BDS resolves ‘will not be implemented’ and movement ‘not promoted’ but motion will still be published

KCLSU President Sebastiaan Debrouwere and Vice President Anthony Shaw at last Tuesday's SGM. Credit: Dulcie Lee / Roar! News

THE BDS motion resolves will not be implemented, nor will the union promote the BDS movement, KCLSU announced this evening.

However the Union’s Trustee Board said that it “should not override the motion in its entirety”, and it will be published in the KCLSU Welfare and Community Zone.

After a four hour long meeting last Thursday, trustees made two decisions: “The first decision was that the Board should not override the motion in its entirety.

“This means that the motion will be published within the KCLSU Welfare and Community Zone alongside other issues on which our members have, by majority, voted.

“However The [sic] second decision was made that we will not use KCLSU resources to implement the ‘Resolves’ section of the motion or otherwise promote the BDS movement through the union.”

The motion, which supports a global campaign to put non-violent pressure on Israel over occupied Palestine territories, was passed last week at KCLSU’s Student General Meeting.

KCLSU President and Chair of the Trustee Board Sebastiaan Debrouwere said: “[The Board] decided that the motion as democratically approved by Student General Meeting should stand as a record of the majority view expressed on the issue, but that we should not act on the resolves, given the laws that govern us as a charity and our wider objectives as a charity.”

“Respecting freedom of speech and the welfare of our students is one of the most difficult balances to strike – not just for KCLSU but for students’ unions in general.”

He added: “The last week has been testing for our community, but I’m confident we can come together and get through these challenging times as a stronger union of students.”

At the SGM the motion passed with 348 votes for, 252 against and 45 abstentions.

Speaking in his personal capacity, KCLSU Trustee Ben Judge said: “The decision of the Board reflects the serious implications that the motion, if made official Union policy, might have for KCLSU.

“The decision not to allocate KCLSU resources to the motion was absolutely the right decision to make and I am proud to have been a part of that process.”

Since the motion was voted on by students, there have been two incidents of Islamophobic vandalism on campus, where Muslim prayer room signs were defaced. However, it’s unclear whether the two events are related.

What is BDS?

‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ is a global campaign that aims to put non-violent pressure on Israel over the issue of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

Started in 2005, the movement aims to apply this pressure in order to force Israel to meet certain obligations under international law. It has attracted support from KCL alumni Peter Higgs and Desmond Tutu, among other figures.

This motion involved investigating KCL investments, partnerships and contracts, and putting pressure on the College to divest from any companies or institutions involved with Israel’s occupation of land.

29 Comments

  1. Theo

    31 March, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    This is reprehensible. No matter how they try to dress it up, the Trustee Board have effectively vetoed the most democratic body of the student union. It really doesn’t matter if the motion will not be overridden in its entirety if the ‘resolves’ section is removed. That’s the teeth of the motion!

    Also, the statement veers between talking of legal reasons and ‘our wider objectives’ or ‘the viewpoints expressed by students’. It is never made clear why each aspect of the motion is being vetoed, instead hiding behind an obfuscating barrier of jargon.

    • Snapview

      31 March, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      Knowing the KCLSU officer team I doubt they took this decision lightly. The Charity Commission guidelines make these campaigns legally contentious/illegal. Presumably they were faced with a choice between scrapping the policy, upholding it in full but breaking the law/risking to lose charitable status and upholding the policy but not breaking the law.

      This must have been a very difficult discussion and a very courageous decision. I can only applaud the Trustees for taking up leadership and responsibility.

    • Elizabeth

      31 March, 2014 at 7:25 pm

      I’m sorry, what part of the illegality of the motion do you fail to understand? Also made me laugh: ‘The Most Democratic Body of the Student Union’ could be a small Middle Eastern state with a horrendous human rights record. Cue Israel comparison.

      • Abs

        31 March, 2014 at 9:43 pm

        Are you saying it is now illegal to withdraw support and boycott institutions that break international law?

  2. marco

    31 March, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I STAND WITH ISRAEL

    • Abs

      1 April, 2014 at 4:06 am

      on the corpses of murdered Palestinians

      • Yenta Press

        1 April, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        If you are looking for murdered Palestinians
        go to Syria.(Yarmoch camp as an example)
        Are you going to BDS Assad?

        • Abs

          1 April, 2014 at 3:44 pm

          Thank you for that second wrong there. As we all know, two wrongs indeed make a right. Israel is no longer to blame for its crimes against humanity occurring in the occupied territories because injustices are also committed elsewhere.

          • Yenta Press

            2 April, 2014 at 5:39 pm

            “We” as MT noticed is you and the worms.
            There is a real wrong in Syria, and invented wrong which
            you parrot , which are the non existing
            “Israel crimes against humanity” , so a only a hypocrite
            will try to tie them together.

          • Harvela

            3 April, 2014 at 3:21 pm

            Abs
            I believe the standard reply you are looking for is
            # ah yes but you have to start somewhere tm

          • Abs

            3 April, 2014 at 10:59 pm

            No, my reply is that the Syrian government is not a functioning government right now and we could BDS the hell out of it but I doubt any body within KCL has any economic or social links with the Assad regime whatsoever. You can BDS Assad, and I’d love to, but I don’t think there really is anything there to boycott. It’s a bit like boycotting the moon because its not hospitable to life.

      • Rachamim Dwek

        1 April, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        You must have Israel confused with Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

      • marco

        22 April, 2014 at 8:26 pm

        If that is what it takes. Jews deserve to live in peace in their own Homeland. Arabs have 22 countries. So be prepared to meet your 72 virgins.

  3. James Dyer

    1 April, 2014 at 12:38 am

    The BDS movement is nothing less than a Westernized version of Moslem jihad…it’s aims and goals fall precisely in line with what groups such as Hamas, Fatah and Hizbullah are trying to achieve….don’t be deceived this is a very real battle against the only liberal democracy in the Middle-East and is dressed up to be something that it is not.

  4. Harvela

    1 April, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Surely someone should have told the student body this was going nowhere.
    Never mind . Next time Russia or maybe China or one of the 22 States comprising the Arab League . How about Iran ? Now that you have done with Israel
    #After all you have to start somewhere tm
    #BDSFail

  5. Rachamim Dwek

    1 April, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    BDS was founded by a man born in Qatar, raised in Egypt, who along with his entire family was allowed to immigrate TO Israel, gain citizenship, and receive a free education from Israel up to the Ph.D level. This man, Omar Barghouti, now asks people to Boycott Israeli universities because he says they are racist. When asked about his attendance at Tel Aviv University Barghouti has always stated, “I refuse to discuss it. It is a personal matter.”

    Barghouti’s charade is not only intellectually dishonest, it is hurtful to Palestinians. 90% of Palestinian imports come from Israel. 70% of Palestinian exports go to Israel. Likewise, 70% of Palestinians in Area C either work for or in “Settlements,” or else depend on those that do. The remaining 30% almost entirely depend upon the buying power of that 70%. This is why the PA firmly opposes BDS. Barghouti’s oft mentioned claim that Palestinian Civil Society founded BDS is ridiculous. A group of organisations in the Palestinian Diaspora backed Barghouti’s play when he first formed the organisation he claims was founded in Ramallah. Then, in 2005 a group of fringe intellectual organisations signed an open letter in Ramallah, before being soundly criticised by the PA and Palestinian trade unions.

  6. E ben Abuya

    3 April, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    What is BDS? It is BS; as it rests on the ludicrous premise of Palestine. That a group calls itself by a name given the region by Greek and Roman colonizers, a name that begins with a phoneme not in their alphabet, whose language, culture and documented heritage originate in Saudi Arabia; does not make them indigenes, any more than cooking lead with eye of newt turns it into gold. That Palestine (excuse me Filastin) is something besides a tissue of fabrications and decontextualized distortions to cloud the minds of the credulous; is risible. A golem designed to invert the language of human rights and weaponize it in service of the oldest racist, religious bigotry. The favorite nepenthe tyrants ladle over their oppressed “citizens.”

    Congratulations KCLSU your vote will remain in the record. A testament to what gulls for the Big Lie the highly educated can be.

    • Abs

      12 April, 2014 at 2:18 am

      So we shouldn’t care about the Palestinians’ suffering because the English word for Palestine is different from the Arabic one, which lacks the phonetic ‘P’ and in fact matches the Biblical ‘Philistines’? Should we also deny the existence of Egypt since its Arabic name is Masr and sounds nothing like Egypt? What about Germany aka Deutschland? The list is endless and I’m certain so is your idiocy.

      • E ben Abuya

        13 April, 2014 at 3:51 am

        What care do you offer the suffering drug addict? An endless free supply of drugs? Do you absolve him of all moral agency? Even when the exercise of moral agency is his only path out of dependence?
        Are the Filastini suffering? Those who cannot examine their choices honestly and accept ownership of their consequences; but who cast all responsibility onto other people, always suffer for their delusions.

        Yeah, PhilistinianoCannaaanoNabateanJebusites. Except for all the prominent Arab “Palestinian” families
        http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2014/02/zionists-trying-to-hide-canaanite.html
        Sometimes Erekat’s a Canaaanite:
        http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2014/02/erekats-latest-lie-my-family-was-in.html#.U0nSAij6-Jk
        Sometimes a Bedouin:
        http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2014/02/saeb-erekat-admits-he-is-jordanian.html#.U0nR_Cj6-Jk
        Sometimes they’re Jebusites:
        http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/12/palestinian-arabs-are-jebusites-rofl.html#.U0npiSj6-Jk

        It’s a make-believe history, chopped and diced to fit, to give the semblance of animation to the golem frankenstate they annointed in Turtle Bay; which will now perform Bizarro gestures, like joining international conventions of which it is in BLATANT violation.

        The longer, those who style themselves enlightened and progressive, enable this addiction to “the Jews ate my homework” the longer they will suffer. What care do you offer the suffering drug addict? More false hope that you will do for them, with opprobrium, that which they have failed to accomplish in more than 65 years by force of arms and terrorism?

        How much longer are you going to spend your tax dollars on salaries for self-confessed murderers paid on a sliding scale of how many Jews they killed? How much longer are you going to be an enabler, a co-dependent?

        • Abs

          13 April, 2014 at 4:00 pm

          I think you’ll find you’re the one with the incorrect citations. “The Merneptah Stele predates the earliest reference to the “Sea Peoples” by a century and a half.”
          The earliest reference of the Sea Peoples is in the Byblos obelisk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Peoples#Byblos_obelisk) of around 2000 BC or 1700 BC -dates vary-(which predates the Merneptah stele by several hundred years). You’re also missing the point. Quoting the Merneptah Stele as if it only refers to Israel. It refers to “nine bows” – i.e nine enemies of Egypt who all lived in the Levant. This hypothetical monopoly over the Levant that Israel somehow had is utterly false. There have been dozens and dozens of civilisation in the Levant, the Jewish people being only one. My argument has been that the other groups and peoples do not simply disappear, but in reality identities converge. I support this with numerous pieces of evidence, archaelogical, linguistic and genetic. The palestinian people, the Lebanese and the Jews. Among others, are very close to each other genetically. This in itself destroys any argument that the peoples were distinct and remained distinct.

          Furthermore your ill spouted rubbish comparing Palestinians to drug addicts was foul. I don’t know what orifice you pulled out the suggestion that my tax dollars went to “salaries for self-confessed murderers paid on a sliding scale of how many Jews they killed?”. You’re nothing but a demagogue who knows nothing of the middle eastern conflict. You’ve denied the existence of the Palestinian people, you’ve equated them to murderers and drug dealers and frankly, I find it disgusting that you’d so flagrantly dismiss a people who have suffered so much. I DARE you to move to Palestine and live as they do. In poverty, stateless, trapped, marginalised and murdered in their own land, with the extra added insult of having an ignoramus at Kings College London claim that they deserve it.

          • E ben Abuya

            13 April, 2014 at 10:06 pm

            You may feel free to continue to call me any names you like; and to concoct any straw man argument you wish to ascribe to me. In my experience no amount of evidence or reason will be able to penetrate that hermetically sealed counter-factual, ahistoric narrative of “Palestinian” suffering at the hands of the perfidious Israelis; that you cling to. A narrative of cherry-picked factoids, often spun out of whole cloth or based on perjured self-aggrandizing, self-justifying “testimony”.

            Those who fancy themselves “Palestinians” are addicted to the meme “The Jews Ate My Homework” It absolves them from any barbarity they might commit. It frees them from all the boring tedious work necessary to have a functioning state. Why bother when you can get a lifetime salary and a hero’s welcome; or a hero’s funeral with lavish benefits paid to your heirs and dependents; for beating an old man to death(1). Why bother to undertake painful self-examination? And, it’s a convenient explanation for why they so often fail. IT’S NOT MY FAULT! And the best part is that, wrapped in this false cloak of righteousness, they can pocket any compromises Israel offers for peace and continue their self-proclaimed campaign to destroy the Jewish peoples rights, as an indigenous people, to self-determination. There absolutely must be a twenty-third failed Arab state, or possibly even a twenty fourth (Gaza) to continue the war on the Jews. (Sorry, I’m not making this up. It’s what they themselves declare over and over again. Only the willful deaf can fail to hear them. Translations from Arabic and Farsi into English are readily available from MEMRI.org)

            Their leadership are the Pushers. They ladle this stuff on their constituents for financial gain (how much is Shua Arafat worth again? What’s in the bank accounts of Abbas’ two sons?) or in pursuit of a fascist Islamic Utopia (the Hamas and Hezbollah charters make fascinating reading.)

            And you, dear Abs, are a co-dependent enabler. In my experience you can be expected to concoct ever more grandiose condemnations and fanciful rationalizations to avoid facing the fact that you don’t actually give a rusty rat’s ass about these Arabs or any others; or you would be screaming your head off about how the Hezbolese are reducing the Palestinian Ghetto in Yarmouk Syria by starvation(2). Nah, all you crave is the warm glow that comes from believing your bogus concern for the downtrodden du jour.

            You would do well to take yourself up on your dare. Move to Gaza. Move to Ramallah. When you get tired of the female genital mutilation, the honor killings, the extra judicial murder the desecration of corpses, the imprisonment of journalists for criticizing their Palestinian Government, when you can no longer buy the excuse that Palestinian men beat their wives because of Israeli perfidy; drop me a line. (3)

            (1)http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Crime-pays-for-Palestinian-terrorists-345779
            http://www.jewishjournal.com/opinion/item/should_israel_release_prisoners_for_peace

            (2)http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/01/starving-death-syria-yarmouk-camp-201412974852695717.html

            (3)http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/honor-killings-rise-in-palestinian-territories-sparking-backlash/2014/03/02/1392d144-940c-11e3-9e13-770265cf4962_story.html
            http://genderindex.org/country/west-bank-and-gaza
            http://www.theforeignmonitor.org/2012/03/31/pa-imprisons-journalist-after-he-refuses-to-divulge-his-sources/
            http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/PA-arrests-another-reporter-over-Facebook-post
            http://www.military.com/video/operations-and-strategy/terrorism/hamas-drags-executed-body-in-gaza/1980435928001/
            http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4169/palestinian-authority-human-rights-violations
            https://www.amnesty.org/en/region/palestinian-authority/report-2013
            http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/2014/04/08/un-when-palestinian-men-beat-their-wives-its-israels-fault/

      • E ben Abuya

        13 April, 2014 at 3:56 am

        BTW- Your citation above is incorrect.
        “To correct your flawed view of ancient Levant history I might also add that Palestine as a place and a people predate the Jewish claim as they are mentioned in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics as their north-easternly neighbours the “Peleset” people.”
        Just FYI – The Merneptah Stele predates the earliest reference to the “Sea Peoples” by a century and a half. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele

  7. Harvela

    4 April, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Abs
    Agree Syria a bit difficult seeing that it ‘s tearing itself apart in time honoured Arabic fashion . Why not a vote to boycott Iran renowned for murdering its own citizens on the streets , hanging homosexuals from crane jibs and comfortably qualifying as worlds leading purveyor of terrorism . How about Russia ? Not too hot on homosexuals and also into the ocassional land grab and annexation . China . Has occupied Tibet for more than 50 years . Any thoughts ? Not that I would compare Israel , a thriving democracy , with any of the aforementioned totalitarian regimes and serial human rights abusers .
    Blame Israel for Palestinian plight ? How about blaming the Palestinians who refused to declare a nation state in 1948 and set out to destroy the nascent Jewish state instead and have continued in the same vein ever since .
    As for boycott . Phooey . It has had less than 0.003 % effect on the Israeli economy
    I suggest you help by 1.leaving your technology to charity 2. Checking the mission statement of the boycotters . PSC calls for a Palestinian state from the River to the Sea ie no Israel .
    But I do understand .
    # You have to start somewhere tm

    • Abs

      7 April, 2014 at 3:37 am

      1. Your pointless little list is a distraction and irrelevant, and most of your paragraph was thinly veiled bigotry. Name me a country with no blood on its hands. We’ve only just been hearing about the extent of the horrific CIA torturing of prisoners held for years without trial. Never mind the million dead iraqis yet not a single WMD found. I could go on….but it would not be relevant. Israel’s oppression of an entire people is far more morally repugnant than anything the above have done. Yet again, not relevant, we are discussing Israel and Palestine. The motion was Israel and Palestine. The rest are irrelevant. However….

      2.On Iran you make some bold claims so i assume you to be some sort of expert. I urge you to read up on the 1953 (CIA orchestrated by its own admission) Iranian coup which deposed a popular prime minister Mossadegh who wanted a democratic secular Iran but replaced him with the tyrannical absolute rule of the Shah (along with his CIA trained repressive police force) all because Iran wanted 50:50 on its own oil revenues from BP (then the Anglo-British oil company).

      3. I also remind you of the great and beautiful birth of Israel in the Peel commission of 1936 during which the future prime minister Winston Churchill stated his thinking behind the creation of Israel:

      “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place”

      This racist ideology was the birth of Israel, and it remains a big part of Israel. This apartheid (according to many including Jimmy Carter and Denis Goldberg – one of the many Jewish HEROES who fought and defeated apartheid in south africa) must be stopped. And it should be fought in the same way that south african apartheid was defeated-by boycotting and peaceful opposition. Our alumni Peter Higgs, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many others around the world – and it seems the democratic majority of our student body also agree on this.

      (Interestingly, apartheid in south africa was supported at the time by Israel who tried to sell SA nuclear weaponry allegedly!)

      • Harvela

        7 April, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        Abs
        You are regurgitating BDS / Marxist agit prop . I make it a point not to engage with polemicists . It’s not constructive . Think you better start preparing for the exams this summer , hopefully not in international relations .

        • Abs

          7 April, 2014 at 4:14 pm

          Whereas you, on the other hand, have regurgitated nothing but ill-conceived nonsense. From your profile I see you have commented prolifically all over the internet on the Israel-Palestine conflict but nothing you have said is of any substance. You’ve stuck to the same ineffectual argument over and over and have presented neither evidence to support your own arguments nor a rebuttal of any of my points whatsoever. Now you decide, not to argue with me, but to stick your nose up, flick through your thesaurus and decided not to debate with me any further on some asinine principle of yours. Then to top it off, you insult me. Frankly I’m glad you’re arguing against me. You’re a liability and an embarrassment to any side you support.

          • Harvela

            7 April, 2014 at 8:19 pm

            As you appear to have taken the time and effort to stalk through my profile , you will doubtless observed that I’m a fervent advocate of a two state solution . One Palestinian and one Israeli based on 67 borders with minor land swops as part of an irrevocable peace accord .
            Can you say the same Abs ? Two states for two people . No caveats . If you can then I have possibly misjudged you . If not , well it doesn’t need me to spell it out for you . How about it Abs
            One state or two ?

          • Abs

            7 April, 2014 at 9:39 pm

            I respect that a two-state solution is the one supported by the majority of both Palestinians and Israelis (i cba cite evidence just trust me on this) and I would fight for it exactly as you stated but I personally believe absolutely and whole-heartedly in a one-state solution. A state of both Palestinians and Israelis. I see no true reason why it is impossible.

            I point to mounting evidence that both the Israeli and the Palestinian historical narratives are in fact equally true. The israeli story that “Palestine” belongs to the Jews who settled there in Biblical times, lived there in Roman times, were expelled and resettled and then resettled in huge numbers again post holocaust is true. Ditto the Palestinian narrative that they are the descendants of the Peleset people named in Ancient Egyptian scriptures as their north-easternly neighbours, the Philistines of the Bible, the Palestinians that Heroditus mentioned and, more recently, the Arabs that revolted the Egyptian vassalled Ottoman rule of 1834.

            How are they both true? Well the Palestinians are descendants of all those who ever lived in Canaan, or Palestine, or Israel or whatever you wish to call it. They descend from the Canaanites, the Phoenicians, the Christian crusaders, the Amorites, Arabs, etc…and most importantly…the Jews! Wikipedia quotes a genetic study that suggested that 70% of Israeli Jews’ Y chromosomes and 82% of Palestinians’ Y chromosomes originate from the same chromosome pool. The study was by no means comprehensive but its supported by other genetic studies. This is also shown by historical documentation that strongly suggests that Aramaic was spoken by the indigenous population of Palestine in the years after the exodus of the Jews (or rather, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews) but before the advent of Islam and subsequent Arabisation and cultural assimilation with each conquest. Indeed all the separate Jewish communities have their own languages (Yiddish, Ladino, etc) influenced by their surroundings. The Palestinians are the Jews who never left, but changed with the land. Their very genetic makeup is a historical map of the dozens of ethnicities that came and went, conquered and were in turn conquered over millennia.

            Based on this I have nothing against the idea of Jewish return to Palestine/Israel/Canaan, but I do stand against the oppression and expulsion of Palestinians from their land (considering we’ve established they are simply the great mix of “those who never left” I stand by the statement of THEIR land) and definitely against the modern approach of the Israeli government of illegal nukes, illegal wars, apartheid and land grabbing. It is an affront both to human rights, to the Palestinians and crucially, to the Israeli people themselves – in whos name it is executed. A one-state solution is a beautiful and lasting solution. Jews and Muslims have lived together since the birth of Islam and the change of language and religion between the old Jews that became Palestinians, and the returning Jews that we know as Israelis, need not necessarily lead to conflict: (see the constitution of Medinah if you want the Prophet Mohammed’s view of this – and by extension the correct Islamic interpretation). Muslims and Jews can and should live together.

          • Harvela

            7 April, 2014 at 10:39 pm

            Good luck with the exams Abs .

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