Motion passed by National Union of Students Executive

You can read the AWL’s commentary here.

Conference believes:

1. Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinians has been compared by South African trade unions and activists including Desmond Tutu to the Apartheid regime.

2. Israel does not allow Palestinian refugees or their descendents to return to the territory from which they were expelled in 1948. The population of the Gaza strip is subject to a blockade described by the Director of UNRWA Operations as a “Medieval siege”.

3. Palestinian organisations have called for a policy of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The TUC supports a boycott of goods produced and companies operating in Israel’s illegal settlements.

4. Israel’s attack on Gaza, launched in December 2008 killed over 1,400 Palestinians – more than 300 were children. Gaza’s general infrastructure including schools, universities, hospitals and homes suffered enormous damage.

5. Since 2007 Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza which violates international law and leaves the people of Gaza short of food, medicines and other vital supplies such as cement. The damage caused by Israel’s attack cannot be repaired.

6. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has had a detrimental impact on students. Gaza’s electricity supply is controlled by Israel and shut-down for several hours most days, making it difficult for students to study. Moreover, the blockade means insufficient quantities of educational equipment, such as paper, desks and books, reach students.

7. The Trade Union Congress – representing 7 million people – has strongly condemned the siege on Gaza.

8. The National Union of Students has so far refused to join the growing movement in support of Palestinian human rights. For example, the NUS leadership refused to condemn Israel’s war on Gaza in 2009 and failed to condemn the killing of 9 civilian peace activists onboard the Mavi Marmara – the international aid flotilla to Gaza – in May 2010.

Conference resolves:

1. To demand freedom for Palestine, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and occupation of the West Bank and the right to return for all refugees.

2. To encourage unions to twin with universities in Palestine and to send an NUS delegation on future convoys to the Gaza strip.

3. To strongly condemn Israel’s siege on Gaza and actively campaign for it to be lifted in accordance with international law.

4. To support the Palestinians’ right to education by building links with students at the Islamic University of Gaza and other educational institutions in Gaza.

7 Responses to “Motion passed by National Union of Students Executive”

  1. conchovor Says:

    ‘The motion uses the ambiguous phrase “freedom for Palestine” and “the right to return for all refugees”, instead of stating clearly what it wants.’

    ROR for all Palestinian Arab refugees is pretty unambiguous. If implemented it would end any kind of Israel. BTW Ben White has evolved from saying most ROR would not be implemented e.g. in his book to saying it would, should or could:

    That would shortly end any kind of Israel i.e. NUS NEC has resolved Palestinian Arab refugees have the right to end any kind of Israel.

  2. Noga Says:

    Hard to see where their anti Zionism ends and antisemitism begins. The antisemitism is expressed indirectly by ignoring the plight of Israeli kids under Palestinian attacks, by prescribing the erasure of Israel’s Jewish majority in favour of an Arab-Islamic one, by re-inventing “International law” to criminalize Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The latter is a conscious attempt to allow Hamas a space in “International Law” for more freedom to attack Israeli kids in Israel.

    There ought to be very little doubt that this union is in thrall to Hamas Charter and hence fully deserved to be accused of institutional antisemitism.

    How is it possible that educated people with the responsibility to educate young minds can pass such hateful and violent resolutions?

    Here is a tiny reminder:

    “We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants,” declared Palestine Liberation Organization leader Ahmad al-Shuqayri. “As for the survivors — if there are any — the boats are ready to deport them.” A half-million Arab soldiers and more than 5,000 tanks converged on Israel from every direction, including the West Bank, then part of Jordan. Their plans called for obliterating Israel’s army, conquering the country, and killing large numbers of civilians. Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Arif said the Arab goal was to wipe Israel off the map: “We shall, God willing, meet in Tel Aviv and Haifa.”

  3. anon Says:

    What other countries are they boycotting?

    Oh, thats right. Only the JEWISH one. Anti semitic scum.

  4. Lynne T Says:

    Considering the anti-Israel bias in British academe and media, why be surprised that the NUS has an executive stacked with students supporting a one-state position.

  5. Bialik Says:

    Where’s the right of return for the 800,000 Jews expelled or persecuted to the point of having to leave their homes in Arab countries? Where was the resolution about Egypt’s closure of their border with the Hamas territory? Given that Hamas appears to be closing it themselves now, where’s that resolution? How are Palestinian human rights different from human rights generally which are applicable to everyone in the Middle East? Since when has a ‘right of return for descendants’ been a human right?
    Come to think of it, they missed a trick there. According to the UN, the descendants are refugees, there’s no distinction between the original and succeeding generation.
    Anyway, no surprises for anyone who has been a student in the past 20 years.

  6. Yehuda Erdman Says:

    Having just read the NUS Executive motion, and read the posts above, I am in agreement with the great majority of the NUS motion. However conchover is right to point out the ambiguity concerning the right to return of Arab refugees. Following all major conflicts in history there was often a large scale movement of civilian populations as a result of changes brought about by the fortunes of war, and often these changes in population led to long term repeated conflicts.
    Bialik is right to point out that approximately an equal number of Jews were made refugees following the Arab Israeli conflict, as Palestinians. It is also notable that this followed at different stages e.g. the War of independence 1948-1949, the Sinai War, the 1967 War. Jews in Arab lands were already being forced out even before 1948 as a consequence of e.g. World War 2 and the role of the French in North Africa.
    It is imperative that balance is restored and remarks such as “Anti semitic scum” by anon are unhelpful.
    I also take issue with Noga for remarking that there is no doubt that this union is in thrall to Hamas.
    We must look forwards and not hark back to events over 150 years of conflict between Zionism and Pan Arabism (for want of a better definition).
    I think Israel should vote for recognition of Palestine at the UN General Assembly and the US should NOT veto it in the Security Council. It is time to abandon policies that have blatantly failed such as the blockade of Gaza, which have gained Israel many new enemies and lost her some good friends.
    If partition of Palestine was the correct approach to separate two peoples who could not leave harmoniously under one state, even as long ago as 1930s Mandatory Palestine, and subsequently was the decision of the UN in 1947, I suggest that still holds true today. I go on to propose that instead of blocking this outcome at every opportunity, Israel and diaspora Jews should embrace it as a challenge to help the palestinians achieve their goal in double quick time

  7. Yehuda Erdman Says:

    sorry should have read (last paragraph).. could not live harmoniously under…
    a typo

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