A former NUS (National Union of Students) President has condemned the rejection of a motion to commemorate the Holocaust at a top London University.

Last week, Goldsmiths University Student Union rejected a motion to commemorate the Holocaust as ‘colonialist’ and ‘Eurocentric’.

The motion was voted down by 60 votes to just one, which you can read about in more depth HERE.

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Former NUS President, Wes Streeting

Former NUS President, Wes Streeting (from July 2008 to June 2010), reacted to the decision by condemning it.

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The student leader turned local politician, told the Jewish News that: “I find it shocking that people who are meant to be intelligent have rejected a motion on Holocaust Memorial Day.

To describe the commemoration of the systematic slaughter of more than 6 million Jews and countless other minorities as ‘Eurocentric’ and ‘colonialism’ reflects a particularly stupid brand of so-called left wing politics that appears to be surfacing in student politics at every level.

Jewish students should not be expected to confront this alone. It should be roundly condemned by students and NUS.” 

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) also offered a its commitment to remembering the Holocaust, and genocides across the world in a statement: 

“On Tuesday 14th October, Goldsmiths students union voted down a motion to support Holocaust Memorial Day. The motion was proposed by a non-Jewish student as part of a wider initiative to commemorate several other European genocide memorial days.
UJS, along with Goldsmiths J-Soc and many Jewish students see Holocaust commemoration as a significant way to remember a unique episode in history. Not only is it important to remember the unprecedented genocide of Jewish place that took place, but it is also a time to remember all fallen civilians and victims of genocides.

Whilst we understand that there was opposition to the motion due to it focusing on a few genocides and not all, for UJS and Goldsmiths J-Soc, it is the debate and comments from SU representatives online that took place around the motion that were concerning. 

It should be a given that an event such as the Holocaust that affected so many, is commemorated and those that wish to commemorate it should be able to do so in a safe space. To oppose this policy in its entirety is both worrying for Jewish students and could lead to many feeling isolated from their union. As a result, UJS is working with the student union and students at Goldsmiths to ensure that Holocaust Memorial Day is commemorated.”

The Student paper, The Tab, published a response to the motion, by the proposer. Reacting shortly after, the Student Union issued a statement criticising the Tab’s ‘baseless claims’ as ‘an insulting misrepresentation‘.

The National Union of Students have no yet offered a comment, and have stressed that it is up to the individual Union, as it is an internal Union matter.