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April 19, 2019 4:53 pm

Dublin City University Students Pledge ‘Active Solidarity With Palestine,’ Endorse Israel Boycott

avatar by Shiri Moshe

Dublin City University. Photo: Sean Hobson.

Students at Dublin City University voted to endorse the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel this week, committing their union to lobby against ties with Israeli institutions.

The referendum — which was voted on by 1,764 students, 80 percent of whom were in favor — called on the DCU Students’ Union to “adopt a stance in active solidarity with Palestine” through BDS.

According to DCU Students for Justice in Palestine, the referendum directed the Students’ Union to promote “the issue of Palestine” and lobby the university to cut ties with Israeli companies and institutions that were accused of complicity “in occupation and apartheid.”

The results of an earlier referendum held on BDS this semester were nixed following technical issues.

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SJP chairperson Stephanie O’Toole, who said she formed the club eight months before the referendum, said the results came after “two semesters of mobilising and educating.”

“[W]e knew the odds were against us but israel’s apartheid is hard to defend when it’s laid out in plain facts,” she wrote on social media.

O’Toole, a self-described Marxist-Leninist, has in the past published multiple posts objecting to Israel’s existence.

“good morning what a beautiful day to turn israel into isn’treal,” she wrote in an October tweet that has since been deleted.

The Ireland Israel Alliance (IIA) said it was “very disappointed” by the referendum, noting that it had previously tried without success to set up a debate at DCU where students could hear an opposing side on BDS.

“With no dialogue or debate, many students are simply unaware of the true nature of the BDS movement,” IIA director Jackie Goodall told The Algemeiner.

She nonetheless expressed confidence “that the BDS vote is unlikely to have any impact on the University’s dealings with Israel.”

The BDS campaign has drawn criticism from major Jewish groups in Europe and worldwide, in part for denying the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination and comments — including from BDS leader Omar Barghouti — endorsing “armed resistance.” Supporters say it aims to promote Palestinian human rights and reverse the injustice of establishing a Jewish nation-state in land claimed by Arabs.

Last March, SJP at Trinity College in Dublin spearheaded a successful referendum urging the school’s Students’ Union (TCDSU) to adopt a long-term policy endorsing BDS. Photos of campus graffiti shared at the time with The Algemeiner by a student who opposed the boycott showed messages denouncing Zionism, denying the number of Jewish Holocaust victims, blaming Israel for the 9/11 terrorist attacks and calling one Trinity professor a “f**king Jew.”

To fulfill its new mandate, the TCDSU held its first “Anti-Apartheid Week” last month.

“Students staged an anti-apartheid action in supermarkets in the city centre, where they presented trolleys filled with Israeli and settlement goods to store management and delivered a statement calling for the stores to ‘end the sale of goods from Apartheid Israel,'” the student-run Trinity News reported.

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