Making sure Jewish voices were heard at NUS Conference

Looking back to when I arrived in Glasgow, Conference was a little different to what I expected. From to delegates in chicken hats to an occupation of Conference floor, it was quite an experience- but definitely three days well spent.

For me, the highlight was UJS’ fringe on Tuesday, a one-man play about anti-Semitism called, ‘A Lizard’s Tale.’  As well as a sobering reminder of how conspiracies feed into anti-Semitism, it was also a funny, witty and really enjoyable play. To be honest, I probably would have enjoyed it more if I’d managed to find a seat but the fringe was so popular that delegates were queuing round the corner and had to be turned away- although that might just have been because of the wine and canapés!

As well as the success of the fringe, I was also incredibly proud to see two Jewish women stand to be NUS Vice-Presidents. Putting yourself forward for such a high-profile task takes so much guts, and Izzy Lenga and Jess Levy are both credits to the Jewish community.

UJS and Anthony Nolan both ran really successful stalls, with Anthony Nolan doing another drive for bone marrow donors and UJS signing up student leaders to a trip to Auschwitz.

But as ever in student politics, things weren’t all good for Jewish students this week. It was really upsetting that a statement from a Jewish delegate about anti-Semitism wasn’t read out on Tuesday because of time constraints. Although this was rectified and a full apology made, it simply isn’t good enough that once again Jewish students don’t have their voices heard.

Glasgow 2017 also marks the final year we see Robbie Young in the student movement. Robbie, NUS’s Vice-President Society and Citizenship, has been a staunch ally of Jewish students and he will be sorely missed. But he leaves behind an NUS team, led by Shakira Martin, that genuinely cares about the concerns of Jewish students.

Overall, NUS Conference was a great experience and I would definitely recommend that Jewish students go in the future, because Jewish voices need to be heard. And as Jewish students head back home for Pesach, we can say that the NUS is in a good place.

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