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March 15, 2017 1:20 pm

Candidate Running for Top Spot of UK’s Largest Student Union Slams Organization for Constant Condemnation of Israel

avatar by Lea Speyer

NUS presidential candidate Tom Harwood. Photo: Facebook.

NUS presidential candidate Tom Harwood. Photo: Facebook.

A candidate for the presidency of the UK’s largest student union slammed the umbrella organization for its constant condemnation of Israel, Britain’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Tuesday.

Tom Harwood, a Durham University student seeking the top spot at the National Union of Students (NUS), told the Chronicle that he found it “questionable” that the union “has only ever passed boycott measures against one country — and it happens to be the Jewish state.”

Harwood said that NUS leaders appear to ignore the human rights abuses and conflicts taking place in other parts of the world — such as in Saudi Arabia and Syria — and “the only one that the NUS seems to relentlessly bang on about is Israel.”

“It just makes you wonder, what’s so different about Israel than all these other countries that they feel the need to go on about it? [I] wouldn’t want the NUS to be getting involved in foreign policy at all, one way or the other. I don’t think it’s NUS’s place to do it,” he said.  

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According to Harwood, who is not Jewish, the NUS “needs to take a look at itself and realize there is a problem — certain individuals need to realize they are part of that problem — before we can actually move forward and make campuses across the UK safe for Jewish students.”

The candidate’s comments echo his pledge to “work to turn back the tide of antisemitism on campuses across the country.”

Currently under the leadership of Malia Bouattia — who has been accused of downplaying antisemitism and promoting anti-Zionism on campuses in the UK — the NUS was recently harshly criticized by the British government for “failing” Jewish students.

The NUS presidential elections are expected to take place next month during the union’s national conference. Bouattia is reported to be seeking election to a second term. 

A recent study, as The Algemeiner reported, found that harassment and assault of Jewish students and faculty in the UK nearly doubled last year.

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