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KCLSU to Jews: You are not welcome

By endorsing a boycott of Israel, the student union normalized social discrimination on campus

When Jewish students are reduced to tears, when our elected representatives scream ‘shame on you’ to the people they are meant to represent, when one student is described as ‘mentally retarded’ for simply holding a political opinion, I cannot see how our student union is fulfilling its mandate.

In passing a motion to boycott Israel, the King’s College London student union has sent a disturbing message to a sizeable contingent of our student body.

You are not welcome. You are complicit in ‘human rights’ violations. You are ‘immoral’ for standing for the right of a country to exist.

As someone who identifies as being pro-Israel, with lifelong ties to the country, I feel targeted for my political views. Nobody should be demonised, intimidated and singled out for holding a political opinion. That is totalitarianism. It represents a trend which epitomises everything our student union stands against.

The motion achieved nothing practical. Even its supporters recognised this. It was largely ‘symbolic’ as they put it. With this in mind, the only possible reason why it was proposed was to inflame existing tensions which exist in our community. It aimed to provoke. It intended to divide.

And the motion succeeded in doing just that. No Israeli student can feel welcome on our campus – you’ve just sent them the message that their country is akin to apartheid South Africa (an immoral, offensive and simply woefully inaccurate comparison).

Nor does any Jewish student feel welcome on campus. When being pro-Israel is supposedly a crime, it is the Jewish population that are the easy targets. Walking across campus can be agony when you are looked upon as an ‘apologist for apartheid.’ Social discrimination has become the norm.

I can assure you the motion’s supporters will do their upmost to ensure divestment is taken to the extreme. If that means no Kosher food on campus, so be it. If that means the Jewish Society should not engage in certain activities, they’ll be certain to place pressure on them.

In voting for the BDS, our union has institutionalised discrimination. The trustees will be sure to revoke these measures – but it sends a horrible message, and shames us all.

The real face of BDS
The real face of BDS

As much as I am disgusted by the result of the motion, I am reassured in that it does not reflect the real opinions of the vast majority of the student population.

The moderates have spoken out against this disgraceful motion. The University has spoken against it. In the coming days, dozens of alumni will express their outrage.

On Tuesday night, a radical minority exploited a highly inactive student body. This radical minority engages in everything from celebrating terror against innocent civilians to sanctioning Holocaust denial material on the internet. These extremists have managed to push through their vile agenda.

As students, we cannot afford for this to happen again. This serves as a wakeup call for our community.

No minority should feel alienated on campus. As it stands, since I’m a Jew, I’m not made to feel welcome.


About the Author
Samuel Philip Steinbock serves as a representative for the Union of Jewish Students on the Board of Deputies. He is affectionately known as The Bock and leader of the #BockNation. In his spare time he is a student at King’s College London and President of the King's College London Israel Society.