Jewish students at City University say there was “appalling intimidation” before a student union motion to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement passed on Thursday night.
According to those present, students arguing against the motion were “physically intimidated by jabbing and poking” and “told to shut the f*** up”. Others were filmed despite this being banned, while others were reportedly called a “piece of s**t”.
The angry scenes, during which 150 people at City Student Union voted to support the BDS campaign for the second time in 15 months, drew an angry response from the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) on Friday morning.
“We are disgusted by – and strongly condemn the use of – intimidatory tactics by individuals supporting the BDS motion and we are supporting students who are submitting complaints,” said a UJS spokeswoman.
“These appalling actions explicitly caused both Jewish and non-Jewish students to feel unsafe and caused some to abstain on the motion for fear of harassment.”
Among those who opposed the motion were City and Cass Jewish Society and the Israeli Society, with presidents Abby Frohwein and Eliana Friend “arguing against the motion and in favour of productive, informed dialogue instead”.
Frohwein, President of City and Cass Jewish Society, said the motion “effectively shuts down productive debate” and that BDS “does not offer a constructive way forward”.
She added: “We are very disappointed that the motion passed after we offered alternatives and ways of working together, rather than working against each other.
“The Jewish Society will continue to support the vibrant Jewish life of City students, whilst working with the University, Union of Jewish Students and University Jewish Chaplaincy to attempt to overturn the policy.”