Monday, April 17, 2017

UK: Jewish students are sick of empty apologies

Via the Tab:
Over the past few years, Jewish students have felt increasingly alienated from the NUS. In a recent survey commissioned by Robbie Young in his capacity as NUS VP Society and Citizenship it was found that 49 per cent of Jewish students would not feel comfortable attending NUS events, 42 per cent would not feel comfortable engaging in NUS policymaking processes and an enormous 65 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed that NUS would respond appropriately to allegations of antisemitism if they arose. Incidents of antisemitism seem to emerge more and more and evidently, it’s pushing Jewish students away and we are sick of it. 
We are sick of our National Union not taking our concerns seriously. We are sick of antisemitism being used as a political football with apologies only being published when someone’s offensive comments are bad for their public profile. We are sick of antisemitism in the movement and the subsequent apologies being used as a way to showcase a manifesto in a national election. 
For those who have apologised for their comments, and Ali Milani in particular, thank you. Apologies are the first step to rectifying the damage that has been caused by your actions, but an apology is just the beginning and is definitely not the end. Jewish students and the Union of Jewish Students have repeatedly seen apologies being posted across social media with no follow up to even see what Jewish students think of these said apologies. Jewish students have every right to demand apologies and we also have every right not to forgive the offender until we feel that they are truly sorry. (...)
My point is that until an apology is carried through with actions, it appears to be empty words on a page. Even the most offensive antisemite can hide behind a computer screen and type out a few words that make them appear to be sorry, but someone who is truly sorry and wants to show that they no longer think that way will make every effort possible to speak with Jewish students face-to-face to show to those offended that they have changed. Jewish students need more allies than ever and perhaps next time there is a NUS antisemitism scandal, those who have made offensive comments in the past will stand side by side with Jewish students to take action on and condemn antisemitism and any other form of racism that is unfortunately still prevalent in our educational institutions and in our society.
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