We can categorically state that BDS has never received backing from 700 NUS elected leaders, let alone the 7 million students NUS represents.
The recently expired NUS national policy to support BDS was debated and decided by a small number of activists within NUS NEC and not by hundreds of delegates at a NUS National Conference. This BDS policy was active for three years from 2015 and lapsed at this year’s NUS National Conference. As part of conference procedure, the work of liberation groups and NUS nations was briefly presented and summarised without any specific mention of BDS or Israel and Palestine. Any liberation, nations or sections group within NUS having a stance in support of BDS does not equate to NUS national policy being in support of BDS.
Many thousands of students across the UK are regularly opting for informed and intelligent approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the hate and hostility of the BDS movement which was highlighted by the tens of thousands of students who engaged with our #BRIDGESNOTBOYCOTTS campaign. In the last three years over 15,000 students have been involved with events, stalls, and speakers promoting peace in Israel and Palestine at more than 450 events on 38 different campuses. This year saw the introduction of a UJS Bridges Not Boycotts Video which received over 35,000 views alongside hundreds of website visits by those eager to get further involved in the campaign.
A key element of the campaign enables UK students to discover more about key organisations working together in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, including Seeds Of Peace, The Abraham Fund, Hand in Hand and The Parents Circle. If Israelis and Palestinians can come together constructively, students from all backgrounds in the UK can and should engage positively and pragmatically with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our work demonstrates that there are plenty of alternatives to the divisive, simplistic and one-sided BDS movement for those who seek to support Palestinians to achieve national self-determination.
To cite NUS conference procedure as indicating mass support for BDS from millions of students in the UK or even that NUS in its entirety endorses BDS is mischievous and misleading.