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UK Student Union rebukes senior officer for role in Israeli embassy plot

Image of Richard Brooks, a vice president with the NUS [Shoutout_UK/Twitter]
Image of Richard Brooks, a vice president with the NUS [Shoutout_UK/Twitter]

A senior officer in Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS) has been censured for his role in a pro-Israel propaganda scandal to oust a newly elected NUS president.

Earlier this week, the Union’s National Executive Council (NEC) voted that Richard Brooks, a vice president with the NUS, had “violated democratic procedures of accountability.”

Brooks had featured in January’s Al Jazeera documentary on Britain’s pro-Israel lobbying efforts entitled “The Lobby”; an undercover investigation that exposed the Israeli embassy’s role in subverting pro-Palestinian activism in Britain including a plot to “take down” pro-Palestinian MPs.

Undercover footage showed Brooks plotting to oust Malia Bouattia, the president of the NUS and a supporter of Palestinian rights. Brooks made his comments to a reporter, who had been posing as a youth activist with connections to Israel’s embassy in London.

Dismissing Brook’s rejection of all wrongdoing, the NEC passed a motion that resolved to censure Brooks for “violating democratic procedures of accountability” and said that it was unacceptable for a vice president “to discuss the undermining of a democratically elected officer with a student introduced by an embassy and therefore by a foreign government.”

The Union represents more than seven million students in the UK. According to its rulebook, a censure is a rebuke short of a full no-confidence vote at a union conference – which could remove an officer from their position.

In a separate motion that passed by 16 votes to 13, the NEC reaffirmed its support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and condemned recent participation by some elected Union officers in propaganda trips to Israel.

A statement signed by Palestinian student groups said such trips serve to “whitewash Israeli crimes and decades-long oppression of our people” and give “a one-sided, pro-apartheid vision of our reality here in Palestine.”

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