Oxford Students Vote Against BDS Movement

Oxford University, which is ranked as one of the top five universities on the planet, has categorically rejected two motions supported by the BDS Movement. A motion that called upon Oxford students to boycott Israeli institutions and products was defeated, 69-10, with 15 abstentions. Another motion calling for students to partake in the BDS movement was similarly defeated. As a result, neither motion will proceed from the Oxford University Student Union to be placed before the National Union of British Students Conference.

This boycott vote follows British lawmaker George Galloway, a Hamas supporter who has organized flotillas to Gaza, storming out of a debate at Oxford University merely because his debate opponent was Israeli. Before storming out, Galloway had declared,

“I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis.”

His behavior caused quite a storm with many audience members calling him a racist. Following this event, Galloway wrote on his facebook,

“The Reason is simple: No recognition, No Normalization, Just Boycotts, divestment and sanctions, until the Apartheid state is defeated.”

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh meets with British MP George Galloway

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh meets with British MP George Galloway

21-year-old Eylon Aslan-Levy was appalled that a member of the British Parliament would refuse to debate him just because of his country of origin. He declared, “To refuse to talk to someone just because of their nationality is pure racism, and totally unacceptable for a member of parliament.” However, Oxford University’s Student Union voting against the BDS movement demonstrated that most students at Oxford University don’t agree with George Galloway and his ideological supporters.

Following the boycott vote, Aslan-Levy proclaimed,

“Tonight Oxford students showed that their commitment to intellectual freedom is unshakeable. In rejecting calls for a boycott against Israel by a seven-to-one margin, we demonstrated resoundingly that we want Oxford to continue to cooperate with Israeli academics, trade with Israeli businesses and – yes – debate with Israelis in debating societies. I hope that other British universities will follow Oxford’s lead in standing up against divisive attempts to hinder academic cooperation and progress.”

WatsonSimilarly, Henry Watson, a student at Oxford University, asserted,

“This boycott goes against everything the university stands for. The idea that we are not going to read your books or articles or hear your arguments on the basis of your nationality is ridiculous.”

The Union of Jewish Students issued a statement following the BDS vote stating that the results “sent a clear message that neither students nor any one else will be marginalized at Oxford based on their nationality.”

Judith Flacks, the Union of Jewish Students Campaign Director, proclaimed,

“It’s encouraging to see that this vote reflects a student body which is willing to discuss the complexities that exist within Israel and do not see boycotting it as a viable option or avenue to discuss the conflict.”

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai also responded to the rejection of the BDS vote at Oxford University by stating,

“We welcome the decision of the Student Union, a decision that had it been accepted would certainly have stained both the institution and the students. I hope that other countries, organizations and institutions understand that waving the flag of progress in one hand and waving the flag of boycotts in the other means waving of two flags that cannot exist side by side.”

Thus, by voting against BDS, Oxford University students, among the brightest in the world, have rejected the idea that Israel should be ostracized until the demands of the BDS movement are met.

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Please write Oxford University’s Student Union to say thank you!

Contact: David Townsend
E-mail: enquiries@ousu.org

Dear David Townsend,

I would like to thank you, president of the Oxford University Student Union, for the Union’s rejection of the idea of boycotting Israel. By making such a decision, Oxford University students demonstrated once again how wonderful and intelligent they are. Any one who cares about promoting peace in the Middle East should support academic exchanges between Palestinians and Israelis, Arabs and Jews. It is only through such interactions that people to people bonds are formed which foment the foundations of peace. Boycotting Israel merely encourages a continuation of conflict and hatred, and does nothing to promote coexistence and mutual understanding between peoples. I hope that other universities learn from the intellectual depth possessed by the overwhelming majority of Oxford University students and reject similar motions.

All the best,

Your Name

United with Israel.

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9 comments

  1. It is, indeed, heartening to see the evolution of UK university campusses, particularly the main ones , in respect to the farcical cases presented by a hyper-active pro-jihadist mob. A similar transition to intellectual decency would be seen at Cambridge. I happen to have a very good and close connection there – where a less politically active academic community hasn’t been in the recent past impressively on the side of Israeli reason, yet not as visceral as Oxford has experienced.
    This may be a sample of things to come/develop.
    The politically enthusiast, as opposed to more reasonable mind, with no “intimate” or personal connection to the ethically/religious side of the divide, would have arrived by now at the sensible conclusion that the “case” for a Jewish State deserving deligimisation is asserved to a cause based on sheer enmity, indeed hatred and, more importantly, the “defence” of a mind-set ( still dealing here with the “mind” ) incredibly diametrally opposed to EVERYTHING a respectable learning institution is all about. One may not “blame” a local, academic, Jewish lobby. Having been a couple of times at my Son’s graduations, I must confess that the Jewish presence among the students is not that vast at all and, similarly, among the academics we are also refering to a small percentage. So, the changes seen are of the rational kind, a better adjusted political positioning to the core issues, advancements opposed to the exploitation of the principled minds at academics in favour of causes with no ethical substance.
    Combined with what we are beggining to see at American campuses, it bodes very promissing for the side of reason, common-sense and, indeed, civilised principles and behaviour.
    The short legs of lies and hatred have done their dash !!!

    It must be agreed that the oft criticised hasbara is, actually, working very well.

    • Don’t hold your breath Otto. Gib a kick here:
      http://daphneanson.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/windsors-shame-canadian-university.html

      The Students’ Alliance at the University of Windsor in Ontario has just written itself into the annals of infamy by becoming the first university in Canada to vote in favour of BDS via a referendum of undergraduates.

      The result was as follows:
      Yes: 798
      No: 585
      None of the above: 10
      Abstain: 14

      • Shirlee
        I cannot argue that any such demonstration of support for a spurious cause is not of concern.
        At the risk of being excessively ellitist, Uni. Windsor of Ontario is generally considered one of the lowest ranking universities in Canada and, at the last University Web Ranking it is placed at number…….876 in the world. Even my old alma mater, Bucharest uni. is somewhere in the mid 500 !!!! The other one, UNSW is much better and Oxford is 8-10, Cambridge 4-5.
        This does not seal the argument, but gives me, at least, some reprieve of sorts.
        Mind you, the battle goes on….

        • Doesn’t matter where it’s ranked. It still voted to boycott Israel.
          I went to London, though there doesn’t appear to be a London University as such any more.

  2. I find it hard to believe that a University with less than 1500 undergraduates exist. I wonder what the percentage of the undergraduates voted.

    Windsor is a hard core leftist city with NDP or socialist support. I wonder what percentage is of Middle Eastern/Islamic origin.

  3. I do not want anyone to believe that I am trying to find a reason to abandon the anti BDS spirit just because, in elitist terms, a “peripheral” institution, both geographically and in terms of academic placement, still comes out with a certain degree of suport for the BDS. Mind you, the numbers against the BDS are quite solid as well, so there is a good healthy base of suport for the right cause. Main thing is that the desired effects of the BDS strategy are not there. Israel’s economy is constantly at a very solid, healthy level. Figures available and events associated show a strong international coverage of Israeli goods and services. This does not bode for the quality of the Israeli “products”, but for the FACT that the arguments on which the BDS strategy are based dop not reflect the reality Israel’s partners know. The hard core anti Israel activists, be it leftists, islamic mannics, extreme right antisemites, whatever labels, will be almost impossible to persuade. Except for the islamic and/or Arabic camp, the “ideologically” motivated mobs are in extremly small numbers, however vociferous. They DO NOT inlfuence either governments in genuine Western type democracies or large, important business entities.I will reserve a special case for some local municipal authorities or some ideologically fringe dominated schools which pop up every now and again in “strange” placs, such as Sweden. They do make the news mostly because of the uncommon trend they follow, well against the main thrust of the respective country.
    Again, I am not lowering the guard, but we need a bit of positive, encouraging moral suport…