Thanks to Fiona Edwards, student officer of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, for the piece below.
I was at the excellent 'Global Peace and Justice' fringe meeting she chaired at NUS Conference in April. 100 people (mainly conference delegates) packed in to the meeting, a reminder that - however awful the leadership may be on these issues - many in the student movement are dedicated to the Palestinian cause.
Fiona and Bell Ribeiro-Addy, NUS Black Students Officer, were both part of the magnificent Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza last December.
'The National Union of Students has failed to join the trade union movement and many world leaders in condemning Israel’s murderous attack on the Gaza flotilla. It has also failed to call for an end to the siege on Gaza.
Find out how you can take action on this below.
Instead the NUS has called for an investigation into Israel’s massacre to be conducted by Israel, in contrast to the United Nations Security Council Resolution that called for an impartial investigation. NUS’ full statement is available HERE.
In stark contrast the NUS Black Students’ Campaign has issued this statement:
“The NUS Black Students’ Campaign is deeply concerned about the welfare of Tauqir Sharif, a student of Nottingham Trent University who is currently being detained against his will by Israel.
Tauqir is one of over 600 humanitarian activists who participated in the international flotilla to Gaza, which sought to deliver medicine, construction materials and other basic necessities to the Palestinian people who have lived under an illegal siege for 4 years.
We join the United Nations, the European Union and world leaders in condemning Israel’s murderous attack on the flotilla, which has left over 15 civilians dead and many injured. It is utterly unacceptable to attack and kill civilians on a humanitarian mission.
We call on the Foreign Office to take all necessary steps to ensure Tauqir, and all British citizens from the flotilla mission to Gaza, arrive back to Britain safely and speedily.
The brutal siege on Gaza, which is causing the Palestinians intolerable suffering, must be lifted immediately. To this end we call on the government to apply maximum pressure on Israel to meet its obligations under international law.”
NUS’ statement is also in stark contrast to the TUC statement - ‘TUC condemns attack on Gaza aid flotilla’ - which can be seen on the TUC website.
This is part of a pattern: NUS refused to condemn Israel’s massacre on Gaza which killed 1,400 Palestinian people in December 2008/January 2009; NUS also refused to call for a ceasefire during Israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006.
We call on all students to email the NUS President, Wes Streeting, and NUS President-Elect, Aaron Porter, insisting that they join the NUS Black Students’ Campaign and the overwhelming majority of the international community in condemning Israel’s killing of civilians on a humanitarian mission and call for an immediate end to the siege on Gaza and to support the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Emergency National Demonstration on Saturday 5th June.
Email Aaron: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email Wes: email@example.com
Please cc: firstname.lastname@example.org'
(Picture of Monday's London demo courtesy of Tami Peterson)