NUS executive votes to back BDS boycott campaign against Israel

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(picture of #nus4bds campaigners by Aaron Kiely, NUS executive member, via Facebook)

The NUS national executive committee today voted 23-18 with 1 abstention to adopt a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy against Israel.

The motion endorses the 2005 Palestinian call for a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. It was promoted on social media through the #nus4bds tag.

“This is a fantastic victory and a great step forward for the solidarity movement with Palestine in the UK,” said Sai Englert, NUS executive member for postgraduate research. “Now we must turn this victory into practice on each campus. Set up your committees with other unions and societies, research what your university invests in – and launch a campaign. Keep up the fight. Keep up the pressure. Free Palestine.”

The BDS motion was supported by most of the organised left and the NUS liberation campaigns. They were joined by the national sections, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Labour, Big Tent moderates and others opposed the motion.

The NUS vote follows similar steps taken by Unite the Union. “We passed a motion at our recent policy conference calling on our executive to develop a BDS campaign over the next 12 months,” said Sara Bennett, chair of Unite’s Cambridge University Press branch, speaking in a personal capacity.

“We should encourage other trade unions to follow – this could be the start of a powerful campaign for justice for Palestine. BDS offers a chance for ordinary students and workers to do something practical to help Palestinians. It makes it harder for our employers and government to continue ‘business as usual’ with Israel.

“The recent round of atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians have repulsed people around the world. I believe it has been a tipping point for many. They now consider Israel a dangerous state and realise that protests need to be backed by other actions.”

(report by Anindya Bhattacharyya with thanks to Michael D)

► rs21.org.uk/bds – a bluffer’s guide to BDS

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