TEL AVIV – Students at Trinity College Dublin voted this week to support the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel for the “long-term.”
The referendum, conducted on Thursday at the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU), passed with 1,287 votes, over 60% of all ballots cast, The Algemeiner reported.
Trinity Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) gathered some 1,200 signatures last month for a petition urging TCDSU to “comply with the principles of BDS” in all union operations and adopt a “total boycott of the State of Israel.”
Students who opposed the boycott launched a counter-campaign called “Vote No, Vote Neutrality for Trinity.” However, according to one student identified only as Eoin, the campaign faced significant obstacles including the fact that Jewish students were involved in the BDS referendum.
“We found ourselves with a smaller support base to start with than the SJP group,” he told The Algemeiner, adding that his counter-campaign was “outnumbered by at least about 10 to one.”
“Apart from a lecturer in the School of Computer Science who is Israeli and a few Erasmus [exchange] students I met during the campaigning, there [isn’t] a large presence for Israelis in Trinity, or Ireland in general, like there might be in American colleges,” Eoin said. “I do believe that this is in part why the majority of people in Trinity, and Ireland by extension, are apathetic to Israel as it is unlikely for most of us to have ever met anyone from Israel.”
On the other hand, “Pro-Palestine sentiment is extremely common among the Socialist far-left in Ireland,” he continued. “These movements see a resemblance between an occupation of Ireland under Britain with what they perceive as an occupation of Palestine by an [alien government].”
Eoin shared pictures of anti-Semitic graffiti found in bathrooms on campus, with messages ranging from “stop Zionism” to Holocaust denial to “Israel did 9/11” to calling out a Jewish professor at the college for being a “f**king Jew.”
“Most people I spoke to, even those who really sympathized with our campaign, were too shy to speak out on such a controversial topic,” he said.
He also charged the BDS activists with breaking “all the guidelines” in the lead-up to the vote, the report stated.
“They canvassed directly beside the voting booth as people were voting, and people have confided in me that they felt intimidated trying to vote against BDS when someone wearing a Palestine flag around their collar was breathing down their neck at the voting station,” Eoin said.
In a post celebrating the BDS campaign’s success, the anti-Israel activists stated, “Trinity’s financial and research ties with Israeli Apartheid makes us all complicit in the violence and inequality of its occupation.”