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BDS resolution passed by US' University of Illinois student body

February 13, 2020 at 6:43 pm

The main library building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as seen on September 29, 2016 [Killivalavan Solai / Wikimedia]

The student body at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) passed a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution this morning that calls on the university to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

Following more than six hours of debating, the final vote was 20 in favour, nine against and seven abstentions.

Titled “Condemning Ignorance of Racism and Equating Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism”, the resolution was co-authored by Dunia Ghanimah, president of the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and has 22 sponsors, including Academic Affairs chair Sihah Reza.

An amendment to take out all references to Israel failed by a vote of 11 in favour, 22 against and six abstentions.

The resolution also prevents the university from associating with firms that provide weaponry and technology to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Read: Harvard students form ‘anti-Zionist Jewish organisation’

The BDS resolution named companies such as Elbit Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon as it’s involved in “human-rights violations and violations of international law, including the confiscation and destruction of Palestinian lands, criminalisation of immigrants and communities of colour, and other human rights violations,” and therefore “make UIUC complicit in these crimes”.

Israel-based Elbit Systems is a company which sells weapons to the Israeli military to use in attacks against Palestinians, and also supplies surveillance technology for use along the US-Mexico border.

BDS seeks to financially pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the Palestinian territories and allow full equality for its Arab-Palestinian citizens.

Jewish and pro-Israel groups expressed severe disapproval over the resolution’s passage.

Read: UN blacklists 112 companies with ties to illegal Israel West Bank settlements