Students at the Durban University of Technology in South African are asking the school to expel all of their Jewish students, and especially those students who do support the Palestinian cause.
The students also asked for those students sponsored by the Israeli government to be expelled as well, writes Adiv Sterman for The Times of Israel.
“As the SRC, we had a meeting and analyzed international politics,” the council secretary, Mqondisi Duma, was quoted by Independent Online and other outlets as saying. “We took the decision that Jewish students, especially those who do not support the Palestinian struggle, should deregister.”
Ahmen Bawa, vice chancellor at the school, has stated that the request is “totally preposterous, unjust, unfair, unreasonable and unconstitutional.”
“It’s in violation of our values and principles. [The university] does not discriminate against any person based on their race, religion, color, ethnicity, sexual orientation or political affiliation.”
Jewish groups on campus were stunned by the request. The chairwoman of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Mary Kluk, said she was “appalled,” and that it was an unacceptable move to make a proposal of that nature at an academic institution. Natan Pollack, national chairman of the South African Union of Jewish Students, referred to the issue as “deplorable.”
“To discriminate against people because of their religious and political standpoint goes against freedom of speech,” Pollack said.
Since the initial request was made, Duma has updated his Facebook page with a statement from the student council, apologizing for the proposal. The post read that the panel “apologizes without reservation to any one offended by recent demands made by us regarding Jewish students.”
Duma went on to say that council wanted to clarify their position, in that the group feels that “Israel is an Apartheid, genocidal and terrorist State” and as such, the group stands in support of “our Palestinian people who are currently oppressed and colonized by Israel.” The post continued, asking that not just any Jewish student, but also any Muslim, Christian or Atheist student, or those funded by the Apartheid State of Israel, be turned down in their efforts to become students at the school.
As for current students who fall under that category, the group would like them to be expelled. “Our campuses will not be breeding grounds for Apartheid.”
“The SRC at DUT furthermore … has adopted a full and complete cultural and academic boycott of Israel in line with the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel movement.”