By Simon Friend
February 12, 2009
After a hard-fought campaign by Durham JSoc, a motion for their union to boycott Israeli goods has been defeated in a university-wide referendum by 726 votes to 525. Initially, the issue was due to be decided at a union council meeting, but the demand for a referendum was so high that all students were given the chance to vote. Durham JSoc, one of the fastest-growing JSocs in the UK, distributed around 4,000 flyers detailing their objections and held an emergency forum to give students the opportunity to debate the issue.
Adam Jacobs, JSoc co-president, said: “This reflects extremely well on Durham’s student population, who have demonstrated their unwillingness to ostracise Israel. It is a great testament to the strength of our JSoc that we were able to win this campaign.” His co-president, James Ufland, added: “Clearly the majority of students believe that the key to a peaceful solution in the Middle East lies in dialogue rather than division and in hope and progress rather than anger and bitterness. This is a victory for calm and reasoned debate over knee-jerk reactionism.”