On the final day of NUS conference, the two Union of Jewish Students members on NUS national executive, Luciana Berger and Mitch Simmons, resigned in protest at the NUS leadership’s failure to stand up to growing anti-semitism in the student movement. In addition to the Executive’s lack of response to a variety of anti-semitic comments and incidents over the last year, they might also have cited the political capitulation in search of votes, by NUS President Kat Fletcher and her allies to the MAB-supporting leadership of FOSIS. Yet their resignation statement met with scoffs from all parts of the political spectrum.
Those who doubt that there is a real problem of anti-semitism in the student movement should be made to read the leaflet about “Zionism” distributed at conference by members of the General Union of Palestinian Students. Despite the fact that GUPS has traditionally been linked to the secular nationalist leadership of the PLO, this leaflet contained anti-semitic propaganda of the sort normally associated with the most extreme right-wing Islamists and, sad to say, fascists.
At the end of the 19th century, claims the leaflet, “Jews were split”. “One stream advocated communism as a solution for the world’s problems by creating the International Proletariat Dictatorship [sic]. This clique was composed of [sic] Marxism. Later, Lenin (also a Jew). . . While fighting nationalism by theory, communism and Lenin in particular, was defending Jewish nationalism.”
If this isn’t bad enough, the leaflet goes on: “The second group [of Zionists] was led by secular Jews who established the controversial Protocol of the Elder of Zion [sic]; a concept aiming to dominate the entire world.” It also compares Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazis‚ persecution of Jews and, after images of “Zionists lurking behind the verses of the Torah”, engages in a lengthy diatribe about biblical claims to Palestine.
For those who don’t know, Lenin wasn’t Jewish and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (that’s two plurals) were an anti-semitic forgery, invented by the Tsarist secret police in order to stoke up anti-semitism. For some reason, GUPS has felt the need to revive every last detail of traditional fascist and anti-semitic conspiracy theory.
The genuine left in the student movement needs to sound the alarm against anti-semitism without hesitation or delay. And Palestinian students need to ask what’s happening in GUPS.