The Union of Jewish Students in the United Kingdom expressed disappointment on Wednesday after a representative body for disabled students defined itself as “anti-Zionist” and endorsed the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Members of the Disabled Students’ Campaign (DSC), a politically independent part of the UK National Union of Students (NUS), met on Wednesday and Thursday at its annual conference, where they passed the motion, “Solidarity with Palestine.”
Submitted by NUS Black Students’ Officer Ilyas Nagdee, the resolution reiterated the DSC’s “long running support for BDS and solidarity with Palestine,” noting that a relevant motion lapsed in 2018.
“We are proudly antiracist, anti-colonial, anti-Zionist and thus support the Palestinian struggle for their liberation,” the measure read.
Zionism is a movement in support of the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination in the Levant.
The resolution further claimed that votes in support of BDS by the NUS National Executive Council in 2014 and 2018 “represented a breakthrough for an organisation with a long history of Israeli apologism.”
Examples of this “apologism,” according to the motion, was an address given by the late ex-Israeli Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres at side event hosted at the annual NUS conference in 2003, which was organized by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS).
The 2018 NUS vote on BDS, also proposed by Nagdee, passed, while an amendment supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “the right to self-determination of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples” was rejected. The NEC failed at the same session to to consider an emergency motion urging the UK government to fully recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
The Union of Jewish Students (UJS), which represents some 8,500 students in the UK and Ireland, said in a Wednesday statement that it was “disappointed, yet not surprised” by the DSC vote.
“BDS is a tired campaign that had little to no impact on the reality of the situation in Israel and Palestine as well as being highly divisive, dampening progressive voices and often leading to victimisation of Jewish and Israeli students,” the group argued.
“The fact that the motion included a commitment to being an ‘anti-Zionist’ organisation and condemning past NUS engagement with the late Shimon Peres, speaks volumes about the real intentions of this motion,” it continued. “Far from a motion seeking to advance the causes of peace, instead it objects to the Jewish people’s right of national-self determination, and attacks politicians who have won the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to achieve peace.”