Anti-Semitism on Campus

Campus, church extremism
Friday 03rd, April 2015

Last week, students at the University of British Columbia rejected a referendum question that would have urged the student society to boycott Israeli businesses and products.

But the news was by no means all good when the results came in last Friday night. In fact, more students voted yes in support of BDS (boycotts, divestment, sanctions) than voted no. The question was defeated effectively on a technicality, with the number of students voting yes failing to reach quorum. Therefore the question failed.

Students were asked: “Do you support your student union (AMS) in boycotting products and divesting from companies that support Israeli war crimes, illegal occupation and the oppression of Palestinians?” The yes side received 3,493 votes, 2,223 students voted no and 435 registered their abstentions. To pass, the vote required 4,130 yeses, representing eight percent of eligible students.

In this, too, there is good news and bad news. The low turnout indicates that students at the university have better things on their mind than the conflict between Israel and its neighbors. It has become increasingly clear in recent years that the anti-Israel movement on college campuses in North America is comparatively small. Yet the damage this narrow group of extremists can do to the comfort and security of Jewish and Zionist students – and to the broader objective of an inclusive, welcoming environment – has been serious and detrimental.

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