Monday, 6 May 2013

The OZ C Kerr 6/5 p3 Student body rethinks anti-Israeli boycott

Student body rethinks anti-Israeli boycott

SYDNEY University students are expected to move to overturn support for the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement when their representative council meets this week.
In the second major BDS battle on Sydney campuses in as many weeks, a motion will be put on Wednesday calling on the SRC to scrap support for the boycott of the Technion university in Haifa it adopted last month.
BDS supporters -- who explicitly equate the Jewish state with apartheid-era South Africa -- claim the Technion works closely with the Israeli government and military, and weapons manufacturers in Israel. Opponents say the Technion works regularly with Arab institutions. They point to its recent pioneering efforts with the Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem into removing environmentally damaging pharmaceutical residues from waste water.
The Australian understands Labor voices could be key to deciding the issue, with some pro-Palestinian state MPs pushing for students to maintain their stand.
Since the original motion was passed on April 10 an online petition calling for it to be revoked has gathered more than 2700 signatures. A petition backing the ban has not yet gained 500 names.
Australian Union of Jewish Students political affairs director Dean Sherr said the boycott only served to delegitimise Israel and proposed no solutions or initiatives for Middle East peace.
In an open letter to the SRC last week, the Technion student union said nearly a fifth of its number were Arabs.

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