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October 30, 2017 10:32 am

US Jewish Leaders Call on University of Cape Town to Reject BDS Initiative

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The University of Cape Town campus. Photo: Adrian Frith via Wikimedia Commons. – The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations last week called on the University of Cape Town (UCT) to “thoroughly reject” an academic boycott initiative launched by the anti-Israel BDS movement on the South African school’s campus.

In a letter sent to UCT Chancellor Graca Machel, the Conference of Presidents urged Machel to “take a strong and principled stand” against efforts by the school’s Academic Freedom Committee to officially adopt a boycott of the Jewish state.

Conference of Presidents leaders Stephen Greenberg and Malcolm Hoenlein also outlined their concern regarding the “dangerous convergence” of anti-Zionism and antisemitism that is facilitated by the BDS movement.

“When these lines are blurred, it has a dire impact on the lives of Jewish students on campus, marking them as targets for harassment and intimidation and leading to the suppression of their freedom to express who they are as human beings, as fellow students, as South Africans,” they wrote.

UCT has approximately 250 Jewish students out of 27,000 enrolled at the school. During anti-Israel protests on the UCT campus each year throughout “Israeli Apartheid Week,” the school’s Jewish students say they become a besieged minority and receive little sympathy from university officials.

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