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Oxford students reject Israel boycott proposal

    Students at Oxford University have rejected a proposed boycott of Israel.

    A motion proposing the student union join the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement was rejected by 69 votes to 10, with 15 abstentions. If successful it would have been put to the National Union of Students conference in April.

    The global boycott campaign calls for a full boycott of Israel, including of its cultural and academic institutions.

    The motion had been delayed by two weeks while individual colleges held their own votes. The majority of colleges also rejected the boycott proposal.

    The Union of Jewish Students said the result sent a "clear statement that neither students nor anyone else will be marginalised at Oxford on the basis of their nationality".

    Judith Flacks, UJS campaigns director, said: "It's encouraging to see that this vote reflects a student body which is willing to discuss the complexities that exist within Israel and do not see boycotting it as a viable option or avenue to discuss the conflict."

    A week ago Respect MP George Galloway walked out of a debate at the university on his discovery that student Eylon Aslan-Levy had dual British-Israeli nationality.

    Following tonight's result, Mr Aslan-Levy, a student at Brasenose College, said: "Oxford students showed that their commitment to intellectual freedom is unshakeable.

    "In rejecting calls for a boycott against Israel by a seven-to-one margin, we demonstrated resoundingly that we want Oxford to continue to cooperate with Israeli academics, trade with Israeli businesses and debate with Israeli debating societies.

    "I hope that other British universities will follow Oxford's lead in standing up against divisive attempts to hinder academic cooperation and progress."

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