(JTA) — The British National Union of Students voted to boycott Israeli companies and align with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
In a 19-4 vote with one abstention, the confederation of 600 student unions across the United Kingdom passed the pro-BDS proposal on Tuesday at a meeting of its National Executive Council.
The motion “condemns Israeli military presence in the West Bank and Gaza,” according to the Jewish Chronicle, and calls on students to “co-ordinate a nationwide student day of action to commemorate UN Palestine Solidarity Day” on Nov. 29.
Titled Solidarity with Palestine: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, the motion was proposed by the School of Oriental and African Studies students union in London.
In response to the vote, the British Union of Jewish Students said in a statement, “This motion passing divides student groups, undermines interfaith relations and suffocates progressive voices for peace on both side. It is disturbing that supposed representatives of students throughout the UK have joined a movement that at the core is not progressive or constructive in supporting two states for two peoples.”
A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of Israel told the Times of Israel that the vote had “little practical implications, since this body has already voiced anti-Israel opinions in the past.”
“Instead of expressing hatred, British students would benefit from studying history and understanding that the distance between conveying hate language and prejudice to committing despicable crimes is not that great,” the spokesman said.