We would like to offer our congratulations and support on passing the BDS motion at University of Manchester yesterday. The University of Manchester have issued a Press Release stating:
“On Thursday night, the Senate of the University of Manchester Student Union, the largest student union in the country, passed a motion in support of the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. The motion won the support of 60% of the SU Senate, demonstrating the strong student support for the BDS movement at the University of Manchester. The motion was put forward by Huda Ammori (President of Recognise Refugee Rights Society), and was strongly supported by Etisha Choudhury, the President of Action Palestine, and the BDS Campaigns Committee.
Our campaign at Manchester aims to connect our university to this global movement for justice and equality, and calls on the university administration to end its ties with businesses and institutions that are particularly complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights. In particular the campaign demands that:
• The University of Manchester sells its £15 million of investments in companies linked to Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. These investments include a stake worth just under £1 million in Caterpillar, who manufacture the armoured bulldozers which have been used by Israel to destroy more than 25,000 Palestinian homes since 1967. These investments are a violation of the University’s own Ethical Investment Policy which seeks to eliminate investments in companies linked to violations of human rights (http://documents.manchester.ac.uk/display.aspx?DocID=659)
• The University ends it ties to the Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology, which has deep ties to the Israeli arms industry, especially Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Systems. The Technion remains the main research centre in Israel for developing weapons used by the Israeli military against the Palestinian population, and has developed, for example, components for the Merkava M4 Battle Tank and the D-9 Armoured Bulldozer. These weapons have been used to kill thousands of Palestinians and destroy tens of thousands of homes.
Even though our campaign is still in its initial stages, Thursday night’s vote confirms there is strong student support for BDS at Manchester, and since our campaign began three weeks ago, more than 15 academics and 250 students have signed a letter of support for our demands, including members of the Jewish community. This level of mass support shows that students and academics from diverse backgrounds at this university stand in solidarity with Palestine and recognise the necessity of the BDS movement in order to end Israel’s system of settler colonialism, apartheid, and occupation and achieve justice for the Palestinian people.”
This is a positive step towards supporting the ongoing BDS movement, more notably, because it has been passed at the institution with the largest student union in the country. It is particularly significant at a moment when Israeli government has been attempting to stifle democratic activities.
As an organisation we are continuously working to help the BDS movement flourish. It is a proven effective way of putting pressure on Israel to end the occupation. Only this week its success has been demonstrated in the closing of G4S operations in Israel and Jordan. In addition, Israel’s recent efforts to deport a BDS supporter and increasing their budget for anti-BDS actions, are testament to the impact of BDS in highlighting Israeli occupation and its plight on the Palestinians. Consequently, the motions passed at the University of Manchester are significant achievements in sustaining the momentum of growth for the movement.
We hope this motion is part of a growing number of institutions and organisations across the UK.
First published 9th December 2016. Updated 13th December 2016