UBC pro-Palestinian camp receives support from Jewish groups

An encampment at the University of British Columbia that was set up in solidarity with Palestinians is receiving more support.

Two Jewish groups have voiced their support for the campers, who are calling for the university to divest from companies linked to Israel and cut ties to Israeli universities.

One group, Independent Jewish Voices – UBC, is “celebrating and upholding the work of the UBC students” who have organized the encampment.

“We are a group of Jewish students, staff, and faculty at UBC. We are inspired by the level of trust, dedication, and anti-discrimination we see in the UBC encampment,” the group said in a statement.

“As Jewish members of the UBC community, we support and are a part of this peaceful encampment. We are here alongside our peers, our friends, our classmates and our students. We add our voices to those urging UBC to take a principled and ethical stance towards the genocide taking place on Gazans,” IJV-UBC continued.

Amongst other demands, the IJV-UBC is also urging the university to “respect Palestinians’ right to return to their homeland.”

“Education is not just about papers and exams, it teaches us how to be and behave in the world. Israeli violence against and dispossession of Palestinians did not begin in October. The curriculum we teach and learn has opened our eyes to the injustices of the past and present, and it is our job to put those lessons into practice,” the group said.

As “progressive, justice-minded Jewish people at UBC,” the group is also demanding that the university “stop equating Zionism with Judaism.”

“We are the descendants of thousands of years of Jewish culture, traditions and peoples around the world. Our rejection of the violence and racism of the Israeli state is not antisemitic, it is a principled stance, an enactment of our Jewish values, and part of a long history of Jewish opposition to Zionism.

“The suppression of this history erases the plurality of our ancestors’ beliefs and political opinions, as well as a similar diversity in the Jewish diaspora today.”

Meanwhile, the Jewish Faculty Network is also voicing its support for the encampment, explaining that it is worried about the safety of the activists at the university.

The group points to what has happened south of the border in the U.S., where police have been brought in to remove and take down similar encampments.