Yesterday afternoon the National Executive Council (NEC) of the National Union of Students (UK) voted to adopt a Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) policy against Israel. The motion calls for sanctions on Israel and encourages the 600+ student unions’ across the UK who are members of NUS to bring boycott campaigns to their campuses.
WUJS joins our member union, the Union of Jewish Students of the UK & Ireland (UJS) in condemning this vote. We also reaffirm our stance; that the BDS movement creates a hostile atmosphere on campus for Jewish students, not only in the UK but everywhere else it has been adopted across the globe. The BDS movement does not support a Two-State Solution and when BDS is used as the basis for resolving the conflict in any form it weakens other far more constructive forms of engagement and action that seek to bring Israelis and Palestinians together. Choosing even partial BDS as policy promotes a vision which undermines the very principles of engagement, tolerance, dialogue and coexistence and makes it yet more difficult to establish trust, mutual understanding and compromise.
The vote of the NUS NEC is not constructive and will only lead to division in student groups, the undermining of interfaith relations, and suffocation of the moderate voices for peace on both sides. The irony that this vote took place on the eve of Tisha B’Av; the Jewish peoples annual day of mourning, when we remember the many tragedies that have befallen our people over the millennia, has not gone unnoticed. In times when anti-Semitism is on the rise the world over we call on all student unions to work towards progressive dialogue and against extremist, violent ideologies.
WUJS commends both the student activists who campaigned against this motion and the courageous members of the NEC who spoke out and voted against the motion.
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