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There was a brilliant step forward for the NUS in August 2014 when it passed a motion against the onslaught on Gaza and in support of BDS. So it was really important to keep that support strong at this year’s conference. An excellent amended motion was put forward by SOAS Student Union after their recent victory with the academic boycott referendum, calling on the NUS to fully back the BDS call. It was not possible to discuss this motion at conference due to time constraints, but it will be voted on in June this year by the NUS National Executive Committee. If this passes, it will be another huge victory for the campaign for a free and just Palestine. It will signal the support of the NUS, a body which represents 7 million students, and will mandate them to take real action.
As well as the BDS motion, the PSC stall was incredibly popular. The most encouraging thing to take away from the conference was the number of students who did not know about BDS or much about Palestine. With only a quick discussion, watching a short clip of Five Broken Cameras, or reading PSC postcards, the vast majority of these students were keen to get involved. The tide is really turning in terms of support for Palestine, and for BDS as a mainstream strategy. Most of these students were willing to express this support publicly. They were willing to stand up and be vocal about their solidarity with Palestine by being photographed for a huge Twitter audience. Palestine is now seen as one of the essential issues on any student agenda.