AUSA President and Israel

September 10th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Students for Justice in Palestine has Facebooked:

In July, the AUSA President took a ten day trip to visit illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine. The trip was funded by the Israeli government which targeted two prominent young leaders from both young labour and young Nats and our AUSA president.

Students for Justice in Palestine call for an official apology from the President of our Students’ Association, Arena Williams, for her disregard for human rights, for visiting an apartheid country under an international boycott, for being unfair and bias on such a contentious issue, for not representing or consulting with students, for not adequately addressing student concerns after they had been raised directly with her, for not being direct, transparent or inclusive and for her disregard for New Zealand’s long history of social justice, especially since AUSA stood up against South African apartheid in the 80’s by supporting the international boycott movement.

Say NO to Israeli apartheid and NO to the normalisation of Israeli occupation. Instead of normalising relations with Israel we need to look towards the student unions worldwide who have officially recognised BDS policies as part of their constitutions.

Censure the AUSA President’s trip to apartheid-Israel.

Wednesday 1pm Quad.

I believe AUSA is better served by focusing on student welfare and education, rather than the Middle East.
However just like other employees, student presidents can take leave. And I see nothing wrong with people visiting Israel, as a guest of their Government. In fact I have done it myself. That doesn’t mean you automatically agree with everything Israel does. But it actually allows you an opportunity to learn more about their perspective, and debate issues and behaviour with them.
I’ve also been to Iran. That doesn’t mean I endorse their Government. What was good about Iran was meeting so many lovely Iranians, and realising that we should avoid conflating a country with a Government.
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