We are saddened, yet unsurprised, that the National Executive Council of NUS have passed BDS policy at their meeting today. BDS is a tired campaign that has little to no impact on the reality of the situation in Israel and Palestine as well as being highly divisive, dampens progressive voices and often leads to victimisation of Jewish and Israeli students. This motion has been passed through the backdoor, with only 30 members voting, rather than up to 1,000 delegates at National Conference, which has never passed BDS policy.
It’s a sorry state of affairs that NUS NEC needed to add an amendment to protect Jewish and Israeli students, including a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism, from a policy that has a history of targeting, victimising and marginalising Jewish and Israeli students. NUS has existing policy adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and we expect the proposers of this motion to adhere to this.
It is worth reminding NUS NEC that their national conference has repeatedly supported and has as current policy that the following are considered to be example of antisemitism:
- Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour
- Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
- Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
- Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.