Yesterday, NUS voted to adopt the anti-Israel BDS policy. Here is UJS’ statement in response:
“Today, NUS NEC voted to adopt a BDS policy, calling for sanctions on Israel and for all students’ unions in the UK to bring boycott campaigns to their campuses.
The motion supports the BDS movement, a movement whose tactics are inherently indiscriminate and whose boundaries are undefined. Whatever your politics on the conflict, when there is a strong campaign with ill-defined boundaries, there is no way to monitor the areas and people you will end up targeting.
As many of our members know, boycott policies in students’ unions have a real impact on their lives on campus. Students at Manchester couldn’t access kosher food because there was Hebrew writing; students in Sheffield had to fight against pressure to step down as J-Soc officers, simply because they were Israeli.
For all the insistence from campaigners who argue ‘BDS doesn’t target individuals’ – time and time again this is proven not to be the case. Even today at the vote, Jewish students reported to UJS that they felt intimidated and bullied by the antagonistic atmosphere.
The timing of this vote is also extremely problematic. European Jewry is facing a period of unprecedented hostility in civil society with antisemitic incidents at a high. This month alone has seen over 130 incidents of antisemitic hate in the UK, recorded by the CST.
The passing of this motion is a failure of NUS to maintain its duty of care to the variety of student groups it must endeavour to represent, particularly with the International Students Officer voting for BDS.
NUS National Executive Committee have passed a policy that will only divide student groups, undermine interfaith relations, and suffocate progressive voices for peace on both sides.
Furthermore, whilst we are delighted that NUS reaffirmed its commitment to a Two State Solution it is reprehensible that 20 representatives of the Executive voted against accepting it as policy.
The Jewish people have an inalienable right to self-determination, and on this principle, The Union of Jewish Students will not compromise.”