Edinburgh students' Israel boycott fails

Edinburgh University Students’ Association has failed in an attempt to introduce a full boycott of Israel.

A motion advocating comprehensive boycott, divestment and sanction action against the Jewish state was heavily defeated at EUSA’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

Around 700 students attended the debate, split across two lecture theatres, with only “a handful” backing anti-Israel action.

The motion had called on EUSA to join the global BDS movement and lobby the university to adopt the same approach.

If successful, the association would have pulled out of all co-operation with Israeli institutions at national and international levels, including ending academic and cultural links.

Ben Levitt, Union of Jewish Students’ local campaigns officer, said: “Both Jews and non-Jews took the platform to speak up against this motion for the illegitimate aims it represented and for the inevitable consequences for Edinburgh’s Jewish and Israeli student community.

“UJS led from the front and mobilized a broad coalition of students to campaign against this motion.”

Thomas Graham, EUSA president, said: "I'm pleased that the motion was rejected by an overwhelming majority. It's clear that students at this university do not want our campuses to be intimidating, but be places where everyone is welcome and respected."

    Last updated: 11:07am, November 19 2009