SSMU General Assembly motion 2016
At the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Winter 2016 General Assembly (GA) on February 22, 2016, the motion to support BDS was passed, with 512 in favour, 387 opposed, and 14 abstentions. However, in online ratification, the motion was nullified with 2819 (57%) voting no, 2119 (43%) voting yes, and 348 (6.6%) abstentions.
We will be pursuing recourse for the fact that there was illegal campaigning to vote no on the motion.
Thanks to everyone for all your support. The fight is not over.
Motion Regarding Support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement:
WHEREAS, the SSMU Constitution states that “the SSMU commits to demonstrating leadership in matters of human rights [and] social justice,”1 and the SSMU Equity Policy states that “the SSMU – an organization working with individuals, in groups, within organizations, and across a wide social and political context – shall promote a functional and anti-oppressive environment”2 ;
WHEREAS, in 2005, over 170 Palestinian civil society organizations called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and called “upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era”3 ;
WHEREAS, this call for BDS states that such campaigns are to remain in place “until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by: 1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands captured in 1967 and dismantling the Wall; 2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and 3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194”;
WHEREAS McGill holds investments in Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank,4 which operates branches in illegal Israeli settlements and provides mortgages to homebuyers and financial services to local authorities, and finances construction on settlements internationally recognized as illegal5 ;
WHEREAS, McGill holds investments in L-3 Communications,6 a company that supplied equipment to Israeli checkpoints and border crossings into Gaza, provided engines for Israeli tanks, and in collaboration with Elbit Systems assembled the Hermes 900 Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) used in Operation Protective Edge, in which Palestinians were targeted by Israeli tank fire and air strikes7 ;
WHEREAS, McGill holds investments in Re/Max,8 which sells real estate in Israel’s illegal settlements, thereby facilitating and profiting from the transfer of Israeli citizens into settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, which violates article 49 of the Fourth Geneva convention9 ;
WHEREAS, similar measures have been taken by organizations including the United Methodist Church,10 the Presbyterian Church (USA),11 the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario), the Federation nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec,12 and student unions at Concordia University,13 York University,14 Carleton University,15 University of California Los Angeles (UCLA),16 Stanford University,17 Northwestern University,18 and DePaul University19;
BE IT RESOLVED, THAT the SSMU support campaigns associated with the BDS movement through the office of the VP External, including the campaign to divest from corporations complicit in the occupation of the Palestinian territories;
BE IT RESOLVED, THAT the SSMU President lobby the McGill Board of Governors in support of BDS campaigns by:
- Reading a statement in support of divestment from companies profiting from violations of Palestinian human rights at all Board of Governors meetings;
- Recommending no less than the complete divestment of holdings in such companies and implementation of an investment screen that would prevent future investments in similar companies.