Khaldi, advisor to Israeli foreign minister Avidgor Lieberman, and, two weeks ago, over 100 students protested against the invitation of Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor to the University.

The proposer of the motion, second year Maths and Music student Daniel Beesley said “I am overwhelmed with the outcome of the General Meeting. It is great to see students of Edinburgh University once again standing up against injustice, just as they did during Apartheid South Africa. EUSA represents that views of students and we are sure they they will take on board what was clearly the opinion of the vast majority who attended the GM, and endorse the boycott.”

The motion’s seconder, Liam O’Hare, a student of International Relations, said: “Israel has occupied, ethnically cleansed and practised apartheid against the Palestinians for 63 years. The BDS movement seeks to force Israel to abide by international law and is gathering huge momentum year on year. I think the General Meeting proved that the student population at Edinburgh University do not want goods from an Apartheid state on campus and, despite the meeting narrowly not being quorate, I fully expect EUSA to act upon this motion.”


"CU grad lobbying university to pull investments from Israel:
"Board of Regents has no plans to take up the issue"

By Brittany Anas, Staff Writer
Daily Camera (University of Colorado at Boulder)

Posted: 03/30/2011 08:13:53 PM MDT

A University of Colorado graduate is lobbying the school to pull its investments from Israel.

Activist Michael Rabb has started a grassroots movement and has submitted a proposed resolution to the Board of Regents, asking CU to examine its investments and endowments and divest from companies that he says support "immoral occupation and apartheid in Palestine."

"Some of these companies provide weapons and covert surveillance supplies that maintain the occupation by force," says the petition he's circulating at CU. "Others take or exploit Palestinian resources, including scarce water and even the land itself."

But Jewish organizations say Rabb's proposal would divide the university. And so far, the regents haven't taken up the matter.

"For us to get involved in the politics of Palestine and Israel isn't practical," said Regent Steve Bosley, R-Broomfield.

In the past, CU has divested from Sudan and South Africa.

CU system spokesman Ken McConnellogue said CU hasn't researched what investments would be affected by the activists' proposed divestment from Israel, but officials believe it's "minimal." The regents have not requested the university to report that information to them.

The proposed resolution Rabb is asking the board to consider says: "The Arabs in Palestine continue to suffer under Israel's illegal and immoral regime of military occupation, colonization and apartheid, and ... the University of Colorado has a proud tradition of non-discrimination and commitment to human rights."

The Jewish Community Relations Council -- an umbrella coalition representing 37 local and national Jewish organizations in Boulder and Denver -- sent a letter to the Board of Regents calling Rabb's resolution outrageous. In their letter, Janet Sherman, director of the group, and Rick Kornfeld, chairman, say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be compared to apartheid and the government-sanctioned racial segregation in South Africa.

"While it is tempting to look exclusively at one side or the other to shoulder the blame, one-sided reactions do not serve to improve complicated circumstances," the letter says. "Instead, they exacerbate them. Therefore, we condemn all calls and campaigns for boycotting, divestment and sanctions of Israeli academic institutions, professors, products and companies that do business with Israel. We believe that any and all of these actions are counterproductive to the goal of peace."

In the 1980s, a student-led push and ultimately a national movement prompted the regents to selectively divest from certain companies doing business in South Africa. By 1988, more than 150 universities had participated in the anti-apartheid divestment campaign.

In 2006, CU regents unanimously agreed to pull investments from Sudan after a student activist raised the issue. At the time, board members said they were concerned that investments could support genocide in Darfur, and CU became among several universities to divest from the civil war-torn region.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Brittany Anas at 303-473-1132 or


Hundreds of Students Demonstrate for Divestment against Apartheid Israel--

March 29, 2011


Carleton University administrators were forced Tuesday to abandon a meeting of the board of governors when some 200 students, yelling, chanting and shouting slogans about democracy, blocked access to the meeting room....

...The students claimed to be protesting the administration’s decision to prevent them from attending the board meeting, and to debate a motion that calls on the university to divest pension funds from companies that do business with Israel. A campus group, Students Against Israeli Apartheid, which was involved in organizing the protest, says the executive committee of Carleton’s board of governors blocked a motion seeking debate on the issue from being added to the meeting agenda, and notified them that only a prearranged group of students would be allowed to attend the public meeting.

The administration has taken the position that its pension fund committee has already reviewed the university investment program. Last fall, Carleton amended the rules governing the plan to state that “environmental, social and governance factors should be considered in investment decision-making.”

SAIA, however, wants Carleton to divest money from companies that deal with Israel, which they claim is violating international law in its relations with the Palestinians. The board’s executive committee turned down the student motion because it felt the pension committee had already addressed the issue.


"UJ severs ties with Israel's Ben Gurion"

"The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has cut all ties with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel.

"In a heated debate that led to a secret ballot, the senate voted on Wednesday by a strong majority to sever all ties with the university....

"...'Israeli apartheid'

The vote follows a UJ petition in September last year, calling on UJ academics and students to cut ties with BGU. According to Dasantha Pillay of the UJ Petition Committee, "As the UJ senate met today, over 400 South African academics, including nine vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors [highest non-ceremonial university positions], had joined the campaign..."