Press Release: Students Defeat BDS at the University of Ottawa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 5, 2017

Ottawa, ON – Today, an initiative to advance Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) against Israel was defeated at the Students’ Federation of the University of Ottawa’s (SFUO) Board of Administrators. At a meeting of the Board of Administrators this afternoon, a resolution endorsing BDS was amended to remove all mention of BDS – thanks to the successful intervention of student activists and Hillel Ottawa, with the support of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Dovi Chein, Director of Hillel Ottawa, said: “We commend the SFUO for removing the reference to BDS from this resolution. We are incredibly proud of the students who made a powerful case today for the SFUO to reject the destructive and divisive path of BDS. It would have been particularly appalling for the SFUO to endorse such a discriminatory resolution just weeks after a failed attempt to revoke the club status of Hillel and the Israel Awareness Committee.”

Andrea Freedman, CEO and President of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, said: “We applaud Hillel and the students who were successful in defeating this attempt to import BDS to the SFUO’s agenda. Boycotting Israel denigrates the very identity of Jewish students. On this basis alone, no responsible student government should ever endorse BDS. Every student has a right to feel welcome and safe on campus, and we will continue engaging the University at the highest levels to express our concerns about the damaging effect of anti-Israel activism on campus.”

Judy Zelikovitz, Vice President of University and Local Partner Services at CIJA, said: “This is another key defeat for the BDS movement on campus, for which great credit goes to Hillel and student activists at the University of Ottawa. Targeting Israelis for boycott is discriminatory, counter-productive to peace, and absolutely at odds with academic freedom, which is why no university administration in North America has endorsed BDS. We are pleased that the SFUO recognized today that endorsing BDS would only serve to marginalize Jewish and pro-Israel students on campus, undermining the SFUO’s own mandate to represent the best interests of all students.” 

CIJA, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, and Hillel Ottawa will continue to work in partnership to support students combating hate, discrimination and BDS on campus.

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The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of the Jewish Federations of Canada-UIA.

For more information, please contact:

Adir Krafman
Manager, Communications and Media Relations
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
416-820-6871
akrafman@cija.ca

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