UK Student Union Censures Leader for Violating Israel Boycott With Coca-Cola Sponsorship
The U.K.’s largest student union criticized its newly elected president for accepting a Coca-Cola sponsorship that the union said goes against its policy of boycotting Israel, The Independent reported on Monday.
Megan Dunn, who was elected president of the National Union of Students (NUS) in April, was rebuked for accepting the sponsorship for the National Union of Students Awards 2015 ceremony. Many of the NUS’s local constituent unions boycott Coca-Cola and have accused the U.S. soft drink giant of operating factories in territories “illegally occupied” by Israel, according to The Independent.
The union’s executive council reportedly passed Dunn’s censure by a 20 to 14 vote with two abstentions. The motion criticized Dunn’s “refusal to accept that Coca-Cola is a target of the BDS movement or to release an apology for accepting their sponsorship.”
According to the NUS rules, a censure vote is a criticism of an individual or group, indicating that the union is unhappy with their actions. It is not as serious as a vote of no confidence, which calls for the official’s removal.
Senior officers of the group boycotted the annual awards ceremony in protest of the Coca-Cola sponsorship, and a number of local union representatives and officers also refused to attend, The Independent said.
The NUS passed a resolution to adopt Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) measures in June.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the NUS for its policy earlier this year, saying, “They boycott Israel but they refuse to boycott ISIS.”
“They condemn Israel and do not condemn ISIS; they condemn themselves,” he added. “Israel has an exemplary democracy. We have academic freedom, press freedom, human rights. ISIS tramples human rights to the dust.”