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Action Palestine - our partner for University twinnings


Twinning with Palestine

The Britain - Palestine Twinning Network - "promoting twinning and friendship links"

Activities for the network in 2011 include * Women's visit - March * Twinning Conference in Palestine - April * Visits to Palestine April and October * Conference in Liverpool - November.

University Twinning links news

Groups twinned with Gaza

Link maintained

22 October 2010 - University of Manchester Students Union vote to maintain twinning with An-Najah University in Occupied Westbank.

On Wednesday 20th of October, students at the University of Manchester voted overwhelmingly to maintain its union’s twinning with An-Najah National University in the Westbank. General Meetings are the most powerful decision making body in the union in which all students are invited to vote on motions which the union executive must enforce. The twinning, set up back in 2007 has been key in giving the silenced majority of Palestinian students a voice, making them feel less isolated and able to communicate their struggle to our campus. Through the years, the twinning has resulted in several articles being published in the union paper, delegates from the Palestinian university visiting our union as well as web links and other events. The twinning has come under attack by an extremist minority which have tried to undermine the twinning by forcing An-Najah to condemn terrorism; something which it had done explicitly in its original twinning declaration and also which was tacitly implied. Appalled, students came out in their droves to attend what was one of the largest then general meetings in which 800 students voted to protect the twinning and reject what was essentially a racist amendment. Since then, the Palestine movement has become stronger and more resolute, passing a ‘Gaza Crisis’ Motion which compelled the union to boycott Israeli products and explicitly referred to their state practice as apartheid in a general meeting which has been the largest in the union’s recent history. Now the Palestine movement’s resolve is as strong as ever as students made it loud and clear they wanted to continue their solidarity with the students of occupied Westbank.

Well done Manchester University Students Union - after a concerted effort by Zionists to undo the Twinning with Beir Zeit University, the racist motion submitted was defeated by an even bigger margin at one of the best attended meetings of the Union -

UCL Union votes overwhelmingly to twin with Palestinian Universities in the West Bank and Gaza

On Thursday 6th March, The University College London Students’ Union (UCLU) voted overwhelmingly to twin UCL Union with the Unions of Al-Quds and Al-Azhar Secular Universities in the West Bank and Gaza respectively with immediate effect. Furthermore, the Union voted to establish an educational exchange programme between UCL students and students from the Palestinian universities, and finally “To reiterate the UCLU Friends of Palestine society’s right to raise issues that concern the student body, criticise the GOI [Government of Israel] and its policies, as well as highlight atrocities that contravene International Humanitarian law and not be treated unlike other societies for doing such.”

In a maximum capacity lecture theatre of 325, people packed in, spilling over into the stairs, to hear the debate of various topical and constructive motions at the best attended UCLU Annual General Meeting since 2003.

Before the meeting the chances of passing the motion seemed very slim. Not only does UCL have one of the largest and most active pro-Zionist Jewish societies in the country, but also just before the meeting, a hostile amendment was received asking the Union’s students to twin with the Israeli Hebrew University in Jerusalem (and remove twinning with Al-Azhar Secular University in Gaza) also. The speaker for the hostile amendment appealed to the objectivity of sources such as ‘The Harvard Israel Review’ and ‘The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ over ‘United Nations’ organs including ‘The International Court of Justice’ in the original motion submitted and suggested the former reflected “the reality as it is today” better.

This is not to mention recent attacks on the UCLU Friends of Palestine society (FPS). The Union Media and Communications Officer as well as members of The UCLU Jewish Society had slandered the FPS for “inciting racial hatred” following a recent exhibition entitled “Jerusalem Dispossessed”. The exhibition documented "the dispossession of indigenous Palestinians from their native city, Jerusalem, amid rapid expansion of Israeli settlements, the separation wall and home demolitions". It was provided by ICAHD: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions’ (ICAHD) Action Advocacy Project and funded by Irish Aid, The Austrian Development Agency and The Netherlands Representative Office; of course a typical basis for breeding of “terrorism” if there ever was one.

The attack was constructed in the form of a sudden article in the Jerusalem Post entitled ‘London students slam anti-Israel exhibition’. In the article Johnny Paul, who incidentally manages to balance his position as objective “London correspondent” with being President of SOAS Israel Society, made false accusations against the UCLU FPS. Neither the UCLU JSoc, UCLU Media and Communications Officer nor J.Paul bothered to consult the society for their side of the story before publishing the piece. If they had they would have discovered that contrary to claims otherwise, the UCLU FPS had got permission for the exhibition (even though it was not required since the exhibition was not on UCL Union property), as confirmed by the Services and Events Officer of UCL Union. This has led to the Jerusalem Post being forced to accept publication of a response from ICAHD’s Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, herself a Jewish Israeli, who comments that “Any negotiation taking place while borders are aggressively being determined according to one side’s interests is an illusion. Without real freedom and respect of the other’s right to live in dignity, there is no basis for political negotiation.”

Although the meeting opened late, once it was the motion was passed swiftly. Thanks to a superb turnout from various sympathetic societies, those that have so often successfully disrupted such meetings on technicalities such as quorum counts were forced to retort to the farcical in order to desperately claw back votes. This was manifested clearly in the absurd claim that the motion aimed to present conscripted members of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) as “evil” for some anti-semitic end- the claim presumably a desperate attempt to vote-grab from potential soldiers-to-be there to oppose another motion to ban recruitment of the Officer Training Corp (part of ‘The Territorial Army’).

The President of the UCLU Friends of Palestine said that the passing of the motion “was an important and constructive step which allows UCL students to get first hand experience and knowledge of the reality on the ground in Palestine in a climate marred by fictitious propaganda” and encouraged “other universities to follow suit”. He also commented that it is important to note that this motion is not out to demonise Israelis or Jews but rather to place emphasis on the impact of Israeli occupation upon ordinary Palestinians and bring that to the attention of UCL students, and the motion should not be taken as part of a package, related to the other motions such as on banning OTC from campus- which is completely unrelated.

- The motion with amendment accepted can be viewed in the following file (refer to AGM07/1/8.3 in the file):

- The REJECTED hostile amendment to twin with Hebrew University in Jerusalem can be viewed in the following file:

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Events in 2011

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Women's Tour March 2011

Conference Palestine April 2011

Conference - Liverpool November 2011

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The Israeli Apartheid wall "security barrier"

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Zaytoun Olive Oil

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Getting there - Airlines activists use

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