The UK’s National Union of Student’s Black Students conference has endorsed the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) at their national conference at the University of Warwick. The annual gathering passed Motion 402: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions by an “overwhelming” majority, according to NUS National Black Students’ Officer Aaron Kiely.
The Black Students’ campaign, a self-organised autonomous section of the NUS, “represents the largest constituency of Black students in Europe and students of African, Asian, Arab and Caribbean descent, at a local and national level on all issues affecting Black students”.
The motion condemns Israel’s “multitude of human rights and international law violations”, describing “Israeli expansion on Palestinian land” as “a settler-colonial project, predicated on the ethnic cleansing and expulsion of its indigenous people”. The motion also slams “systemic” racism in Israeli state policy, including “anti-Arab, anti-African and anti-migrant discrimination”.
Noting “numerous BDS successes on campus this past year” despite “repression used against BDS campaigners both in the UK and abroad”, Motion 402 declares support for “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns initiated by students”, and mentions G4S, Veolia and Eden Springs by name. The motion commits the Black Students campaign to lobbying “institutions to adopt academic boycott of Israeli universities”, disseminating “resources and materials on how to run successful BDS campaigns”, and supporting “the annual Israeli Apartheid Week initiative”.
The Black Students conference awarded Student of the Year to Malaka Mohammed, a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip recognised for her achievement in defying the blockade to study at Sheffield University, and then going on to win a full time sabbatical role in her student union with a record number of votes. Conference also gave an award for international peace and justice to King’s College London for their campaign work for Palestine including right to education and BDS.