On Thursday 20th October 2011, 12 universities around London got together and organised an impressive meeting to discuss the need for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions(BDS) of Israel on campuses. The organisation representing the 12 universities included:
Kings College London Action Palestine
University College London Friends of Palestine
SOAS Palestine Society
LSE Palestine Society
Goldsmiths Palestine Campaign
Brunel Friends of Palestine
London Metropolitan University Palestine Society
Queen Mary Palestine Solidarity Society
Middlesex Free Palestine Society
Imperial palestine Society
Mike Cushman, Rafeef Ziadeh, Sean Rillo Rackza, Karma Nabulsi and Ilan Pappe (left to right)
The event was hosted at the University of London Union which in May 2011 passed a strong resolution in support of BDS. Voting 10-1 to institute and campaign for BDS in support of Palestine the union called for “thorough research into ULU investments and contracts” with companies guilty of “violating Palestinian human rights” as set out by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee (BNC). It was chaired by Rillo Rackza the Vice President of University of London Union.
Sean Rillo Rackza, Vice President University of London Union, chairs the meeting
Over 250 people, mainly students, crammed in to the hall to hear Rafeef Ziadeh of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee, Ilan Pappe an Israeli Academic at Exeter University, Mike Cushman of the British Committee for University's in Palestine, and Karma Nabulsi a Palestinian Academic at Oxford University, each speaking for 10 minutes followed by over an hour of lively questions-answers and discussion apart from a silly Jerusalem Post reporter who suggested that the BDS movement was anti-Semetic by definition because it picked on Israel!
After the QA session Mehdi Beyati of Kings College London Action Palestine explained that King College is involved in an EU funded research project with Israeli settler company Ahava. He revealed that the Kings Student union has just passed a motion condemning the project and demanding the university drops out of the project.
Full video of all the speeches and question-answer session is provided below
Question and answer session followed the speeches
Ilan Pappe, Israeli Academic, Exeter University
Karma Nabulsi, Palestinian Academic, Oxford University
Rafeef Ziadeh, Palestinian Boycott National Committee
Mike Cushman, British Committee for University's in Palestine
Video: Why we need a boycott of Israel on our campuses
"Its important to choose a strategy that doesn't end up diverting attention from the issue.. the other side wants nothing more than to divert attention from what the record shows, what the human rights record shows, what the UN record and so forth - they don't want to talk about that because once they start talking about that they loose. They'd rather talk about anti-Semitism, the Nazi holocaust - anything accept Israel and Palestine. With that in mind you have to be careful that you don't embark on a tactic which is going to end up diverting people from Israel-Palestine.. You don't' want to choose grey areas, you always want to choose black and white areas where there is no room for discussion, where there is no room for debate. This is black and white: World Court decision [wall and settlements illegal] 14 to 1. Human rights issues - Amnesty says Israel tortures, Human Rights Watch says Israel tortures, B'Tselem says Israel tortures, everyone says it - its black and white. And the other side has to end up with some ridiculous proposition as Professor Dershowitz put it 'they're all lying'."