The UCL student union passed a motion a few months ago in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign on campus. Universities across the UK have taken similar measures to ensure they are not supporting Israel’s war crimes and violations against international law.
When the motion passed the board of Trustees at UCL sought legal advice to ensure it could be fully implemented. During the last board meeting some sections of the motion were amended but despite this, the motion still stands.
However, after organised effort, the Israeli embassy and pro-Israel advocacy groups are smearing the UCL BDS motion by claiming that it is illegal. We are continuing to see Israeli groups bully those that are standing to implement justice. The nature of bullying includes legal threats and has also extended to include intimidating trustees. Pro-Israel groups are trying to push BDS out of campuses because they know it is working.
The BDS movement aims to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and ends its illegal occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Therefore, individuals, organisations, councils and universities all have a democratic right to boycott Israel until it ends its illegal occupation. Boycotts are effective and legal. We have seen them work effectively in South Africa when the international community used boycotts to end apartheid. There is nothing illegal about UCL’s BDS motion; rather it shows growing student support for the Palestinian cause, which threatens Israel’s image by highlighting its injustice against the Palestinians.
The UCL motion won a land sliding victory and students supporting this ethical cause must stand firm in their position and continue to challenge those against the human rights movement.