UJS are disappointed that City SU passed a motion to support the BDS campaign last night, for the second time in 15 months, at a meeting attended by around 150 students. A third BDS motion proposed to City SU last year was pulled by the proposers prior to being debated, due to lack of support.
BDS is a divisive movement that prioritises a single narrative in place of nuanced and respectful discussion. It divides peers, alienates Jewish students and creates an atmosphere that can and has fuelled antisemitism on campuses across the UK.
Whilst we are extremely disappointed that the motion passed, we are proud of City and Cass Jewish Society and Israeli Society, particularly the Presidents Abby Frohwein and Eliana Friend respectively. Both women argued against the motion and in favour of productive, informed dialogue instead. We are also grateful to the members of a wide range of societies who attended the meeting in support.
We are disgusted by and strongly condemn the use of intimidatory tactics by individuals that supported the BDS motion, and we are supporting students who are submitting complaints. These appalling actions explicitly caused both Jewish and non-Jewish students to feel unsafe and caused some to abstain on the motion for fear of harassment.
Furthermore, we oppose the photography of public voting that took place at the meeting after the use of cameras had been banned by the Chair. This tactic was clearly intended to further intimidate students and influence their votes and has no place in a students’ union.
UJS will continue to support City and Cass J-Soc and Israeli Society to ensure that Jewish students’ concerns are heard and acted upon by the appropriate parties, and to work with the university to ensure that Jewish students at City are able to continue their studies free from concern.
Concerned students at City University are always welcome to contact UJS.
Statement from Abby Frohwein, President of City and Cass Jewish Society:
‘This motion effectively shuts down productive debate, one of the key features of university life. BDS does not offer a constructive way forward and we are very disappointed that the motion passed after we offered alternatives and ways of working together, rather than working against each other. The Jewish Society will continue to support the vibrant Jewish life of City students, whilst working with the University, Union of Jewish Students and University Jewish Chaplaincy to attempt to overturn the policy.’