Boycott of Israel Vetoed by top University in UK
London's top university has overwhelmingly voted a full academic boycott of Israel in the wake of Tel Aviv’s brutal treatment of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Around 75 percent of students and staff at London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have voted in favor of the motion.
Over 2,000 students and staff members participated in the poll, with only 425 opposing the bid.
The results of the week-long referendum, proposed by the students union, were released last Friday as part of its Israel Apartheid Week activity.
The union has been associated with the campaign of Israel’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) since 2005. The SOAS branch of the movement called for the referendum late last year.
The referendum’s results came as a decade-old movement for boycotting Israeli goods in the United States is gaining momentum at American universities.
An increasing number of American students are now joining the BDS movement, refusing to sell off stock since January, with student groups at some universities taking divestment votes.
The movement has gained support in European countries as well.
The movement, based on the campaign against the former Apartheid regime in South Africa, grew from a 2005 international call from Palestinian groups, and aims to increase pressure on Israel to bring to a halt its expansionist policies including building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Last summer, about 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, were killed in a 50-day Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which started in early July 2014 and ended in late August. Over 11,100 others, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly people, were also injured.
Some 100,000 Gazans remain homeless in the besieged coastal sliver.
The Palestinian territory has been blockaded since June 2007, which has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
The coastal strip has been through three Israeli wars since 2008.
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