For Immediate Release
Vancouver, BC – On Friday before Shabbat, the Alma Mater Society (AMS) of the University of British Columbia (UBC) announced the results of a referendum calling for boycott, divestment, and sanctions measures against Israel. In total, 1,396 AMS members voted in favour of the resolution and 1,513 voted against it.
In response, Jason Murray, Pacific Region Chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), issued the following statement:
“For the second time since 2015, anti-Israel activists were unable to convince a critical mass of UBC students to support a BDS resolution. We are pleased that students voted to reject this proposal, and we applaud those students who organized and led the ‘no’ campaign. We also commend our partners Hillel BC and StandWithUs Canada, both of whom worked with us in supporting students at UBC.”
“These types of anti-Israel 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 meaningful debate.”
“In singling out and demonizing Israelis, BDS undermines dialogue, economic cooperation, and ultimately peace between people on both sides of this painful conflict. We note that no university in North America has adopted BDS measures, and we have every confidence that UBC will continue building partnerships with Israelis.”
Rabbi Philip Bregman, Executive Director of Hillel BC, stated:
“Our tradition says that when the Children of Israel stood at Mt. Sinai to receive the ‘Law’, they said, Na-aseh Ve-neshma—’we will do and we will hearken’. The doing comes first. We can never stand idly by, and we here at Hillel BC know this. And so we are thrilled that the BDS referendum did not pass. This is due to the tremendous effort that went into convincing people to vote no.”
“We need to mention that the Vote No campaign was waged with the support of many different people and organizations. We would like to commend all the students who actively participated and contributed to the campaign. We would also want to thank those organizations that were there with us not only this week, but since September 2016, when we first got wind that another BDS referendum was likely to again rear its ugly head at UBC. Those organizations include CIJA, StandWithUs, UBC Chabad, UBC’s AEPi Chapter and the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver.”
Meryle Kates, Executive Director of StandWithUs Canada stated:
“This vote once again ensures that UBC will not participate in a campaign of hate against Israel and its people. We are especially proud of the students who ran the VoteNoUBC campaign, and succeeded despite facing a referendum question that was widely acknowledged to be loaded in favour of the other side. StandWithUs Canada congratulates UBC for coming together and recognizing that bigotry and discrimination should not be tolerated on their campus.”
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and all of Canada’s Jewish Federations.
For more information, please contact:
Director, Pacific Region, CIJA