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September 27, 2016 10:33 am

Prestigious Chilean University Student Federation Passes BDS Motion to Sever Ties With Israel’s Hebrew U, Technion

avatar by Lea Speyer

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile campus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile campus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Federation of Students at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (UC) announced on Friday that it had passed a motion in support of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

With 37 votes in favor, two against and 20 abstentions, the Federation approved a motion calling for the termination of academic agreements with two Israeli institutions — the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Institute of Technology-Technion — for what it said in a Spanish-language statement are the schools’ “relationships to human right’s violations and the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.”

The Federation said its next move is to push the BDS motion through the ranks of the UC administration, specifically “the Honorable Superior Council, which deals directly with the Pro-Rector [dean] who is responsible for the international relations of our university.”

Responses on Facebook included harsh criticism of the Federation for passing the anti-Israel motion.

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One social media user wrote that she found it “curious that a place of learning would lend itself to spread antisemitic libels…I invite the flamboyant UC students, the future of our country, to read a little history and also consider if its absurd decision to cut ties with Israeli universities benefits anyone.”  

Another called it “honestly unacceptable” to support an academic boycott against Israel, which is “even more serious” than an economic one. “Censoring a position or idea, regardless of what that position is, goes against freedom of expression and against the values expressed by this university.”

Yet another stated: “If you will buy the new iPhone 7, remember that it has chips and components that were manufactured and designed in Israel…Sorry BDS.”

Someone else referred to the Federation as a group of “politically biased, leftist, ignorant children.”

The BDS motion was proposed to the Federation by the UC Organization of Solidarity with Palestine (OSP UC), which wrote in a statement that it welcomes with “great pride and joy” the decision to formally separate from “two institutions that are today active participants in the occupation and the apartheid in Palestine.”

“Long live a free Palestine!” the group added.

UC, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious universities, has a history of anti-Israel activity. In April, 64 percent of its Law Faculty students voted in favor of a BDS referendum, which also called for an academic boycott of Israeli universities that engage in “apartheid” against Palestinians.

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