BDS (illustration)
BDS (illustration) Reuters

Students at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have voted against their school severing its ties with five educational institutions in Israel, CTV News reports.

In a referendum which was held on Wednesday, a total of 2,329 students voted no to a proposal recommending a cessation of cooperation with Israeli universities, while 1,803 voted in favor.

84 ballots were declined, according to the CTV report.

In the referendum, students were asked: “Do you think the University of Waterloo should sever ties with the following institutions due to their complicity in violations of human rights of Palestinians: University of Haifa, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Tel Aviv University, and the Weizmann Institute of Science?”

It was held after more than 4,000 students signed a petition opposing Waterloo’s relationships with the five Israeli schools, arguing that it was necessary due to Israel’s alleged violations of Palestinian human rights.

Students in favor of maintaining the relationships said that ending them could harm the future of the university, according to CTV.

A “yes” majority in the referendum would not have meant that the school would have to end those relationships – only that the idea would have to be considered by the university’s board.

The vote followed several similar ones in Canadian universities over the past several years.

In 2014, the student union at Toronto’s York University voted to join the BDS movement. It was preceded by Windsor University in Ontario.

Ryerson University that year also voted to join the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel, and last year, the student union at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, also voted in support of the BDS.

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