The student union of University College London, the UK capital’s largest higher-education institution, has voted to officially adopt the Boycott Divest and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
The motion passed 14-4 in a vote of the union’s senior staff. A proposal for the motion to be debated at a General Assembly of the student union was rejected, as was another calling to change the language to remove the word “boycott.”
The vote was proposed by representatives from the UCL Friends of Palestine society who celebrated the passing of the motion on Twitter.
BDS is now official policy in the UCL Union! This is a tremendous victory for BDS at our campus. Well done to our BDS team for the motion!
— UCL SJP (@uclsjp) March 8, 2016
The Pinsker Centre for Zionist Education, a pro-Israel group working with students at British Universities, released a statement rejecting the motion.
“UCLU’s adoption of an academic and cultural boycott of the State of Israel is a slap in the face for all those who believe in the principles at the heart of University College London: liberal tolerance and freedom of expression,” read the statement. “It marks the latest example of an extreme minority cynically manipulating the corrupt aspects of student democracy in order to pass policies which do not represent majority-student opinion. As recently as Monday evening at a debate at UCL, students voted to condemn the BDS movement.”
The group said it would be working with the UCL Friends of Israel society to mount a legal challenge to the decision.