Rebecca Davenport 0

End the BDS Boycott at UBS

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Brunel students' union passed a motion on 30 October 2014 to implement a boycott of Israeli and international companies which are deemed to "profit from the violation of Palestinian rights".

We believe that the Union's primary purpose must be student welfare within the university. This issue is both controversial and divisive. Both Jewish and Israeli students will feel less than welcome anywhere accepting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is tantamount to apartheid, or as easily solved.

This motion is in contravention of the Union's own constitution -
"The Union will seek at all times to:
(i) pursue its aims and objectives independent of any political party or religious group;
(ii) pursue an active equal opportunities and diversity policy to ensure that equal access is available to all members of whatever origin or orientation and to prevent any members from being disadvantaged through direct or
indirect discrimination
on the grounds of age, gender, race, sexuality, disability, religion, religious belief, HIV status or political belief." [Emphasis by the author].

When students wish to campaign on any issue, there is already a forum for them to do so: societies. The Union should support both the Friends of Palestine and a Friends of Israel society when they campaign about issues, rather than taking sides and alienating students.

Boycotts are also an ineffective method of achieving lasting change. They cause disengagement with the international community and promote isolation and desperation. Engagementwith both sides, taking care to consider all points of view, is the only way to build a lasting peace, or makes steps towards this.

A motion of this type suppresses debate and by its very nature excludes students from the place they should feel most welcome and able to raise their voices. We ask that the BDS motion be reversed at the earliest opportunity.

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