Edinburgh students union accused of antisemitism over pre-Pesach boycott vote


The president of Edinburgh Jewish Society has accused the student union of antisemitism for refusing to postpone a vote on boycotting Israel to be held the day before Pesach.

Emma Dubin, Edinburgh JSoc president, found out on Monday that a motion proposing a commercial and cultural boycott of Israel was on the agenda for the last student council meeting before the Easter holidays on Thursday.

Ms Dubin said she and other Jewish students would have already left campus to be home before Pesach, on Friday, and would be unable to attend the meeting.

The second-year student said that when she had raised the issue with the union – known as the Edinburgh University Students Association’s (EUSA) – she was told that only the proposers of the motion could change the date.

Ms Dubin asked Faatima Osman from the Black & Minority Ethnic liberation group (BME), who proposed the motion, to postpone the vote but Ms Osman refused.

A compromise solution of an extraordinary student council meeting to be held in a few weeks time was also rejected.

Ms Dubin said: “I am not just worried it will pass. I am worried that this is a framework that makes it impossible for Jewish voices to be heard. It is an antisemitic process to not have Jewish students’ voices being heard at this stage.”

EUSA vice president Eve Livingston said: “Student council dates are set a year in advance with agendas set a week in advance based on policy proposals received from students within a set time period in a prescribed format. The BDS motion was submitted correctly and in time for this student council and so was added to the agenda as per procedure.

“Upon being alerted to the clash with Passover I have talked extensively with the proposers of the motion and with the president of the Jewish Society to try and reach a satisfactory conclusion. Nobody in EUSA has the power to override democratic process as defined by our regulations and so the motion will be debated on Thursday, though we have extended the offer to the Jewish Society to read a statement on their behalf or discuss other adjustments to compensate for their lack of representation.”

Edinburgh JSoc has around 50 members.

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