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The NUS Play at Geopolitics Because Listening to Students Is Hard Work

27/07/2015 10:46 BST | Updated 24/07/2016 10:59 BST

This week, I nearly thought that the National Union of Students did something honourable.

I was checking Twitter before going to sleep on Monday night when I found out the NUS - the organisation that claims to represent me and hundreds of thousands of other students (unless NUS executives don't agree with them) - condemned its president for not wanting to take Coca-Cola off campus. The corporate behemoth with a deathlike grip on the soft drinks industry around the world was soon to be gone from our universities for the foreseeable future, I rejoiced.

I rejoiced right up until the point I found out why.

The NUS don't like the government of Israel, and Coca-Cola have built a plant or two in disputed Palestinian territory, so the NUS cautioned their President for her dealings with Coke - all despite an open letter from over 50 separate student unions asking the NUS to reject the motion.

There are plenty of reasons not to like the government of Israel. But to think that Coca-Cola are big players in a territory dispute is silly, and to think that boycotting them will do a great deal of damage to the Israeli government is naïve.

Coke, after all, has bottling plants in almost every territory it operates in (that's why it can taste different from country to country). Not buying Coke in the UK is mostly going to hurt those working in Britain.

But the reason I'm really disappointed is because there are so many better and valid reasons for supporting a boycott of Coca-Cola. Rather than worrying about geopolitical issues that are frankly beyond their limited output, the executives at the NUS should be asking themselves:

All of the above are practices that should be of interest to a student union: health, pay, workers' rights.

Yet it's only because Coke are involved in Israel, a country the NUS don't like, that they've decided to condemn them. No wonder some Jewish students feel targeted:

This incident is just one of many that has sparked bitter (but most notably pointless) infighting amongst an NUS completely out of touch with the students it claims to represent. Perhaps it's time for the 50 student unions that signed the opposing letter to look for an alternative...