Kings College London's student union votes for Israel boycott

By Charlotte Oliver, March 27, 2014

Students at Kings College London passed a controversial anti-Israel motion this week, despite strong opposition from Jews on campus.

The motion, which was passed by the student union, called for the university to boycott Israel and “raise awareness of the country’s apartheid policies”.

It also urged Kings to affiliate with the Palestine Boycott Divestment and Sanctions National Committee.

The president of the university’s Israel Society, Sami Steinbock, said the vote was “a disgrace.

“What is the message? Israelis and Jews alike are not welcome here.”

Mr Steinbock, along with StandWithUs’ campus representative Jonathan Hunter, has conducted a long-running battle against anti-Israel activity on campus.

He presented a letter to student and staff at Kings, in which they described BDS as discriminatory.

Mr Steinbock and Mr Hunter also met London Assembly member Andrew Dismore, who took the matter to London Mayor Boris Johnson. The Mayor said he condemned “any one-sided boycott.”

Following the motion’s result, Mr Hunter said: “This is the latest petty assault on Israel and its supporters on campus. We will fight no end to overturn and ultimately defeat this divisive and one-sided motion.”

Union of Jewish Students campaigns director Maggie Suissa said the organisation was “working with the union and the university to ensure the well-being of all Jewish students”.

She added: “It is shameful that elected representatives feel it is within their remit to single out students and call shame on them.”

A spokesperson for King's College London said: "As knowledge is worldwide, King’s College London does not support or engage in boycotts of academic institutions. Universities depend on freedom of speech and freedom of enquiry, which are fundamental to both teaching and research.

"The BDS motion passed at the Student General Meeting is a matter for King’s College London Students’ Union, an independent registered charity and membership organisation, governed by its own Board of Trustees.”

Last updated: 11:32am, March 28 2014