The NUS is anti-semitic and Bristol should vote to leave it

A Jewish student’s perspective

Student politics is dreadful.

Pious, self-important, wannabe MPs who can’t understand why not everyone is as good a person as they believe themselves to be, whose annual highlight is a weekend in Brighton spent on “craftivism” and discussions on the merits of abolishing prisons.

The fact is though, that beneath the happy-clappy, CBBC-presenter vibe that NUS and its surrogates are so careful to put on, there’s a hidden truth.

Seriously, whose student experience actually looks like this?

Six months ago, NUS CEO Simon Blake’s own 100k salary wouldn’t have dragged me into a student politics discussion.

When NUS executives were calling Tories “white supremacists”, I raised an eyebrow, then carried on with my life. When they spent 40 grand of our money last year campaigning against the Lib Dems, a party I generally agree with on a lot of things, it annoyed me, but not remotely enough to actually do anything about it.

As the old saying goes, “not my circus, not my monkeys”.

Now though, here I am, a student who only paid attention to student politics when it was his own safety being threatened, asking you to pay attention out of sheer goodwill.

Everyone’s a hypocrite, and I’m no exception.

What broke me was the election of Malia Bouattia.

For those who aren’t familiar with Malia’s work, in a speech a few years ago, she described relying on non-violence to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as “problematic”.

She then went on to say that we should “take orders” from Palestinians who are “actively sustaining the fight”. If it looks like incitement to violence and smells like incitement to violence, it might just be because it is incitement to violence.

On separate occasions she also brought up old anti-Semitic stereotypes about “Zionists” (read: Jews) and control of the media. If you’re thinking “yeah, but you’re a Jew, you would say that”, MPs from across the House of Commons released a report this week describing her as “outright racist.”

Forget representing us nationally, according to NUS’ own no-platform policy, she shouldn’t even have been allowed to stand. But stand she did, and over 50% of NUS delegates decided her anti-semitism either didn’t bother them, or even appealed to them.

Worryingly, this sentiment was shared by some of our current SU officers.

It is an unfortunate truth that NUS delegates are not representative of normal students, because almost nobody votes for them.

Sadly, the anti-semitisim exhibited in the NUS isn’t  reserved to one individual.

Recently NUS delegate Daniel Yahia wrote the phrase “subhuman Zionist rat on social media.

Even more troubling is the story of current Jewish MP Luciana Berger who spoke of how she was forced to leave her position in the NUS after being spat on by anti-semitic attendees at an NUS conference in 2005. The fact that this happened as far back as 11 years ago shows the immense scale of the problem.

There are many reasons to want to disaffiliate or remain affiliated to NUS, most of which are dull, technical and open to interpretation.

Racism isn’t though, it’s simply wrong.

If you want to tell our student representatives that incitement to violence and anti-semitism are wrong (because clearly someone has to), take less than 30 seconds to click this link and vote to disaffiliate.