SOAS student union vote backs full Israel boycott


Staff and students at a London university have voted to implement a full academic boycott of Israel following a referendum.

The student union at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) had run a vote last week as part of its Israel Apartheid Week activity.

Backed by the union’s boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, it saw 1,283 students vote for breaking SOAS’s ties with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

That represented a 75 per cent “yes” vote. There were 425 student votes against a boycott – 25 per cent.

SOAS staff were also allowed to vote in the student union poll. More than 300 employees did so, voting 60-40 for a boycott.

More than 40 cleaners and support workers also backed sanctions against Israel – 91 per cent of them voting “yes”.

Jewish Society president Moselle Paz Solis, who last week told the JC of her fears of being targeted on the central London campus, said the refendum had been “discriminatory”.

“We will be taking our concerns to Paul Webley, the director of SOAS, because he has a duty of care to foster good relations between different religious and ethnic groups – this referendum does the opposite,” she said.

“It is divisive and we believe will lead to a deterioration between Israeli and Jewish students and other groups at SOAS.”

Student union executive members had admitted the vote was biased during the campaign.

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