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By: Lina Assi

Boycotts Divestment and Sanctions was introduced to our campus last March at the General Assembly, and has been a contentious topic on campus. This debate has led to several misconceptions amongst the McMaster student body. One of the main criticisms has been that BDS targets our fellow Jewish students, and it has been mislabeled as anti-Semitic. This begs the question, if a movement that promotes ethical purchasing is unjust, aggressive and bigoted, how was it adopted in a vote that included more than 600 McMaster students at last year’s General Assembly?

In short, the BDS movement is not a discriminatory policy. It does not target McMaster students of Jewish faith, nor does the BDS movement seek to dismantle the state of Israel. The main objective of the BDS movement is to hold Israel accountable for its infringement of international law that seeks to provide indigenous Palestinian communities with their basic human rights. The lack of knowledge regarding the BDS movement has led to the derailment of tackling the main issue of  illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

BDS was supported by many student groups and non-government organizations, including the Hamilton Chapter of Jewish Voices for Peace. Last year, students in support of Palestinian human rights organized initiatives on campus that involved Jewish and Israeli speakers that addressed the infringement of human rights by Israel.

One of the main catchphrases of the student groups promoting Palestinian rights on campus is “we don’t want your anti-Semitism!” An organization of students on campus that seek to bring justice to one ethnic group and injustice to another would be counterintuitive and quite frankly, hypocritical. Students that support BDS legislation on our campus did so to speak out against injustice to the indigenous Palestinian population and, I assure you, would do so again for any injustice we witness today. The BDS legislation on our campus strictly addresses corporations that are profiting from the illegal settlements in the Palestinian Territories, settlements that have displaced thousands of people and caused harm to the Palestinian communities on several levels.

As a McMaster student, I invite you to take it upon yourself to pass judgment on this movement only once you have done your research about what BDS legislation on our campus means. It is an initiative that seeks to promote justice in accordance with our values at McMaster. To pass a snap judgement does not do justice to any party involved in this complex issue.

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