More than 50 NYU groups pledge to boycott Israel

More than 50 student groups at New York University have pledged to boycott Israeli goods and academic institutions, and are urging the school’s administration to join the cause.

Led by NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, the petition of support urges students to boycott brands such as Sabra Hummus and Hewlett Packard, boycott Israeli academic conferences and schools, and demand that NYU divest from Israeli companies. 

[RELATED: Students, profs boycott bookstore for supporting Israel]

The authors of the petition attempt to justify their view by labeling the military occupation of Palestine as a “manifestation of both settler colonialism and structural racism” while arguing that the “Israeli economy is built on and currently complicit with colonization, exclusion, and apartheid.” 

The petition also targets two student pro-Israel groups, Realize Israel and TorchPAC, both of which are dedicated to promoting support of Israel and strengthening the United States-Israel relationship.

Likewise, the petition urges students to boycott any “off-campus pro-Israel groups” including Birthright-Taglit, StandWithUs, Christians United for Israel, the Maccabee Task Force, Mosaic United, the Zionist Organization of America, and the Anti-Defamation League.

[RELATED: Megaphone-wielding students disrupt pro-Israel event at UVA]

“We support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian human rights as it is a non-violent method of resisting Israeli apartheid from abroad,” the petition states. “We call on NYU to divest its holdings from companies and funds that are complicit in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

“In just over a decade, BDS has blossomed to a global movement of religious organizations, academic associations, unions, and activist movements worldwide, and we are proud to be a part of this struggle for justice,” the document concludes. 

Clubs that endorsed the petition include NYU Mexican Student Association, NYU Sanctuary Student Taskforce, NYU Young Democratic Socialists of America, Black Students Union, NYU Against Fascism, Student Labor Action Movement at NYU, and many more.

Campus Reform reached out to the NYU administration to see if the school would consider divesting from Israel, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

[RELATED: BDS referendum moves forward at UMN]

A PJ Media analysis recently found that of the 13 universities that saw their student governments pass BDS resolutions in 2015-2016, not a single administration was persuaded to divest.

This week, the two groups targeted by the petition—TorchPAC and Realize Israel— will host a week-long educational series, Israel Peace Week 2018, to combat misinformation about Israel and promote unity on campus. 

“Over these past few weeks, our community has been repeatedly singled out, targeted, and vilified on campus,” the groups write. “But this week we will come together to demonstrate the size, strength, and pride of our community.”

[RELATED: GW student gov calls BDS a ‘moral obligation’]

“We support peace, not violence,” the organizers continue. “We support open dialogue, not boycotts. We support unity and inclusion, not division and exclusion.” 

In an an interview with Campus Reform, a representative of TorchPAC said that the group’s members are “saddened that TorchPAC has been deemed not worthy of discussion, as we have always believed in open and honest dialogue.”

“We hope this resolution will bring to light the need for more tolerance and open discussion on our campus,” the representative continued. “The boycott was unprecedented and creates a tension between students that doesn’t have to be there.”

When addressing the petition as a whole, the TorchPAC representative argued that “the academic boycott [is] specifically disturbing, as it deprives students of a well-rounded education and limits freedom of opinion.”

Campus Reform reached out to NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, but did not receive a response in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen