February 26, 2020

University of Cape Town Senate Votes Against BDS Resolution

Photo from Pixabay.

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Senate voted down a resolution to boycott Israeli institutions on Nov. 22.

The Senate had passed the resolution in March, but the UCT council vetoed it and sent it to back the senate, saying that it needed a “more consultative process.”

The resolution came back to the senate for a vote on Nov. 22, and 68 percent voted against it.

South African Jewish Board of Deputies National Director Wendy Kahn told the Jerusalem Post that the vote was “a victory for academic freedom in our country and globally,” as the resolution “would have achieved little to contribute to peacebuilding in the region.” 

She added that the effort to get UCT to pass such a resolution had been ongoing for three years; with the resolution’s failure, UCT should focus on “the building and strengthening of this important South African tertiary institution,” Kahn said.

The Palestine Solidarity Forum at UCT, on the other hand, told the South African news outlet Independent Online (IOL), “It is a clear indication of the persisting conservatism of UCT and the fact that UCT, and the vice-chancellor, in particular, is beholden to its donors and the Zionist lobby. It sets a remarkably dangerous precedent that donors can dictate university policy – an affront to and violation of academic freedom.”