UK student body slams university’s Ahava link

A collaboration between King’s College London (KCL) and an Israeli company located in an illegal West Bank settlement has been condemned by the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS), in a significant boost for campaigners.

In a meeting Monday night of the NUS’ National Executive Council (NEC), a motion demanding the “immediate end” of KCL’s research project with Ahava was passed with no votes against.

The NEC motion, noting the “overwhelming” international position on the illegality of Israeli settlements, states that “by collaborating with Ahava, King’s itself has become complicit with violations of international law”. As a result, NEC resolved:

  • To condemn the collaboration between King’s College London and Ahava in the research project, and demand the immediate end of the university’s involvement in the project, and the rejection of the financial grant King’s has received for its participation.
  • To strongly urge King’s College London to re-evaluate its commitments to ethical research, and establish a formal ethical research policy, to prevent a similar situation from arising in the future that compromises the university’s integrity and respect for international law.
  • To support the campaign led by academics and students at King’s, in order to achieve the above aims.

KCL Action Palestine Campaign against Ahava has received growing support, including through a petition that now has over 1,000 signatures. Last month, there was also votes of support for the campaign from University of London (ULU) Senate and the KCL Student Union. As well as increasing the pressure on the KCL authorities, this NUS decision will be of particular interest to other student groups working on BDS campaigns on British campuses.

Ben White

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Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel. His articles have been widely published in the likes of The Guardian‘s Comment is free, Al Jazeera, Electronic Intifada, New Statesman, and many others. He is the author of ‘Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide’ (2009, Pluto Press) and ‘Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination & Democracy’ (2012, Pluto Press). Ben is a researcher/writer for the Journal of Palestine Studies.