Irish students vote for Israel boycott by landslide

Students at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) have overwhelmingly voted to endorse the Palestinian call for boycotting Israel.

Official results of the 6 March vote showed that 1,954 students voted “yes” to a motion “That NUI Galway Students’ Union actively supports the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] against the State of Israel.”

The “no” vote was 1,059.

Fionnghuala Nic Roibeaird, of NUI Galway’s Palestine Solidarity Society, which actively campaigned for the “yes” vote, said, “This is a landmark victory in Ireland for the growing international campaign to boycott Israel until it complies with international law and ends its illegal occupation of Palestine, and no doubt [NUI Galway Student Union] is just the first of many student unions in Ireland to endorse such a campaign.”

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) welcomed the 2-to-1 victory for the BDS motion.

The group’s chair Martin O’Quigley said “This is an historic victory for those who stand in solidarity with Palestinians living under the heel of Israel’s racist, apartheid system of occupation and colonization.”

Israel embassy role

O’Quigley also praised the students “who stood with the oppressed on the right side of history and endorsed this measure, despite a stream of venomous anti-Palestinian propaganda and dirty tricks being injected into the debate from off-campus forces, including the Israeli Embassy in Ireland’s failed attempts at using social media to influence the outcome.”

Indeed, the Israeli embassy in Dublin which is notorious for its offensive use of social media, took the extraordinary step of publicly campaigning against the referendum,claiming in one of its Facebook postings that a vote for BDS would be a vote for “anti-Semitism.”

During the campaign, opponents had tried to use de facto Palestinian Authority leaderMahmoud Abbas’ recent anti-BDS statements as a way to discredit the campaign.

NUI Galway’s Palestine Solidarity Society responded with the graphic above highlighting the broad support for BDS – a Palestinian-initiated campaign – among Palestinians themselves.

Irish Nobel laureate deported

The vote to endorse BDS came just days after Egypt detained and deported Irish Nobel Laureate and peace activist Mairead Maguire from Cairo airport.

Maguire, a vocal opponent of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, had been part of a women’s delegation trying to reach Gaza.

The delegation included CODEPINK activist Medea Benjamin who was badly beaten before being deported by Egyptian forces.

Due to Israel’s tight siege of the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip, the Rafah crossing with Egypt has become the only outlet for the vast majority of the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza.

Since a military coup overthrew Egypt’s elected president last July, the US-backed army regime has tightened its closure of the Rafah crossing.

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