Girlfriend of Euan Blair quits NUS in racism row

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The Independent Online

Euan Blair's girlfriend has resigned her post in national student politics after claims that the National Union of Students "is turning a blind eye" to anti-Semitism on university campuses.

Euan Blair's girlfriend has resigned her post in national student politics after claims that the National Union of Students "is turning a blind eye" to anti-Semitism on university campuses.

The Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, entered the row yesterday by expressing his "distress" that three of the union's leading Jewish officials had been forced to quit after growing hostility towards Jewish students.

Luciana Berger, 23, who has been romantically linked with Tony Blair's eldest son, was one of three leading NUS members who quit their posts last week, arguing they could no longer work with student activists who "turn a blind eye to Jewish student suffering". Ms Berger and Mitch Simmons resigned from the union's national executive and Jonny Warren resigned from its steering committee during the national conference last week in Blackpool. They claimed the union's leadership failed to act over anti-Semitic leaflets distributed at the conference and had not intervened during a series of disputes on campuses last year.

The row follows reports of growing conflict on some campuses, notably at the School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the University of London. Jewish students objected to the hosting of a conference last year, organised by the school's Palestinian society, to launch an academic boycott of Israel. They objected to its title - "Resisting Israeli Apartheid: Strategies and Principles" - arguing it incited hatred.

There was also a student union attempt to ban a speaker from the Israeli embassy in London addressing students, on the ground that it would contravene union policy which states that Zionism is racism.

Ms Berger said: "After five years fighting racism, I am devastated to find it so prevalent at the heart of my own union ... It makes a mockery of everything NUS claims to stand for."

Kat Fletcher, the union's national president, said the allegations would be investigated. She said: "NUS is an organisation which has the principles of equality, diversity and democracy at its very core. We are proud of our record in tackling racism and fascism."

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