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Sussex University Students Vote to Boycott Israeli Goods

By Michael Holder

PSC, November 14, 2009

 


On November 5, 2009, students at the University of Sussex, England, voted to boycott Israeli goods. The decision follows the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, which calls upon the Israeli state to respect international law and end the occupation of Palestine.

In a campus-wide referendum, 56% of students voted in favour of the boycott.

The referendum was held by the University of Sussex Studentsí Union (USSU), which represents the institutionís 11000 students.

Goods from Israel will no longer be stocked in USSU shops on the university campus, and USSU will be lobbying the university administration to observe the boycott.

Tom Wills, USSU President, said "Israel has broken more UN resolutions than any other state. No other Western-backed democracy has committed such egregious violations of international law, but the international community has failed to hold Israel to account.

"Sussex was one of the first universities to boycott South Africa during apartheid, and we hope that this will help kickstart an international movement on a similar scale to put pressure on Israel to end its oppression of the Palestinian people.

"We call on students at other universities to table boycott motions in their own unions."

Earlier this year the Israeli attack on Gaza triggered a resurgence in student activism in the UK, with a wave of sit-in protests at universities including Sussex. The student boycott comes after the Trades Union Congress (TUC) backed a boycott of Israeli settlement goods in September.

USSU currently also boycotts Coca-Cola and Nestle in protest at unethical business practices by those corporations.


For further information and comment:

Michael Holder,

University of Sussex Students' Union

USSU Communications Officer
T: +44 (0)1273 87 3347 (Monday-Friday 09.30-17.30 GMT)
E: communications@ussu.sussex.ac.uk
Tom Wills, USSU President
T: +44 (0)1273 87 3350 (Monday-Friday 09.30-17.30 GMT)
E: president@ussu.sussex.ac.uk
 
 
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The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) aims to raise public awareness about the occupation of Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people. PSC seek to bring pressure on both the British and Israeli government to bring their policies in line with international law. PSC is an independent, non-governmental and non-party political organisation with members from communities across the UK. Join PSC today!
 
 
Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Box BM PSA
London
WC1N 3XX
Tel:   020 7700 6192
Fax:  020 7609 7779
Email: info@palestinecampaign.org
Web: www.palestinecampaign.org

More:

British Activists Kick off Week-Long Boycott Against Illegal Israeli Settlement Products

Monday November 09, 2009 02:05 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News

Part of the international Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK has implemented a week-long boycott against several large supermarket chains in the UK that carry Israeli products.

The week-long boycott is targeting the Waitrose and Morrisons supermarket chains, in an attempt to pressure the stores to discontinue the sale of fruits and vegetables grown and processed on the illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank -- settlements that have been deemed illegal under international law, as they are constructed on land illegally confiscated from the indigenous Palestinian population by military force.

The activists say that they have tried other tactics, such as petitioning the stores to stop selling what they call 'apartheid products', but the stores' managers have been unresponsive. One of the stores, Waitrose, released a statement saying that the produce is grown on farms where "a Palestinian and Israeli workforce have worked side by side for years."

But the Palestine Solidarity Committee says that such a statement is entirely disingenuous, given that the farms in question are on Israeli settlements, built on illegally confiscated Palestinian land, and that there is no equality between the Palestinian workers, who are forced to work in the settlements because their own economy has been destroyed by the Israeli occupation.

The British activists cited documentation of the conditions on Israeli settlement agricultural plantations, documented in reports of the Israeli human rights group Kav LaOved.

According to the evidence compiled by Kav LaOved, the settlements are built on stolen land and are irrigated by water stolen from the Palestinians, Palestinian children as young as 12 work on settlement farms, Palestinian workers in Israeli Settlements earn less than 50% of the minimum wage, and sometimes as little as five US cents an hour, and Palestinian settlement workers receive no holiday pay, pensions or sick pay.

In addition, Palestinian workers require permits to work, which can be removed if they complain about their conditions or ask for a pay rise. Israeli workers do not require work permits. Palestinian workers must travel through Israeli barriers and checkpoints every day in order to get to their place of employment, then get home again. Queues of workers start forming at checkpoints as early as 2am, with little or no shelter provided for those in line. Israeli workers are free to move around the Palestinian West Bank without restrictions, and special roads, which Palestinians are forbidden to use, have been built for them.

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign's week of actions include demonstrations outside stores, and mass, co-ordinated phone calls to the management of both stores on Wednesday.

The group is part of an international movement boycotting what they call Israeli apartheid practices of discrimination and segregation against the indigenous Palestinian population. The movement compares Israel's practices to the 'apartheid' system implemented by white South Africans from 1948 - 1994, in which black and mixed race South Africans were forced to live in certain areas, carry ID cards and discriminated against by a number of apartheid laws.


 

 

 

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