'Largest' student union in Britain adopts BDS

'Largest' student union in Britain adopts BDS
University of Manchester's student union adopted BDS motions on Thursday as activists seek to pressure university administrators to withdraw investments from Israeli companies.
2 min read
10 December, 2016

BDS - Palestine not forgotten

A British university's student union adopted BDS motions on Thursday following student activists' calls that sought to pressure university administrators to withdraw investments from Israeli companies involved in human rights abuses.

The congress of the University of Manchester's student union - which claims to be one of the largest student union bodies in the UK - approved the BDS movement's calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions from Israeli companies to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

Student activists called for the university to divest millions of pounds in Israeli-linked companies and to cut ties with Israel's Technion – State of Technology Institution over involvement in the development of hi-tech weaponry for Israel's military.

President of Recognise Refugee Rights Society Huda Ammori - who proposed the motion - said this was a symbolic step for the movement.

"We believe this is a large symbolic step in the BDS movement and we are asking for students from institutions all over the UK and internationally to campaign for BDS," Ammori told The New Arab.

Manchester University's BDS campaign said it discovered the university holds just under £15 million worth of investments in companies "that facilitate and are involved in the atrocious war crimes being committed by the state of Israel". 

With the student union now endorsing BDS, "we will pursue to campaign for full divestment and an end to all financial and institutional links with Israel's war crimes", Ammori said.

Critics of the BDS campaign claim that the movement unfairly focuses on Israeli organisations, overlooking companies linked to other military abuses around the world. 

Ammori argues that is because Israel is "the longest modern day military occupation" which the international community has failed to end. 

"Palestine has been under occupation for nearly seven decades," Ammori told The New Arab, "The international court committee has failed to bring justice to Israel's continuous war crimes, illegal settlements and human rights abuses. 

"If we unite and boycott these injustices, we will set a precedent for the whole world that such violations of international law and human rights will not be taken by the international community."

Ammori also asserted that the BDS movement targets the Israeli government and not individual groups.