The Union of Jewish Students has praised NUS for ejecting purveyors of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel material from its Blackpool conference last week.
Leaflets featuring offensive cartoons and slogans were distributed by Palestinian student group GUPS. After a complaint by a delegate to the conference steering committee, the GUPS members responsible were asked to leave the premises. They verbally abused students on the UJS stall before being escorted out by police.
UJS campaigns organiser Yair Zivan welcomed the NUS’s no-nonsense approach as a major step forward. “There has been a positive change with the way things were handled. GUPS have been a problem in the past — they are looking for a reaction. As far as we know, they will not be allowed back next year.”
In a statement, NUS national secretary Stephen Brown said that following the incident, “we will be revising our information to stall holders and taking measures to ensure situations like this do not arise in the future. NUS takes the issue of equal opportunities very seriously.”
Overall, UJS considered the conference a great success. It accounted for 80 of the 1,000 delegates and staged the largest fringe event — a meeting on “The Challenges of Contemporary Antisemitism”, with speakers including MP John Mann, chairman of the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism.
Bristol student Joel Braunold was elected to the national executive.