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The New Arab Staff

BDS win: Columbia University votes to boycott Israeli companies

Figures show 61% voted in favour of the boycott [Twitter]

Date of publication: 29 September, 2020

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Columbia University has become the latest institution to stand with Palestine on Tuesday after voting to divest from companies that do business in Israel.
The pro-Palestine Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement recorded yet another win on Tuesday after Columbia University voted in favour of boycotting Israeli companies complicit in violence against Palestinans.

The university’s student body voted 61% in favour of divesting from companies that are complicit with Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

Some 27% of students rejected and 11% abstained, according to figures, JNS reported.

The referendum, which was passed last week, recommended the institution “divest its stocks, funds and endowment from companies that profit from or engage in the State of Israel’s acts towards Palestinians that, according to the student group Columbia University Apartheid Divest (CUAD), fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.”

The move marks yet another victory for the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement. 

The pro-Palestinian movement which comprises dozens of Palestinian civil society groups, was established in 2005 as a means to promote various boycotts against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law and provides basic human rights for Palestinians.

Tuesday’s BDS win comes amid ongoing outrage over Arab normalisation pacts with Israel.

The Palestinian movement issued a stinging statement against the normalisation deal between Bahrain, UAE and Israel, saying the Arab leaders are "selling out" the Palestinian people for their own money-making interests.

"Tuesday’s White House photo-op won’t lead to peace or justice," the movement said in a statement following the official signing ceremony at the White House on September 15. "It’s a cynical deal by corrupt, fanatic Israeli, Emirati, Bahraini and US rulers to sustain their brutal repression and rights violations."

The group said that in response, it would intensify pressure for a military embargo against Israel.

Read also: UK's Trade Union Congress describes Israeli practices against Palestinians as 'apartheid' in new motion

"The UAE and Bahrain’s dictators are selling out the Palestinian people, ignoring their own citizens, for their belligerent and capitalist interests," the statement said, adding that the deals will only "escalate apartheid Israel’s ongoing land theft, ethnic cleansing, and siege of 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza ghetto".

"Supported by the absolute majority in the Arab world and progressives worldwide, Palestinians will continue to resist Israeli oppression and insist on our right to freedom, justice and equality," it concluded, calling for targeted sanctions against Israel.

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

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