University of Winnipeg
University of Winnipeg iStock

The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) on Wednesday voted against a motion in favor of adopting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Anti-Israel activists were unable to persuade a critical mass of University of Winnipeg students to support this initiative, thanks to students who organized the campaign opposing it.

The move was welcomed by Hillel Winnipeg as well as by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and StandWithUs Canada.

“This would not have happened without the tireless work of students who refused to remain silent in the face of discrimination,” said Arielle Branitsky, Director of Hillel Winnipeg.

“Their efforts ensured that this hateful motion failed. Initiatives like these only fuel bigotry and deepen divisions while doing nothing to advance meaningful dialogue on the conflict,” she added.

Judy Zelikovitz, Vice President, University and Local Partner Services at CIJA, welcomed the rejection of BDS as well.

“We are pleased that UW students voted to reject BDS. We commend our partners, Hillel Winnipeg and StandWithUs Canada, both of which worked with us in supporting students at UW. BDS initiatives are at odds with academic freedom and often violate human rights codes by calling for discrimination on the basis of national origin. They have no place on a campus that welcomes diversity and debate,” she said.

CIJA, Hillel and StandWithUs will continue to work in partnership to support students combating hate, discrimination and BDS on campus, stressed a statement by CIJA.

In recent years, there have been attempts to promote BDS in several universities in Canada. Some of these attempts have been successful while others have failed.

In May, the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia rejected a call to support BDS.

In January, a planned referendum at a university in London, Ontario, on whether to endorse BDS was cancelled after Jewish students successfully argued that it violated the mandate of the college’s student council.

Last November, the General Council of the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union voted down a proposal to transform its “BDS Ad Hoc Committee” into a permanent fixture of the organization.