Chile students vote to end ties with Israeli universities

by Ali Abunimah, Electronic
Intifada, 27 September 2016. Students at one of Latin America’s top-ranked
universities have voted to back the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment
and sanctions by a large margin. The student federation at the Pontifical
Catholic University of Chile, elected from the institution’s 25,000-strong
student body, passed the measure by 37-2 with 20

The motion, put
forward by the Organization of Solidarity with Palestine, calls for the
university to end two cooperation agreements with the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem and the Israel Institute of Technology – Technion because of their
complicity with Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian
“After weeks of
campaigning, awareness raising and debates it is with great joy and honor that
we announce that the motion [supporting BDS] was approved,” the Organization of
Solidarity with Palestine said. “We are very proud of having been the
motor for such an important effort for Palestine and humanity at large.”
The student
federation said its next step would be to urge the
university’s higher council to act on the motion.
Earlier this month,
Palestinian academics called on students and faculty at the
Pontifical Catholic University to support efforts “to end the university’s
institutional links with Israeli universities due to their deep involvement in
Israel’s system of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.”
The South African Union of Students and
the South African Student Congress (SASCO)
also sent letters to their peers in Chile urging support for the measure.
“In 2011 the University
of Johannesburg terminated its relations with Israel’s Ben Gurion University
ushering in the first academic boycott of Israel on the international stage,”
SASCO stated.
The Palestinian BDS
National Committee welcomed the vote, noting that support for the
academic boycott called for by Palestinian civil society has been growing
across Latin America.
In May, students at
the University of Chile law school backed BDS by a landslide in a referendum.
In Argentina and Brazil hundreds
of professors and researchers and a dozen colleges have also pledged to boycott
Israeli institutions.