UK’s Exeter University students in historic landslide vote to boycott Israel

Students at Britain’s Exeter University have made history by turning out in record numbers to vote in favour of boycotting the apartheid state of Israel.

The vote, on 24 October, was in favour of a resolution to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to pressure Israel into respecting international law and human rights.

The press release below explains the importance of the vote.

A referendum at the University of Exeter to boycott illegal Israeli settlement products has passed in a landslide.

1,040 students voted in the referendum, the highest voter turnout in the history of the university’s political referenda, with 86 per cent voting in favour. Overwhelming support for the referendum is especially significant given the historically conservative nature of the university. The result demonstrates the growing momentum behind the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, in the United Kingdom and internationally.

The decision follows the 2005 Palestinian civil society call for BDS campaigns against Israel, aimed at pressuring the Israeli government to respect international law and human rights. The action also aims to bring the University of Exeter in line with the National Union of Students and recent EU regulations relating to goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. World-renowned historian and University of Exeter Professor Ilan Pappé offered his praise for the campaign organizers. “I congratulate the group of students that ran the campaign,” he said. “This is just the beginning.” …

Marcel Golten of Exeter Defend Education said: “This vote reflects both the hard work of those campaigning in support of this referendum and also the importance of this issue to the student body. Exeter Defend Education recognises this as a concrete step towards a just peace in Palestine and Israel. We look forward to supporting future campaigns to this end.”

Francesco Amoruso, a member of the pro-boycott campaign, explained: “In light of a peace process that has failed for decades, we believe that BDS is civil society’s most effective means to encourage peace and equal rights for all. We call on all people of conscious to join us in these efforts.” …

Hats off to Exeter University’s students. They have made history and given an unambiguous message to apartheid Israel that the era of impunity is over.

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