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South African university’s student council votes to boycott Israel

PRETORIA, South Africa (JTA) — The Student Representative Council of the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa adopted a resolution calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

In the resolution passed Aug. 31, the Wits Student Representative Council declared that it will not participate in any form of cultural or academic collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions.

The resolution called on the council to meet with the Wits dean of students and other campus officials to call for support of the boycott. The council also intends to promote the annual Israel Apartheid Week.

South Africa’s Jewish Students Association told JTA on Monday that the association is still deliberating on how it will react to the resolution.

According to a council statement, the resolution originated with a proposal in July by the Wits Muslim Students Association in collaboration with pro-Palestinian forums, including the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which also was behind the South African government recent decision to ban the labeling of products from the West Bank as being produced in Israel.

Student Representative Council President Tebogo Thotela told the South African media that the resolution proposed by the Wits Palestine Solidarity Committee had been unanimously adopted.

“This is yet another progressive step in the Palestinian solidarity movement in South Africa led by the youth,” he said. 

The University of Johannesburg, one of the country’s leading academic institutions, took steps last year to boycott collaboration with Israeli research institutions by cutting off its relations with the Ben Gurion University.
 

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