The National Executive of the National Union of Students has passed a complex resolution on the Gaza conflict which has been warmly welcomed by the leadership of the Union of Jewish Students.
As students all over Britain began the new winter term with the fighting in Gaza still heading the news, the NUS was well aware that its membership covers both sides of the divide.
The NUS President, Wes Streeting, made it clear that “we shouldn’t pretend that NUS can speak with one voice on the complexities of this conflict.”
Nevertheless, the NEC said, “The conflict in the Middle East stirs up great emotion across the world and that is often translated onto campuses across the United Kingdom.
“No international situation should result in a racist backlash in this country and we have a responsibility to protect our members from any such racism.
“This conflict should not be characterised as Jewish people versus Muslim people.”
Mr Streeting said: “We are deeply concerned with the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel and the devastating impact on the innocent Palestinians and Israelis who have lost friends and loved ones and those who live in fear.
“World leaders must pull out all the stops and pile on the pressure to bring peace and security to the region in both the short and long term.
“We stand in solidarity with Israeli and Palestinian students in calling a for an immediate ceasefire — an end to Hamas rocket attacks and the Israeli military operation and a fair, just and lasting peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people.”
The union called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to both Hamas rocket attacks and the Israeli military operation with the aim of re-starting the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
It added that both sides “should do all they can to ensure the right to education, which can and should play a vital role in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the conflict”.
The NUS also strongly declared its opposition to Hamas, describing it as a “terror organisation”, which, it said, had followed the “path of violence based on vicious antisemitism”. The union said it must do everything possible “to avoid any sort of racist backlash or deteriorating relations between groups of students as a result of an international conflict”.