German students ban BDS on campus at Gutenberg University

Gutenberg University's student council voted to classify the boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign targeting Israel as antisemitic.

May 23, 2018 17:45
1 minute read.
Anti-BDS poster

Anti-BDS poster. (photo credit: JWG LTD)


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For the second time this month, German students at a large university voted to reject the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS) targeting the Jewish state, declaring BDS to be an antisemitic-animated attack on Israel and academic freedom.

The student council at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz unanimously voted against BDS last Wednesday in a binding resolution that said: “The student parliament of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz condemns the antisemitic boycott campaigns, like the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), and works against the implementation, participation and support of such campaigns and events on JGU.”

Just a day before the Gutenberg students voted to ban BDS, Heidelberg University’s student council voted to classify the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targeting Israel as antisemitic and bar university space and funds to advocates of BDS.

The Gutenberg student council’s resolution said no entity of the student body can support or participate in the boycott movement against Israel.

“We consider international cooperation as essential for science, especially the cooperation of JGU with Israeli universities,” the resolution said.

The Moshe Dayan Faction at JGU was the main sponsor of the resolution. The youth organization of the Social Democratic Party Juso also supported the anti-BDS resolution. Two additional student groups, the RCDS Mainz and the LHG Mainz faction, supported the measure.

The resolution said: “As a student body we position ourselves against antisemitic measures that include the exclusion of Israeli academics from conferences in the context of boycott campaigns.”

The students said they would aim to educate that the prevention of cooperation, or cancellation of work, with Israeli academics is motivated by “antisemitic intentions.” The resolution said the BDS campaign targeting Israeli academics is an “attack on academic freedom.”

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, named after the printer Johannes Gutenberg, has some 36,500 students. It is one of the 10 largest public universities in Germany and is located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

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