SJP submits petition for TCDSU referendum on Israeli boycott

The Electoral Commission may a date for the referendum

The Trinity Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group handed in a petition calling for a referendum on Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU)’s support of a College-wide boycott of Israel on “anti-apartheid” grounds today.


The group gathered approximately 1,200 signatures, exceeding the 500 quota. In a statement to Trinity News, the group stated that the “signatures were collected over several days in December on stalls around campus”.


The petition is calling upon TCDSU to “support and endorse the global Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement,” and to “comply” with the “principles of BDS in all Student Union shops, trade, business and other Union operations”. In addition, the petition is looking for the establishment of a “BDS implementation group open to all members of the union that will ensure compliance” with the movement, and to “lobby government and relevant external organisations to support BDS and the Palestinian anti-apartheid cause”.


The petition aims for the Union to “campaign and lobby College to adopt BDS” by means of a “total boycott of the State of Israel”. This includes “cultural, academic and economic” boycott, as well as “divestment of college funds from Israeli and other companies listed on the BDS Divestment List. Divestment should also involve termination of contracts with companies complicit in Israel’s violations of international law, the occupation of Palestinian Territories and/or violations of the Human Rights of Palestinians”.


In the statement, SJP said :“The remarkably positive response we’ve received from classmates and students at large is testament to the relevance of BDS as a student issue. In the last two years we’ve seen two similar campaigns launched and supported by the SU, Fossil Free TCD and the Boycott Aramark campaign. The successes of these campaigns goes to show that Trinity students care about ‘big issues’ and are not afraid to act to effect change in line with our passionately held beliefs, both within College and beyond. We believe that the drive for BDS will prove this point once more.”


The group highlight Trinity’s “extensive research collaboration” with Israeli institutions and the “Israeli Military-Industrial Complex”. College also has academic links with the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Weizman Institute for Science. College has invested €344,995 in BAE Systems, the third largest military contractor in the world. The group state that the company is “a major provider of military technology to Israel”.


“Trinity students bravely joined a fledgling campaign to boycott apartheid South Africa” in the 1980’s, the group noted. “The students secured an institution-wide academic, economic and cultural boycott of South Africa until the end of Apartheid. This brave stand, along with the famous Dunnes Stores strike were the start of a domino process that grew a formidable international campaign that complemented the efforts of the Anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. Today House 6 is officially named Mandela House, a permanent memorial of the last brave stance taken in Trinity against Apartheid.”


Concluding the statement, SJP said: “We look forward to starting a productive dialogue on campus, convincing people and delivering a strong statement of our solidarity during this referendum campaign, echoing the proud anti-apartheid tradition of our union and university. Free Palestine!”


On April 4  last year, a motion was brought to Student Council seeking TCDSU to support a boycott of the state. The motion called TCDSU to “inform students on the background to the situation in Israel and Palestine,” as well as setting up a student led Palestinian solidarity group. The motion sought the Union to lobby for “the divestment of university funds from Israel”.


During last year’s TCDSU elections, then-presidential candidate Kevin Keane pledged his support to the campaign and “for non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel on human rights grounds. To advocate the full academic and economic boycott of Israel by Trinity College Dublin, in accordance with guidelines laid out by the Palestinian Campaign for Academic and Cultural Boycott and the global BDS movement”. However, following his election, Keane spoke against the motion when it was brought to Council. The motion was defeated.


In April last year, SJP were fined €150 following their protest of a talk, organised by the Society for International Affairs (SoFIA), given by the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Ze’ev Boker. Approximately 30 SJP protesters prevented the question and answer session with Boker from taking place.

Seana Davis

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.
Seana Davis
  • David Mooney

    I am an ex editor of Trinity News and keep my eye on events at TCD. I am also a supporter of Israel, not everything that Israel does, just a person who wishes Israel well and hopes for its continued success.

    I am probably old enough to have heard every side of the BDS argument and would urge TCD students to do the same. Israel is far from perfect, but it is not an apartheid state. In its region it is a beacon of fairness when it comes to the treatment of its minorities – consider for even a moment the treatment of minorities or dissenters in its neighboring countries.

    When I read arguments for BDS I ask myself what would these people like Israel to do. What policies would they like Israel to pursue, and what do they think the consequences of such policies would be. Israel has countries around it that freely admit they would like to annihilate it and destroy the state and its people – that’s a lot of pressure on a tiny state with a small population.

    While respecting the opinion of all, I am disappointed this petition gathers even one signature.

    • freb

      I too was involved with Trinity News and debated at the Phil the History and the recently established DUAIA in the late 1950s and 1960s
      I was present at the meeting which established the USI

      I am absolutely disgusted at the proposed motion
      which means that Middle East peace will be even further away
      as well as discouraging reconciliation

      What are this motley mob doing about the Syrian dead?
      More than 10,000. times the numbers of people have been killed in 7 years
      in Syria than in 100 years in Palestine
      Why don’t they get back to study and leave world affairs to informed experts

      Next time a TCD undergraduate student phones me for my annual alumni donation. He/She will receive a lecture about politics
      and maybe…… no donation for TCD

      • David Mooney

        Freb: you are therefore even older than I am! I’m 1980s vintage.

        Keep contributing to Trinity please. BDS campaigns are on every campus around the world and people who support Israel need to engage calmly, with facts.

        I see no vision for peace in the BDS campaign and it is peace that the region needs. Students probably need to figure this out for themselves but that is what a university is for.

    • McCarthaigh

      What’s not apartheid about segregated roads, schools, skunk cannons, imprisonment of minors, land theft, forced evictions and home demolitions, harassment, bias in the courts towards Israeli’s, police and military brutality….. the list goes on and on. Israel is an apartheid rogue state imploding from within with hatred and zero compassion for the people who they oppress.

      • Ollie Cummins

        If Israel and Jews did not work hard to defend itself they would be simply wiped of the face of the earth people like you are no better than the nazi s

    • Leyla Randera

      What hogwash!
      #Apartheidisraeli gives virtually no citizens rights to the more than 20% of israeli citizens who aren’t Jewish. israeli forces regularly shoot citizens who look ‘Arab’.

      israel is an apartheid regime, different rules and laws for it’s Jewish people, allowing fundamentalist so called squatters to carry firearms in the illegally occupied Palestinian Territories, where they have virtually impunity over the indigenous unarmed Palestinian people….who children can face 20 years in prison on the pretence of having thrown a stone. Shame on you for such a whitewashed story!


      • Ollie Cummins

        More anti Jewish rubbish by another Jew hater could you not do some thing useful with your time like campaign for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia and all of the Middle East apart from the country that you hate , maybe campaign for rights for ethnic minorities and homosexuals in all of the Middle East apart from the country that you hate you should wake up to the truth and support the only democratic state in the Middle East

      • Teresa

        This is such absolute nonsense. Yes there are incidents of racism and bias, Israel is no more perfect than other democracies. But Arab Israelis participate in all levels of society, including government, education and security. Arab Israelis are members of the Knesset, the judiciary,army, police, emergency medical crews. There is a women judge in the Sharia family courts. Arab women have more rights in Israel than in any other country in the Middle East.

        I sympathise with the Palestinian call for self-determination but I cannot support a BDS campaign that lies through its teeth, and I cannot support a Palestinian state that would be led by any combination of the current gang of corrupt, vicious Hamas and Fatah leadership that violates Palestinian rights to free speech, freedom of assembly, womens rights etc., that tortures prisoners in Palestinian jails and trains children to be martyrs. I don’t agree with Netanyahu about a lot of things, but he was right when he said “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more ‎violence. If the Jews put ‎down their weapons ‎today, there would be no ‎more Israel’‎”

      • freb

        Go and learn some more
        before you honour us with more of your
        ” Façtoids ”
        CP Scott of the Guardian said that Comment is Free but Facts are Sacred

        You know not of what you write.
        Have you ever been hit by a stone?
        No one is imprisoned for 20 years for just throwing pebbles

        BTW I was once driving a car at night on a West Bank road used by both PA registered cars and Israeli registered cars…..mine was an Israeli hired car and my car was hit by a ROCK whiçh due to superb driving I was able to keep damage to the minimum in a frightening and a life threatening experience

    • John Geoghegan

      Ha Ha Hasbara

      • freb

        Bad Bad BDS is that was passes for debate in students discourse in the 21st century?

        Shame on you. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    • Ollie Cummins

      Well said david mooney

  • gman

    Where do these rascists come from?

    Will we see Magen Davids scrawled on shop windows as there is no difference between BDS and the Nazis.

    Same chant. Same hatred

  • Eoghan Ó Ceannabháin

    Well done to everybody who worked on this. Let’s fight on now to get the referendum passed. The treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli state is nothing short of barbaric. The only just solution is one state with equal rights for all its people. Free Palestine.

  • McCarthaigh

    So proud of everyone supporting this. BDS is the only way to put pressure on Israel, the apartheid rogue state that defies international law so as to steal land from the Palestinian people.

    • freb

      6 500,000 Jewish Israelis and 1 800,000 Arab Israelis

      will not be”dismantled “. by BDS

      Peace can only be achieved by both parties acceptance of each others right to national self determination

      How much have any of you travelled in the Area?
      Have you seen the Mercs BMWs Toyotas and Lexus’s all over the West Bank roads ……. thousands of which roads are barred to Israeli cars ?
      Have you not seen the PA registered cars driving freely all over Israel?
      Have you ever been to the beach in Tel Aviv or Nathanya and seen the Arab family groups enjoying themselves at the Sea side?
      Have you ever stayed in Israeli resort hotels as I have and seen Arabs as well as Jews eating and drinking and swimming side by side?
      Last November for example I was once again in Eilat and once again met many Arabs staying in my favourite hotel there.
      For the past 10 years I have been regularly visiting a Jewish community in the West Bank and on the opposite side of the valley an Arab village called Tumus Aya has increased tenfold in size. spreading all over the hill sides.
      Building of large family homes and apartment blocks is going on all over the West Bank in the Arab occupied areas
      … btw there is plenty of space for everyone.

      It is ironic that between 1948 and 1967 there was a sealed Cease fire lines and no West Bank Arabs wanted to work in Israel
      Now 120,000 Arabs from the “Territories” work in Israel and the West Bank….. they will be affected by BDS

      Meanwhile go to any Israeli shopping mall eg Mamilla or Malka in West ” Jewish” Jerusalem or Rami Levy Supermarkets and you will see loads of Arab men and women in Humans etc enjoying themselves.
      What the PA PLO Hamas and Fatah do to and for their own people IS barbaric .

      • freb

        Women in Hijabs !

  • Ciaran Shanahan

    BDS is a legitimate peaceful protest of the ongoing inhumane treatment of indigenous Palestinians by their cruel Israeli occupiers, Israel should be boycotted until they stop flagrantly breaking International law.

    • Aciva7

      Obviously not a history major…

    • Leyla Randera

      “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the *oppressor*. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality”
      still resonates with the global #BDS movement.


  • Lena Kelly

    BDS…. Well done everyone… It is great to see young people be a voice for a voiceless people. Israel has murdered 9533 Palestinians since the year 2000. Israel is a state that targets children, 551 children in 51 days and left 1010 children permanently disabled in 2014.. I find it hard to believe that that anyone would advocate for that but unfortunately they do.. Well done to you all keep up the great work.

    • freb

      Where do these figures come from?
      Do they include terrorist attackers ?

      Or have you been quoting the Syrian dead
      which is 10,000 times more in 7 years than in the past 150 years in Palestine

  • Catherine Ann Cullen

    Wonderful to see so many students worldwide, especially Jewish students, supporting BDS in the true spirit of Jewish commitment to justice. Well done Trinity students for following the great traditions of Judaism and of TCD against apartheid.

    • freb

      What Jewish student would support doing away with the Jewish Homeland?
      Obviously not one who knows what history taught the Jews before 1948

      “Home is where they have to let you in especially when no one else will let you in ”

      Before 1948 there were 2 categories of countries
      1 those who didn’t want the Jews they had
      2 those who didn’t want to let Jews in

      Ireland’s refusal to help admit fleeing Jewish refugees from Europe and the anti Semitic attitudes of various political figures and RC Church leaders ,,, qualified the Republic for both.
      This generation has a lot of history to catch up with

      How many BDS ers know that in November 1947
      the UN passed a Two State resolution 161 proposing an Arab Palestinian State alongside a Jewish Palestinian State?

      How many BDS ers know that the very next day the Arabs started a Civil War in Palestine before the British left in May 1948?
      That Civil War was not for the West Bank but for the whole country.. and the whole country was,” up for grabs ” then.
      The Arabs never ceased fighting and that Civil War goes on because of the refusal of the Arabs to allow Jews peace and quiet.


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