UWESU board of trustees call for referendum on boycotting of Israeli goods. By Kaytie McFadden

Notice:

It has been brought to our attention that there may be an inaccuracy within the print edition of this article.

For this reason, WesternEye have removed from this online article, the sentence in question which states: “The consequences of the motion are far reaching, as many companies invest in Israel and therefore their products could no longer be stocked by the SU. This includes products made by Nestlé, Fanta, Kleenex, and even Intel computers.”

The sentence was written based upon the information provided to WesternEye after the SU’s official announcement of the referendum, and any potential inaccuracies were unfortunately not picked up during fact-checking.

Whilst WesternEye are investigating this issue, we would respectfully request that our readers do not take the statement as fact, and updates will be provided in due course.

We would like to take the opportunity to direct you towards the referendum page on the Students’ Union website, where the ‘Yes’ and the ‘No’ campaigns set out their respective cases:  http://www.uwesu.org/news/article/uwesu/Announcement-Referendum-on-Israeli-Goods-and-BDS/

Copy of Election by 'Rama'

UWE Students’ Union recently announced a referendum which will take place alongside the 2014 SU officer elections occurring between 7th-14th March. The subject of the referendum is a motion which was passed on Thursday 21st November at AGM, a motion proposed by members of the Free Palestine Society which committed UWESU to a boycott of all Israeli goods and to joining an external campaign movement known as Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). BDS claim to be “a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.”

The motion was passed with 84 SU members in favour, and 80 against. The Trustees of UWESU were presented with a petition of over 200 signatures asking for a referendum on the motion, and due to a combination of this and the fact that the vote was so close, decided to call a referendum in order to get a more broad and accurate idea of how UWE students feel about the matter.

The referendum question will appear after the candidate voting during elections week.

An Open Meeting was held on 27th February at 4.30pm, the purpose of which was for the Returning Officer to confirm the exact question which will appear on the ballot paper, to confirm campaign leaders for the Yes and No campaigns, and to confirm the rules and regulations of the referendum. The agent in charge of the ‘Yes’ campaign is Jude Nassar, and Rachal Shine is agent of the ‘No’ campaign. The exact question which will be upon the ballot papers is:Do you wish UWE Students’ Union to ban the sale of all products produced/grown in Israel or the “illegal settlement” of the West Bank from all of its shops and bars and to join the Boycott and Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Organisation?

The wording of the original motion, as passed by UWESU members can be found below. The statements contained under ‘The Union Notes’ and ‘The Union Believes’ headings are included in order to provide background information only, the ‘Union Resolves’ statements are the outcomes which were originally agreed upon.

Motion: Boycott Divestment and Sanctions

The Union Notes:

  1. That the state of Israel is involved in a brutal military occupation of the Palestinian territories.

  2. That said occupation is responsible for widespread and ongoing human rights abuses against the local Palestinian population; including the destruction of homes, theft of land and water resources, imprisonment without trial, torture of prisoners, and the contruction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.

  3. That this is in violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights & the Charter of the United Nations. Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land have also been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice and the UK government.

  4. That, as noted by Nelson Mandela, said occupation reflects the former apartheid government of South Africa through the daily breach of the human rights of the native Palestinian population. The South African apartheid system was itself brought to an end in part due to an effective boycott campaign.

The Union Believes:

  1. That the state of Israel should end its occupation of the Palestinian territories and allow the return of Palestinian refugees in accordance with international law.

  2. An effective way to support Palestine is through the boycott of Israeli goods, as proved similarly effective in anti-apartheid campaigning.

 

The Union Resolves:

  1. To ensure that products sold by This Union were neither grown nor produced within state of Israel, nor by the illegal settlements in the west bank.

  2. To join the global movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel until it ends the occupation and complies with international law.

 

Proposer: Joud Nassar

Seconded: Hannah Bailey