Belgian Student Body Votes To Boycott Israel at Universities

The Group Represents 100,000 Students at 25 Universities

By JTA

Published May 31, 2013.
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A Belgian student association passed a motion in favor of an academic boycott of Israel.

In a vote held last month, 85 percent of the voters at a general council of the Federation of French-speaking Students in Belgium, or FEF, supported a motion which called for “a freezing of relations with Israeli universities,” the Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported Wednesday.

The resolution is not binding for Belgian institutions of higher education.

FEF President David Medez Yepez told Le Soir in an interview published Friday that his organization – which represents some 100,000 students from 25 institutions – had kept the April 13 vote secret until now “to address people who would have been shocked or startled by our position.” Some 500 delegates voted, he said.

On Wednesday, the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir reported that the move was initiated by the University of Louvain.

Citing “violations of various international law conventions committed by Israel,” the FEF motion states the “the time has come to sever ties with Israeli institutions of learning, be it through student exchanges or research.”

Maurice Sosnowski, president of the CCOJB umbrella organization representing French-speaking Jews in Belgium, slammed the vote.

“Isolating one party and preventing people from getting to know the other constitutes discrimination which runs contrary to the ethical, moral and educational role of the university,” he told the European Jewish Press.


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