Jewish students have said the refusal of the National Union of Students to debate an emergency motion on Hezbollah flags at a pro-Palestinian march is “a disgrace”.
A late motion was submitted by NUS vice-president Izzy Lenga, calling for the NUS to support a ban on the waving of Hezbollah flags at Sunday’s Al-Quds Day March in central London.
It also sought to enlist the NUS’s support for the full proscription of Hezbollah, because only the party-cum-militia’s military wing is currently proscribed, not its political wing.
Last week Commander Jane Connors of the Metropolitan Police said officers would not be able to stop the Hezbollah flag being present at the march, owing to what Jewish groups have described as the “legal loophole”.
Liron Velleman, campaign manager at the Union of Jewish Students, hit out at the rejection of Lenga’s call for an emergency debate, blaming the NUS’s senior team.
“It is a disgrace that members of the National Executive Council of NUS decided not to debate an emergency motion,” he said. “Hezbollah is an anti-Semitic terrorist organisation that should be proscribed in full by the UK Government and certainly should not be paraded through the streets of London.
“A student movement that cares about fighting hatred in all its forms should be standing with those fighting terror, not standing behind procedure.”
He noted that while the NEC had refused to debate Lenga’s motion, it had found time to debate a motion on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Jewish students were “frustrated and concerned” that the NUS would again be debating an Israel boycott, he said. “BDS is a tired campaign that has little to no impact on the reality of the situation in Israel and Palestine.”
He added that it “often leads to victimisation of Jewish and Israeli students” and urged the national student body to “show strong leadership, stand with those who work for the right of self-determination for Jewish and Palestinian peoples and vote down this policy”.