Humanities Students at Chile’s Largest University Endorse Academic Boycott of Israel
Humanities students at Chile’s largest public university voted on Monday to support an academic boycott of Israel, an anti-Zionist group at the school announced.
More than 80 percent of voters in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at Universidad de Chile called for the severance of ties with Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, activists supportive of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign said.
Some 90 percent of voters also called on the university to break ties with any Israeli schools, institutions, and companies “that directly contribute to the violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people.”
The BDS campaign seeks to isolate Israel until it recognizes number of Palestinians demands, including the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees and their five million descendants into Israel.
The vote coincided with riots held on Monday as part of the Hamas-led “Great March of Return,” during which 40,000 Palestinians, some of whom were armed, approached and tried to breach the Gaza border. Sixty-two Palestinians were killed and more than 2,500 injured in ensuing clashes, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.
Chile has the largest Palestinian community outside the Arab world, estimated to be around 500,000 people. The local Jewish community numbers around 18,000.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera earlier this month, shortly after sparking international condemnation by claiming the Holocaust was not caused by antisemitism, but opposition to Jewish practices of “usury [unscrupulous money-lending] and banking and such.”
The president of Chile’s Jewish community, Shai Agosin, told JNS this week that the country’s Palestinian Federation “has repeatedly published cartoons on its website that rely on caricature and ancient anti-Semitic tropes reminiscent of the 1930s Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer.”
“In April, the General Union of Palestinian Students called for banning a Jewish student’s candidacy for a student council post at the University of Chile on the basis of his being ‘a known Zionist,'” he said. In another incident, “major student unions from the University of Chile and the Catholic University of Chile refuse[d] an invitation to attend an educational tour of Santiago’s Jewish Interactive Museum, claiming Zionism as the reason.”