York must boycott “jingoistic” Israel

I believe that The University of York should join the growing, international BDS (boycotts, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel, by supporting the academic boycott of Israeli university and research institutions.

I believe that we have a moral duty to show solidarity with this Palestinian campaign which states on its website that a boycott be carried out until Israel ends its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantles the Wall. Israel must also recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality, and respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

These demands are essentially requiring Israel to abide with international law, which Israel has flagrantly disregarded since its inception. So why should we support the movement?

The recent, murderous assault on Gaza might have been reason enough for a worldwide boycott of Israeli institutions. Over 2,100 Palestinians were killed, with over 70 per cent of those being civilians. Israel has been accused of committing multiple war crimes during the assault; three UN schools were bombed during the campaign, thousands of homes were destroyed along with vital civilian infrastructure –such as Gaza’s only power station and multiple hospitals – being badly (and deliberately) damaged.

The recent assault was of course not abnormal. The Wikipedia page entitled “Gaza War” gives you the morbid choice of selecting a page dedicated to one of the three Israeli assaults on Gaza in the last six years – six-year old Gazans have already lived through three attacks on their tiny strip of land by one of the most powerful armies on Earth. According to UNICEF, 400,000 Palestinian children in Gaza now need urgent psychological support, and eight out of ten are now dependent on humanitarian assistance. After the recent siege, the poverty rate is well over 90 per cent.

It’s important to bear in mind that ‘normal’ life in Gaza is horrific enough. It is essentially a huge open-air prison with 1.8 million inmates; the vast majority of Gazans are not allowed out of the area whatsoever and there is a severe restriction on imports to the point where hospitals are chronically under-resourced, reconstruction efforts futile and the population eternally under-fed; there is a severe humanitarian crisis.

The oppression of Palestinians is just as egregious in the occupied territories in the West Bank as it is in Gaza. The bulk of these territories –which are internationally recognised as illegal –consist of areas seized in the Six Day War of 1967 but Israel has since annexed far more land. The pernicious expansion of Israeli settlements since that war has further fragmented Palestinian land in the West Bank into a series of disjointed ghettoes which are all under military occupation. Just a few days after the recent assault on Gaza ended Israel annexed a further 1,000 acres of West Bank land.

This is to say nothing of the oppression of Palestinian-Israeli citizens or the plight of the millions of Palestinian refugees in camps in surrounding countries, and of course I have only merely summarised the occupation in the West Bank and the siege of Gaza. The full story only gets more harrowing.

Critics deride the boycott movement as anti-Semitic. It isn’t, it is a vital movement to draw attention to and put pressure on a rogue, jingoistic state which is ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their land. It has nothing to do with Israel’s Jewish heritage; no state should be allowed to get away with what Israel has done. A civilian-led movement is particularly crucial in this case, as the international community has long been paralysed into little more than a spectator of the Palestinians’ plight by the United State’s staunch diplomatic protection and colossal military support for Israel. With the world’s self-elected super-power sheltering Israel from the wrath of international law, it is only a grass-roots movement like the BDS campaign that can achieve real change.

I propose that YUSU hold a referendum to decide whether the students of the university should officially endorse the academic aspect of the boycott movement.


  1. I mean that’s fine or whatever, how about you “boycott” your cellphone too? I mean, who would want to use technology developed by such a “horrible” country? Clearly not an educated Yorksman like yourself. Also look at how many rocketd were fired over the last decades onto the state of Israel. Do you ever hear about the Israeli children who need psychological help? Hamas deliberately places their rocket launchers in the UN provided schools. Israel is responsible for her well being and has been forced to have “one of the most powerful armies on Earth.” Don’t give me this b.s. about lack of anti-Semitism either. Do some more research on terrorist organizations and maybe visit the towns that are constantly under rocket fire. Then you can have an opinion.

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    • Benji boy, Israelis did not invent the cellphone or the intel chip. This is zionist propaganda. Israeli children need psychological help? Lesson learned don`t set up house on stolen property. Besides psychological help they need plastic surgery as well as they are inbreds.

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      • I love how the term propaganda gets thrown around, who exactly invented this Intel chip then? As for your comment on stolen property, I would imagine that you view yourself as a good Christian. To whom was the “holy land” given again? Perhaps you can enlighten me. Even without he biblical basis, which i foresee you disregarding, Israeli settlers of the early 1900s, circa 20s and 30s, came to the land and purchased their land, as was their right to do so. When the British (funny how this is working out) created the Partition plan of 1947, the Jewish leadership was more than accepting, while the Arabs were not, resulting in the independence war, Israel won and to this day continues to defend herself. In regard to your last sentence, now you’re just being rude. Good day love.

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        • 1 Oct ’14 at 12:38 am

          Benjamin Treverson

          It’s a shame you can’t report comments for the extreme stupidity espoused :( x100 Because Ben you don’t know shit and or care about international law, justice or the lives of a whole people who have been systematically ethnically cleansed from the land. Actually ethnic cleansing that doesn’t really go far enough to explain the treatment of Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli military, government, and religious extremists…genocide would be more fitting and true.

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  2. yay, thank you for having the moral courage to stand up to the israeli bullies, propagandists and spin doctors and show that at least in york, they are not afraid to stand up for right!
    thank you so much York. though how long your resolve lasts, once the israeli war/propoganda machine and lobby starts shooting you, i don’t know

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  3. I absolutely agree with you Andrew. Israeli army is the most powerful terrorist army of all times.

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  4. I take it you’ll also be supporting a boycott of Egypt, as they are responsible for blockading the southern border of Gaza?

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  5. 2 Oct ’14 at 5:07 pm

    David Landon Cole

    What this article, along with most of the BDS campaign, fails to show is how the boycott would actually lead to change and what that change would be. I’m afraid this article comes down to what is referred to in Yes, Minister as the Politician’s Syllogism:

    1. We must do something
    2. This is something
    3. Therefore we must do it

    Let us accept that BDS would cause changes in Israel’s actions towards Palestine and Palestinians; how do we know that Israel would go for policies that are more in line with what the author wants rather than less? Usually at this point, people raise South Africa. I’ll preempt that by saying that it is not at all clear to me that South Africa and Israel are comparable.

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  6. That’s not just logic. That’s really seinebls.

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