After a successful campaign by the University of Liverpool Friends of Palestine (ULFOP) and CAAT groups, students voted in support of a Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) policy in a preferendum last week.
The Liverpool Guild of Students now officially supports the Palestinian-led BDS movement and has a mandate to lobby the university to do the same – particularly in reference to their involvement with companies such as BAE Systems that supply arms to Israel.
The motion for the BDS policy won by a landslide. The scale of the victory clearly shows that a large majority of the student body is, or has been made, aware of Israel’s apartheid regime and oppression of the Palestinians, and is prepared to make a stand against it. Over a thousand students voted – a fantastic turnout, and a debate in the run-up to the vote filled a hall.
Kitty from ULFOP highlighted these points. She says “a turnout of over 1000 was unprecedented and the huge number of students that voted yes to adopt the BDS motion sends a clear message to the Union, University and beyond that we do not want to attend an institution that is complicit is Israel’s endless human rights abuses”.
Zohra, another ULFOP member agrees. She feels that “this vote is a genuine reflection of the mood on campus – where students from all faiths and backgrounds believe that the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people and their territories is unjust, akin to an apartheid system and thus cannot be allowed to continue”.
This win means that the Guild will no longer stock products made in Israel or Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and advocate divestment from companies that supply and profit from the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. They are also mandated to lobby against the University’s investments in these companies, as the university has ties to arms companies such as BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Qinetiq, who have supplied arms to Israel.
This vote was a huge victory for student activism. Liverpool students have raised their voices and made clear that they do not want their university to invest in military occupation, systemic discrimination and apartheid.