Students from the University of Chile vote for academic boycott of Israeli by a large majority

PNN/Bethlehem

64% of students from the University of Chile support that the House of Study should cut institutional links with Israeli universities and 56% rejects to carry out activities that involves representatives of the State of Israel.

Two questions were asked by the organizers of the BDS Movement (Boycott, Sanction and Disinvestment) in the Faculty of Law of the University of Chile in Santiago del Chile, where every student of that House of Study could vote last Monday.

Both answers gave Boycott to Israel a sweeping victory. It is a movement in which a group of students from several faculties has been working for months.

The first question said: “Do you agree not to perform activities in the Faculty of Law that involves the participation of representatives of the State of Israel or that are funded by the Embassy of Israel in Chile?”.

515 people answered yes and 399 said no.

The second question was: “Do you agree that the University of Chile cuts institutional links with Israeli universities that contribute directly to the violation of human rights against the Palestinian people?”.

582 people said yes and 327 answered no.

“This is an historic achievement for us and a significant precedent to spread this necessary call. As students of the University of Chile, we think that it is incongruous for our House of Study to be complicit of a State that constantly violates the Human Rights and that maintain an Apartheid regime during 68 years of impunity, especially when  it proclaims itself as an institution that has social awareness, critical and ethical responsibility and that seek the social good”, said representatives of the BDS UChile movement.

By the end of October 2015, this movement achieved its first triumph. After the visit of the Israeli Ambassador Rafael Eldad to the University of Chile´s Faculty of Law to talk about the Israeli presence at the UN, a group of students organized a protest.

The day after that riot, an extraordinary assembly took place that counted with the participation of over 130 students whom decided to forbid any future activities that count with the participation of representants of the State of Israel.

This decision was immediately rejected by students and academics from the Jewish community supporting the argument that it was an illegitimate vote.

The polemic scaled to the point that the Faculty of Law´s dean, Mr. Davor Harasic, had to intervene.

Finally, both parts reached the agreement to do several conferences, forums and activities to inform about BDS movement. After that, it would take place a plebiscite.

Some weeks ago, BDS Chile was launched. This coincided with the visit to Chile of several BDS´s international leaders: Mahmoud Nawajaa, theGeneral Coordinator of the National BDS Committee in Palestina; Kwara Kekana, the national spokeswoman for BDS South Africa and Pedro Charbel, the Campaign Coordinator for Latin America of the  PalestinianNational BDS Committee.

They were doing a Latin American tour under the frame mark of the 12th Week against Israeli Apartheid that included Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia.

During their stay in Chile, the leaders had the chance to meet Ambassadors, members of the Chilean parliament, the Palestinian community in Chile and students.

After this visit and several activities organized by students of the University of Chile, last Monday took place the vote that gave the large triumph to BDS UChile.