The National Union of Students (NUS) has a problem with antisemitism. It needs reform and is no longer fit for purpose. Sadly, it’s newly elected leader looks to only make matters worse.
Just last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “Our universities have, for far too long, been tolerant of casual or indeed systematic antisemitism.”
He added, “I hope that everybody understands the need for change—for rapid and irreversible change—but it is also important that we have an antisemitism taskforce devoted to rooting out antisemitism in education at all levels.”
The NUS is a big part of this problem. It is supposed to represent all students and advocate for better accommodation, access to education and funding for students. Instead, the organisation acts as a far-left activist group that is hostile to views outside of its narrow scope. The group spends most of its focus is on far-left activism, including anti-Israel propaganda.
The NUS recently dropped its backing for the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
Last November, the outgoing leader Larissa Kennedy voted to “revoke its adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.” And just last week it was revealed that the NUS had dropped their commitment to it and removed mention of the IHRA definition from its website.
An unnamed source told the Jewish news at the time: “I strongly suspect NUS has abandoned the IHRA definition without telling anyone and is hoping nobody notices.”
The removal of the definition came to light after controversy arouse from the NUS’s invitation for the rapper Lowkey to perform at one of their events.
Lowkey is a long time anti-Israel activist who in his song lyrics calls for global jihad and regularly speaks about Israel’s destruction. This didn’t seem to be a problem for the NUS. In fact, when Jewish students complained that Lowkey would be involved in an event, the NUS simply told Jewish students that they could go to a different room while the rapper performed if it made them feel safer.
Eventually, the NUS cancelled Lowkey’s planned visit after his controversial views on NATO, Russia and Ukraine made wider headlines.
Unfortunately, these are not one-off occurrences. The NUS has been dominated by anti-Israel viewpoints for a long time. Many of the recent NUS leaders have been strong advocates for “Palestine”.
This week the NUS proved that once again when it voted to elect another far-left leader, Shaima Dallali. Dallali has a strong anti-Israel viewpoint and has espoused antisemitic views in the past, including the praise of antisemitic leaders.
In 2010, Dallali posted an inflammatory tweet stating: “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud.”
In Islamic tradition, the chant – which means, “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning” – is used as a battle cry when attacking Jews or Israelis.
It refers to the Muslim massacre of the Jews of the town of Khaybar in northwestern Arabia in 628 CE.
The Community Security Trust describes the chant as “effectively a call for Jews to be killed.”
Furthermore, she had a Twitter account focused for a Tunisian audience called @TunisianRose, which has since been deleted, that featured the Muslim Brotherhood phrase, “Death for the sake of Allah is our most exalted wish.”
Experts say this is not in the Quran and is associated with the radical Islamist group.
Other controversies include:
On Twitter Ms Dallali has called Jordanian preacher Dr Waseem Yousef a “dirty Zionist” after he wrote that Hamas was launching rockets from between residents’ homes and was making “a graveyard” for children in Gaza.
And in a 2018 article she sung the praises of Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi – who was expelled from Britain, the US, France and Germany – calling him the “moral compass for the Muslim community at large”. In a sermon on January 9, 2009, Qaradawi lashed out at Jews, including calling on God to “kill them, down to the very last one.”
Between 2018 and 2019, Ms Dallali was a project manager for pro-Palestinian advocacy group Europal.
In 2017, Europal was reported to be organising a trip to the Commons for preacher Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, who dismissed the Holocaust as a “fairytale exploited by Israel to capture international solidarity”.
Ms Dallali also has a YouTube account where, in 2014, she posted two videos from a demonstration in which protesters called for an intifada and a “hit” on Tel Aviv.
She also twice posted in 2021 the Hamas rallying cry of “From the river to the sea” which is widely understood to call for the destruction of Israel. (Source)
Shaima Dallali has gone through her Twitter account deleting many of her old tweets in an attempt to hide her views.
It is deeply troubling to see the successful election of someone who has regularly espoused anti-Israel and even antisemitic views. However, it is not surprising for the far-left activist group.
Jewish journalist Sabrina Miller describes the NUS as “out of touch and unrepresentative. It has a limited understanding of what most students care about. It does not represent the majority but instead amplifies the voices of an intolerant, fringe faction.”
Miller suggests, “Mainstream organisations should no longer take this group seriously. Student unions should disaffiliate from this ridiculous mob.”
“I have watched it spiral down the far-left rabbit hole of lunacy. The National Union of Students is an unredeemable cesspit,” she adds.
Miller concludes that the NUS, “should be dissolved before it can cause any more harm.”