Islamic Human Rights Commission
URGENT ALERT: Outrage as NUS invites Shimon Peres to annual conference
1 April 2003
The National Union of Students has outraged moral and political sensibilities by allowing Shimon Peres to speak at its annual conference.
IHRC fears that the involvement of figures like Peres in British student politics will result in biased discussion and result in inappropriate actions by the NUS with regards to its policies on the Palestinian crisis, which has become an increasingly significant issue for students. By allowing the meeting to go ahead, the NUS is not promoting the interests of the students it claims to represent as set out in its aims and objectives.
In 1947 Shimon Peres joined the Haganah movement, a Zionist militia organization, now known as the IDF, under the direction of David Ben-Gurion who later appointed Peres head of Israel\’s navy. In 1952 he was appointed Deputy Director General of the Defence Ministry, and served as its Director-General between 1953-59. Peres went on to serve as Deputy Defence Minister from 1959 to 1965, during which time he stepped up state weapons production and initiated a nuclear-research program. Peres having served as both Prime Minister and Minister of foreign Affairs also supported and justified the kidnapping of Vanunu Mordechai by the Israeli secret service whilst in office. Mordechai was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for disclosing to the world that Israel had secretly produced 100-200 nuclear warheads and served the first 11 1/2 years in solitary confinement.
In his book entitled \’The new Middle East\’ published in 1993 Peres states unequivocally that \”The right of return is an unacceptable maximalist position that would wipe out the national character of the state of Israel.\” There are currently six million Palestinian refugees in the world which translates as three quarters of the entire Palestinian population. The Palestinians continue to be denied the right to return in the face of UN resolution 194 that has consequently been re-affirmed 135 times. Meanwhile illegal settlement building and expansion on the occupied territories, also argued to be a covert form of ethnic cleansing has continued unabated.
It is completely disgraceful that the NUS has allowed the UJS to invite a political figure that has legitimised the oppression of Palestinians to a student meeting. By doing so the NUS is making an inappropriate political statement which indicates a siding on the Palestinian/Israeli issue at the expense of an accurate portrayal of the crisis and therefore an autonomous position with regards to it.
There is no place for figures like Peres in student politics. The significantly one sided meeting will stifle debate and unfortunately draw the context under which future discussions would be held.
The meeting which is to take place at the Union of Jewish students (UJS) fringe meeting at 6pm today (1 April 2003)in Blackpool.
IHRC urges its campaigners to call fax and email the NUS to protest their decision.
National Union of Students
Nelson Mandela House
461 Holloway Road
tel: 020 7272 8900
01253 752 188
fax: 020 7263 5713
01253 752 186
National Union of Students Scotland
29 Forth Street
phone: 0131 556 6598
fax: 0131 557 5679
National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland
29 Bedford Street
phone: 028 9024 4641
fax: 028 9043 9659
National Union of Students Wales
(Undeb Cenedlaethol Myfyrwyr Cymru)
phone: 029 2037 5980
fax: 029 2023 5755
For further information, please call the press office on (+ 44) 208 902 0888, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Telephone (+44) 20 8902 0888
Fax (+44) 20 8902 0889