Itongadol.- Two months after the Graduate Student Union at New York University voted to join the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement against Israel, the decision was repealed this week by the group’s parent union, the United Auto Workers (UAW). The decision came after some members of the student union (GSOC) had filed an official appeal asking to reverse the resolution for violating the UWA constitution’s own bylaws.
The text of the appeal, signed by member of GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine, Ilana Ben-Ezra and addressed to the Executive Board of UAW Local 2110, had pointed out the resolution is illicit because it violates the UAW\’s pledge "to maintain free relations with other organizations”; goes against the University’s official position, which puts the union at odds with the institution ; and "vilifies” and hurts companies that are members of the parent union.
The UWA decision to approve this appeal states that no subordinate body of the parent union can endorse BDS, thus affecting not just NYU but also graduate student unions at over 15 universities, including other unions in the United States who have also passed similar pro-BDS resolutions.
According to UAW’s response to Ben-Ezra, the student group’s BDS resolution is indeed “contrary to the position of the International Union” and is void of “force or effect.” GSOC for Open Dialogue on Israel and Palestine said it “applauds and thanks” UAW for “being the first international labor union to take a strong moral stand against BDS, openly denouncing the movement’s discriminatory practices.”
The organization “Informed Grads” based at the University of California, where UAW also overturned a pro-BDS decision, thanked the parent union for “tolerating academic and cultural discrimination against union members based on national origin and religion, and vilification against Israelis and UAW members who are of Jewish lineage.”
“This significant ruling shines light on what the BDS Movement is truly about, as BDS undermines academic freedom and efforts toward peace and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians,” they said. Back in April, when the NYU student union had conducted the pro-BDS vote, the University’s President Andrew Hamilton himself had expressed opposition to the decision as well. "A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas, and at odds with the University\’s position on this matter, as well as the position of GSOC\’s parent union,” he said in a statement at the time.
"NYU will not be closing its academic program in Tel Aviv, and divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration. And to be clear: whatever \’pledges\’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott."