By Patrick Maguire
National Union of Students’ annual conference passed policy to strengthen protection for Jewish students and fight the rise of neo-Nazism, with key support from the students from supported by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS).
Held in Liverpool and attended by over 1000 students, delegates pass motions to fight racism on campus, and to give no platform at university or NUS events to far-right group National Action.
Student Unions, academic institutions and security staff will now be briefed on the dangers presented by the presence of neo-Nazi groups such as National Action – white supremacists who describe themselves as “like the BNP but more radical” – with the policy passed by the NUS strengthening mechanisms in place to ensure that no student is targeted for their religious, national or racial identity.
NUS President Toni Pearce had told delegates that it was the NUS’ duty “to protect” and that fascists “don’t deserve a place in our union”.
Union sabbatical officers will also now receive specific and ongoing training on anti-Semitism.
The NUS’ renewed commitment to combatting anti-Semitism came after a Jewish student asked “Why is our student movement so meek when it comes to anti-Semitism?”.
Addressing conference, Bristol University Noah Levy said: “we have to support students fighting anti-Semitism”.
“Let’s make it easier to report incidents, and let’s challenge this negative culture in our movement.”
Proud of the NUS conference for voting against anti-Semitism. Taking a firm stand.
— Noah Levy (@noahlevy94) April 22, 2015
— Liron Velleman (@vellstells) April 22, 2015
UJS said it was “grateful to our friends and supporters in NUS and to the hundreds of student leaders and university staff across the UK who everyday work to ensure the wellbeing of Jewish students across their campuses”.
The third and final day of the NUS Conference takes place today (23 April).