London’s SOAS University Votes for Boycott of Israel

LONDON, March 1, 2015 (WAFA) – The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has overwhelmingly voted to boycott Israel, the first British university to do so.

The results, released Friday after five days of voting, showed an overwhelming 73 percent of more than two thousand voters backed the boycott, while the remaining 27% voted against.

The voters were asked whether they agree that the School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS, joins the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign to impose an academic boycott on Israel, based on the instructions of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).

Those eligible to vote were students, faculty members and contract staff, according to British media.

SOAS, which has institutional ties with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, became the first British university to vote to suspend all such coordination.

Following the announcement of the results, the SOAS “Yes” Campaign issued a statement emphasizing that the victory “has demonstrated the popular appeal of BDS as a powerful form of protest and resistance.”

“By voting in favor of the academic boycott, the SOAS community has confirmed its unwavering commitment to freedom, equality and justice for all Palestinians and has reasserted its call for an end to Israeli apartheid, oppressive occupation, and settler-colonialism,” the statement, quoted by PRESSTV, said.

SOAS Students’ Union declared support of the BDS campaign in 2005 – the same as many other student unions of several other UK universities – but this referendum this time went about implementing the academic boycott throughout the entire university.