on 3rd August we held our first NEC meeting, the most contentious debate was obviously the situation in the middle east, one of the resolves from that meeting was for the "co-convenors of the anti-racism anti-fascism campaign to write a letter to George Galloway" re: position on Hezbollah
I read that as one joint letter from Sam and Ruquayyah. There were disagreements between the two about the way forward. (emails attached)
Ruquyyah then unilaterally sent the letter below and Sam's will now in response to this be also sent unilaterally. The press release will be based on Sams's response and NEC policy - as per usual practise.
It is a shame that no co-operative decision could have been reached that follwed the NEC policy, I feel the policy of the National Executive has been ignored and treated with contempt - therfore I write this email to inform you of the sequence of events.
Also an email has been sent to officers condemning NEC policy, this is unhelpful, devisive and destructive to NUS at a time when we have several referenda coming up. So please do not repsond to any emails you have on this issue, i will co-ordinate repsonses centrally.
RUQUAYYAH's LETTER - been sent already.
Dear Respect Coalition,
I write to ‘condemn your current stance on the crisis in the Middle
East’ following comments made by George Galloway at the emergency
demonstration on the 22nd July in support of Hizbullah and its leader
I was mandated to write to you by the NUS NEC meeting on 3 August where
the current crisis was discussed.
Unfortunately, the NEC did not call for an immediate and complete
ceasefire to stop the carnage in Lebanon which has so far claimed the
lives of some 1000 Lebanese and around 100 Israelis. The NEC voted not
to support an immediate ceasefire and instead called for a `sustainable
ceasefire'. Such language has been used by George Bush and Tony Blair
giving Israel a green light for the massacres of civilians and wholesale
destruction of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon.
Unfortunately the motion did not call for the release of all prisoners
by all sides either. It called for the release of the three Israeli
soldiers held by Hizbollah and the Palestinians. It did not call for the
release of the nearly 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, including 300
children and half of the democratically elected government, held by the
Israelis, nor for the Lebanese citizens that the Israelis have held for
many, many years.
Unfortunately the executive did not mandate me or anyone else to write
to Tony Blair to demand that he stop effectively supporting the massacre
of civilians and destruction of the civilian infrastructure of Lebanon
by refusing to support the calls for an immediate ceasefire.
Neither did the Executive ask me or anyone else to write to George Bush
to demand that he stop supplying the weapons which are being used
against the civilian population of Lebanon and Gaza.
NUS Anti-Racism/Anti-Fascism Convenor
Finally Ruqayyah's statment:
On Thursday 3 August, the NUS NEC discussed and passed policy on the
current crisis unfolding in the Middle East.
Unfortunately the NEC voted down a proposal calling for an immediate
I believe that this decision is completely out of touch with the views
of students, the overwhelming majority of whom want to see peace and
Over the last three weeks the conflict has claimed the lives of some
1000 Lebanese and around 100 Israelis. The United Nations Children's'
Fund have estimated that a third of the casualties are children.
Children make up nearly half of the 1 million Lebanese – more than a
quarter of the population - who have been displaced by the conflict and
are now at risk from disease and malnutrition.
As the killing and violence continues, students should demand that NUS
adds its voice to the scores of MPs from across the political spectrum,
Amnesty International, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Israeli peace
organisation Gush Shalom and many others calling for an immediate
Instead of calling for an immediate end to this carnage, the NUS NEC in
effect followed the lead of George Bush and Tony Blair, by calling for a
'sustainable ceasefire', suggesting that further violence including
ongoing slaughter of civilians and wholesale destruction of the civilian
infrastructure of Lebanon, is necessary.
NUS should not stand by while the death toll continues to mount.
I encourage all students and student officers to write to NUS President,
Gemma Tumulty email@example.com and send me a copy to
firstname.lastname@example.org urging that NUS adds its voice to those calling for an
immediate ceasefire as the first step towards a lasting peace for all.
NUS Black Students' Officer