TCDSU to hold referendums on BDS and opting out of union lobbying

Voting in the referendums will be held on March 21 and 22

Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) will hold two referendums later this month. The first referendum will be on whether TCDSU should support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The second referendum will be on whether Trinity students should be allowed opt out of “being counted in Union lobbying efforts”. Both referendums were triggered by petitions which gathered the 500 necessary valid signatures.


Voting in the referendums will take place on March 21 and 22. Campaigning will be held from March 19 until the close of voting.


Students will be asked whether TCDSU should adopt a long-term policy in support of the BDS movement. The BDS movement calls for a political, economic, and academic boycott of the state of Israel. The international campaign began in 2005.


The Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) group had been gathering signatures for a petition to trigger a referendum on the issue. The petition received 722 valid signatures. Speaking to Trinity News, Students for Justice in Palestine spokesperson Ciaran O’Rourke said: “Palestinian civil society groups have been calling for the peaceful boycott of Israel on human rights grounds since 2005. Given the scale of oppression that Palestinian communities continue to face as a result of Israeli apartheid, the upcoming student referendum is a welcome and necessary step towards deciding how we as a community will respond to that call – particularly in light of Trinity’s record of academic boycott and anti-apartheid solidarity in the case of South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, not to mention the extensive financial ties that Trinity has cultivated with institutions that profit from Israeli apartheid in recent years.”


“It’s a tribute to the student activists involved in SJP and their evidently numerous supporters from among the wider student body that this referendum is taking place,” he said. 



Meanwhile, the second referendum is to allow “students to opt out of being counted in Union lobbying efforts”. The petition received 531 valid signatures.


Additional reporting by Niamh Lynch.

  • Teresa

    Once again Trinity News reads like an SJP mouthpiece – no surprise given the “Additional reporting by Niamh Lynch” who just happens to be a member of the SJP organisation in College. So much for independent journalism.
    Did anyone think to query the discrepancy between the number of signatures allegedly submitted (1200, according to initial reports) and the 722 verified by the Electoral Commission? How did SJP manage have over 40% of their signatures unverifiable?

  • BonniePrinceCharlie

    Can anyone in the SJP or any other ‘pro-Palestinian’ organisation give examples of apartheid in Israel?

    This is a country where every adult citizen – regardless of religion, colour, ethnicity etc – has the vote. It’s a country where all its citizens are represented in the Knesset (parliament) where the Arab coalition – which tends to be anti-Israel – is the second largest block. It’s a country which allows and vigorously defends freedom of speech.

    It’s a country where citizens can rise to the highest levels in all elements of society – in the judiciary (where an Arab judge once sentenced a previous Prime Minister to jail for corruption); in education, where roughly 20% of university students self-define as Arab (mirroring the 20% of the population which is Arab); in the civil service; in medicine; in research and development; even in the Israeli Defence Forces.

    The only area I can think of where there is what might be regarded as ‘discrimination’ against non-Jewish citizens is the IDF where they are not compelled to do National Service (although many choose to).

    So where’s the apartheid? Give me a few examples.

    ‘Apartheid’ is just an allegation adopted by the Israel-haters to denigrate the State. It has no foundation in fact – as is evidenced by the above – whereas apartheid in South Africa was fact-based. Indeed, it still is but this time its the blacks discriminating against the whites.

    The same applies to allegations of ethnic cleansing/genocide. In 1949 the Arab population of Israel was roughly 300,000; today it is 1.6 million and represents some 20% of the total population. If this what people regard as genocide then all I can say is that in my opinion, the Israelis are not very good at it.

    Maybe people should spend a bit more time researching the subject instead of blindly accepting anti-Israel propaganda.

    PS Did you know that the BDS campaign has SFA to do with helping the Palestinians? According to its founder Omar Barghouti – Israeli citizen, professor at an Israeli university – the objective of the campaign is the total elimination of Israel. Is that what you want?


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