Israeli goods will be boycotted by the University of Sussex Student Union after an unsuccessful UJS campaign to defend the Jewish state.
The union voted ‘Yes’ by 562 votes to 450 in a referendum with the question “Should USSU boycott Israeli Goods?”
A passionate statement was put forward by the anti-boycott campaign, explaining how during the Gaza conflict earlier this year the Sussex campus had become “like a war zone” for Jewish students.
It stated: “A boycott of Israel will achieve remarkably little. Rather than bettering life for Palestinians, it will increase hardships on ordinary Israelis, many of whom have their own qualms with government policy.
“But there is a lasting impact on Jewish and Israeli students in the UK.”
Carly McKenzie, UJS campaigns director, visited the campus and helped students build a timber bridge to encourage engagement rather than confrontation.
She said: “This wasn’t just about winning the referendum but about giving Sussex JSoc a loud and prominent voice on campus.”
‘Yes’ campaigners said Palestinian farmers had called on the university to back a boycott because they were being used as cheap labour by Israeli settlers.
They claimed the boycott would be “a non-violent protest against the illegal military occupation of Palestine” and compared Israel to apartheid South Africa.