NUS report shows Holocaust education has failed, says peer

Baroness Deech says 'disgraceful' antisemitism at the National Union of Students shows Holocaust teaching must be revised


The “disgraceful” antisemitism at the National Union of Students proves that Holocaust education in schools has failed, a crossbench peer has told the JC.

Baroness Deech, who put her name to a letter criticising the NUS over its “vague” action plan that followed a bombshell report on Jew-hate at the organisation, said the scandal showed Shoah education needed to be revised in the light of modern antisemitism and opposition to Israel.

“The students whose disgraceful conduct was detailed in the Tuck Report had Holocaust education at school and clearly it has failed,” she said.

“It needs to be re-shaped as education about Jews, their history, why antisemitism exists and how it contributed to the Holocaust, its persistence today including anti-Zionism, the Jewish attachment to and need for Israel.”

Baroness Deech signed a letter alongside a number of prominent Jewish groups, including B’nai B’rith UK, UK Lawyers For Israel and the National Jewish Assembly, criticising the student union’s action plan to combat antisemitism that followed the Tuck Report.

The letter, drafted by non-profit Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), warned the NUS proposal to reinstate its catch-all “Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism Committee” as a place to tackle Jew-hate “will open the door for the politicisation of and distraction from efforts to combat antisemitism and other forms of racism”.

It also recommended that the action plan is guided by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, and that “NUS and student union staff receive adequate and sufficient training on antisemitism, with a basis on the IHRA definition and examples, and guided and/or provided by respected Jewish organisations”.

The letter also took aim at the union’s commitment to create a panel of “expert facilitators” to support debates and campaigns regarding Israel and Palestine within the NUS or student unions.

CAMERA warned that the facilitators could “enforce an orthodoxy of belief or provide an appearance of legitimacy and approval for controversial individuals and/or beliefs”.
The letter also expressed appreciation for the union’s “endeavours to protect Jewish students and resolve this flagrant history of discrimination”.

READ MORE: I want to see real change from NUS - not just a fig leaf to cover bad habits - Robert Halfon MP

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