BDS Referendum at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

| SOAS Students UNION |

The SOAS Students Union was the first UK students union to vote for and support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign launched in 2005 by Palestinian civil society organisations. For over 30 years, the SOAS Palestine Society has been one of the most active societies at SOAS. SOAS students have continuously supported the Palestinian struggle for liberation and decolonisation, with SOAS becoming one of the most active campuses in Britain.

In response to the 2005 call, the SOAS Students Union voted to join, support, and campaign for the boycott of Israel. At the October Union General Meeting this academic year (2014/2015), SOAS students decided to escalate their support for BDS. A school-wide referendum has been called for to decide whether SOAS, as an academic institution, should follow the BDS guidelines and join an academic boycott of Israeli institutions and companies.

SOAS currently has links with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ), sending Hebrew language students to HUJ for their year abroad. Part of the Hebrew University campus is located on Palestinian land, Jerusalem, which was confiscated in 1968, a practice which began in 1947 and directly contravenes International Law. Furthermore, the Hebrew University has direct links with the University of Ariel, which is based in the West Bank colony of Ariel, and recognises its degrees. Finally the Hebrew University offers preferential treatment to Israeli soldiers who are engaged in the daily human rights violations in Palestine, particularly Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.

For more information regarding the most recent expansion of Hebrew University on Palestinian land read HERE

Fine HERE a report by the Alternative Information Center (AIC) arguing how Israeli Universities are complicit with military occupation.

Find HERE a video exposing the military-academic collaboration between the Hebrew University and the Israeli Defence Force.

Find HERE a video showing the response of some students from Hebrew University which explains the situation they live every day on campus.


The referendum will be open to ALL members of the SOAS community : students, academics, cleaners, security guards, caterers, faculty and support staff and management.

The referendum will be asking all members of the SOAS community whether they think SOAS should fully join the BDS campaign and implement academic boycott following the PACBI guidelines (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel).

- For more information on day-to-day events, discussions and more information coming up in the next weeks, access the SOAS BDS campaign Facebook page HERE

- For more information on what an Academic Boycott entails, read the guidelines on ’Why Boycott Israeli Universities,’ issued by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) - HERE

- To watch the opening event of the BDS campaign, held at SOAS on the 12th of January 2015, with Professor Ilan Pappé (Exeter University) and Professor Karma Nabulsi (Oxford University), click HERE