The Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU) rejected on Wednesday a motion calling for sanctions against Israel.
The OUSU motion calling for the Oxford student union to boycott Israeli institutions, goods and produce lost by a vote of 69-10, with 15 abstentions.
The motion would have seen the union joining the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement in protest of what was described as “Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and its hindrance of attempts to create a Palestinian state.”
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) welcomed the decision to reject the motion, saying, “We welcome the decision of the Student Union, a decision that had it been accepted would certainly have stained both the institution and the students.”
“I hope that other countries, organizations and institutions understand that waving the flag of progress in one hand and waving the flag of boycotts in the other means waving of two flags that cannot exist side by side,” said Yishai.
Wednesday’s vote came following increased tensions on campus last week as British lawmaker George Galloway walked out of a lecture hall during a debate with an Israeli student, saying “I don’t recognize Israel and I don’t debate with Israelis,” after becoming aware of his opponent’s nationality.
“I refused this evening at Oxford University to debate with an Israeli, a supporter of the apartheid state of Israel,” Galloway posted on his Facebook page following the incident.
Earlier on Wednesday, the European Union formally recommended that its 27 member states “prevent” Israeli activity in Judea and Samaria through an economic boycott of Jewish communities in those regions.
The EU's latest boycott recommendation came to light in the publication of the EU’s Jerusalem Report 2012, in which the European body recommends its members avoid financial transactions with Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.