Oxford students reject anti-boycott measure


Oxford students have voted down a motion which would have ordered its National Union of Students delegates to reject a tie-up between NUS and the Israel boycott movement.

The motion, put forward by RSY Netzer member Ben Goldstein, alleged that the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement “indiscriminately targets all Israelis”. It fell by 72 votes to 30, with 28 abstentions.

Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) president Louis Trup said that complaints had been made to him about the “uncomfortable” climate surrounding the meeting.

Mr Trup, who also sits on the Board of Deputies, said: “It was a pretty uncomfortable atmosphere. Lots of people felt very uncomfortable about it.

“At one point someone said that we shouldn’t support BDS at a time of increasing antisemitism, and there was a big groan. That made it feel very uncomfortable.

“There was also lots of whooping and cheering after the vote and I’ve had lots of students - about 10 so far - come to me complaining.

“Of course I’m worried. We shouldn’t have a situation where students feel uncomfortable; it's terrible. I’ve been working hard today and will continue to work hard to make sure Jewish students feel welcome in Oxford.”

He added he would record the university delegates’ votes and report them back to the OUSU.

The OUSU voted against joining the BDS movement in 2013.

The news comes as more than 1,000 people have signed a petition asking Southampton University to cancel a conference in April where experts “will diagnose the legal position with regard to the nature of Israel”.

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