NUS continue to rely on the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism – report and analysis from AWL

At the National Union of Students conference (8-10 April, Sheffield), there was once again a controversy about anti-semitism. This is Workers’ Liberty Students’ response.

In 2007, NUS conference passed policy on anti-racism referencing the definition of anti-semitism produced by the former European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, now called the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (for the definition, see here; for the NUS policy here). NUS policies lapse after three year unless the conference votes to actively renew them; this policy was renewed in 2010 and came up again at this year’s conference.

Most of the EUMC definition is uncontroversial. What is controversial on the left, including in the student movement, is the section referring to attitudes to Israel…

Read the whole piece here on the Workers’ Liberty website.

Read David Hirsh on the EUMC Working Definition here.

6 Responses to “NUS continue to rely on the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism – report and analysis from AWL”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    So, what happened? Was the “EUMC” definition renewed or not?

    Have the NUS decided yet?

    What is interesting and heart-warming is that a group such as Workers Liberty, far to my left (and there are those who, oddly enough, consider me a dangerous lefty), can take the stance they do: that while they wish to see a workers state across the region, they see no reason why, in the interim, there shouldn’t be an Israel.

    How traditionally Left (and that’s not a criticism nor a cynical comment: it’s a statement of approval. It’s how the left used to be).

    • Jacob Arnon Says:

      I have a different view which is why David Hirsh refuses to post my reply.

      “To criticise Israel for blockading Gaza, for holding on to the West Bank, for building new settlements there, for building the Separation Wall, for harassing, repressing and killing Palestinians under occupation, for mistreating Arabs and other minorities within Israel – to make any of those criticisms, angrily and stridently, is not anti-semitic.”

      That would depend on whether there is also criticism of Palestinian indiscriminate firing of missiles on civilians targets, kidnappings and attempted kidnapping of Israelis (civilian as well as soldiers), criticism of the use of suicide bombers which necessitate the building of the separation wall. The “claims of “harassment of Arabs within Israel” needs to be looked at individually one charge at the time. (There is no policy of harassment in Israel.

      The very tone of the paragraph above makes one thing that the students are more concerned with Palestinian right to self determination than to than to Jewish rights to live in peace and security in their own country. It might have been better if the students recognized that this is a conflict in which both sides are right and both sides committed and commit acts which are wrong and to call on them to negotiate a peace agreement.

      I know people at engage don’t like to be reminded of the Jewish people (which is also pertinent to any discussion of the Arab Israeli conflict but any statement on the conflict by organized groups of Britons which doesn’t allude to the history of antisemitism in Europe, England and the Arab countries will necessarily be one sided. (it’s not as if the conflict magically occurred sixty or seventy years ago)

      Finally, I find it ironic (and disheartening) that at a time when tens of thousands of Syrians are being murdered next door these students think that its more important to castigate Israel than to condemn the Syrian government violent repression of its own people. What is it that the student organization exists for, to make pronouncements on the Arabs Israeli conflict alone without reference to other much more deadly conflicts in that region?

      I just don’t get the fixation of some people on the left have on Israel. It may not be antisemitic but it certainly shows an irrational hatred of Israel.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Jacob: “I have a different view which is why David Hirsh refuses to post my reply.” But he posted this one, Jacob.

        I suspect you are being too sensitive. Collectively, we actually like robust debate here. Personally, I look forward to my opponents (as opposed to friends with subtly different interpretations as to what’s happening – like you and Noga) appearing here, and setting themselves up for a roasting.

        Sadly, we seem to have been too good at our self-selected task of undermining them and then seeing them off. For some strange reason, they no longer appear here to talk to us.

        It’s late for me. I’ll return to your comment, Jacob, tomorrow and have a closer look at it, not just the first sentence.

  2. David Hirsh Says:

    Yes, NUS uses the Working Definition as a guide to judge what is antisemitic.

  3. Gev Says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    The EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism is a vital tool in calling society to order in its seemingly unbridled rush back to anti-Semitism.

  4. BBC Trust ESC exploited for anti-Israel faux point scoring | BBC Watch Says:

    […] National Union of Students renewed their support for the Working Definition of Antisemitism in […]


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