NUS should be 'SANCTIONED' over 'poor treatment' of Jewish students

National Union of Students should be ‘SANCTIONED’ over ‘poor treatment’ of Jewish students, says government adviser – days after group’s president issued apology over old ‘anti-Semitic’ social media posts

  • Shaima Dallali was announced as the new president of the NUS last week 
  • But Jewish students have raised concerns over her historic social media posts
  • Lord Mann has called for NUS to be ‘sanctioned’ for treatment of Jewish students
  • He says PM should refuse to recognise union as ‘legitimate voice of students’
  • NUS accuses him of ‘vague allegations about organisation he hasn’t contacted’

The National Union of Students should be ‘sanctioned’ over its ‘poor treatment’ of Jewish students, a government adviser has said – days after the group’s president-elect issued an apology over old ‘anti-Semitic’ social media posts.

Shaima Dallali was voted president-elect of the NUS last week, but Jewish students have raised concerns after historic tweets emerged referencing the massacre of Jews in the 628 Battle of Khaybar.

She also came under fire for having a ‘death for the sake of Allah is our most exalted wish’ in the bio of an old account – a slogan used by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Ms Dallali issued a public apology after receiving a fierce backlash over the posts, but former Labour MP Lord Mann has now said Boris Johnson should refuse to recognise the union as the ‘legitimate voice of students’.

He called for tough sanctions to be imposed as a response to ‘escalating revelations about the continuing poor treatment of Jewish students and the lack of leadership on anti-Jewish racism from the union’, The Times reports.

Lord Mann said the NUS should also be denied access to ministers, be removed from bodies or committees where the government has a say over membership and should be ‘disregarded’ for positions on higher and further education bodies.

It comes after historic tweets emerged in which Ms Dalalli referenced an ancient Islamic battle cry relating to a massacre of Jews.  

Ms Dallali (pictured) apologised after receiving a fierce backlash over ‘anti-Semitic’ social media posts including an ancient Islamic battle cry relating to a massacre of Jews

Former Labour MP Lord Mann has now said Boris Johnson should refuse to recognise the union as the ‘legitimate voice of students’

In 2012, she wrote: ‘Khaybar Khaybar O Jews … Muhammad’s army will return #Gaza.’ 

She apologised for the ‘wrong’ and ‘unacceptable’ post last week, which has since been deleted, saying the tweet was made as a teenager. 

But The Jewish Chronicle last week claimed Ms Dallali had ‘sung the praises of a Jew-hating cleric’ and labelled Waseem Yousef as a ‘dirty Zionist’ after he wrote that Hamas was launching rockets from between residents’ homes and was making a ‘graveyard’ for children in Gaza.

It also said she praised Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who was expelled from the UK, US, France and Germany, for being a ‘moral compass for the Muslim community at large’ in a 2018 article.

The NUS, meanwhile, was also slammed by Jewish student groups last month, who said they had been ‘failed’ after the union invited controversial rapper Lowkey to appear at its annual conference for students from marginalised groups.

The rapper, whose real name is Kareem Dennis, has previously expressed support for former Labour MP Chris Williamson, who was suspended from the party in 2019 before being kicked out over allegations of anti-Semitism, and Professor David Miller, a former sociology lecturer at Bristol University who was sacked after alleged antisemitic comments.

Lowkey (pictured performing on stage) pulled out of his scheduled appearance as a guest at the annual NUS conference, with the union later releasing a lengthy statement in which it acknowledged the ‘strong response’ to his announcement 

The City University activist came under fire for having a slogan used by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in her bio. The sentence – which experts said is not in the Quran and is associated with the two groups – written in Arabic next to #Tunisia

In order to avoid sanctions, Lord Mann said the government should hold a summit with the Union of Jewish Students to agree a ‘permanent action plan’ to address their concerns.

He added that the NUS should also appear before the Commons Education Select Committee to set out plans on how it will ensure ‘respect for all Jewish students’.

In a tweet last week addressing concerns, she said: ‘My hands are outstretched to all students and staff that work in our movement, including Jewish students, and would love to arrange a meeting once I’m in office.

‘I stand ready to listen to the concerns of all students on how we can make our movement inclusive and open to all.’

And addressing the tweet on the Battle of Khayber on March 23, she added: ‘Earlier today, I was made aware of a tweet I posted 10 years ago.

‘During Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2012. I reference the battle of Khayber, in which Muslim and Jewish armies fought. I was wrong to see the Palestine conflict as one between Muslims and Jews.

‘This reference made as a teenager was unacceptable, and I sincerely & unreservedly apologise.’ 

A statement from the NUS said: ‘NUS unequivocally support and fight for Jewish students’ right to live and study free from the threat of antisemitism. 

‘We have a proud and longstanding relationship with the Union of Jewish Students who we welcome warmly within the NUS community; we see UJS as an important voice in improving our work to make education, and the student movement, safer for Jewish students. 

‘That’s why we regularly sit down with UJS, and why we look forward to continuing to do so in the future.

‘The past few weeks will have given Jewish students cause for concern about NUS and many may be wondering if this is a safe space for them. For that, we are truly sorry. 

‘We want to reaffirm that this is and will continue to be a safe space. Our actions must speak louder than our words so we will be reviewing what has happened over the past few weeks and making changes in the future.

‘We think that it is important that this issue is treated incredibly seriously. The voices of Jewish students must be front and centre, and we are happy to receive external expertise as we go forward. 

‘But for this process to take place in a constructive manner, we would welcome being approached in good faith instead of learning about plans in the press.’

Addressing Lord Mann’s comments directly, a spokesperson for the union accused him of making ‘vague allegations about an organisation he hasn’t contacted’.

They continued: ‘We work with the UK Government and their various advisors and officials all the time. And we’re more than happy to work with John Mann on the important issue of antisemitism if he wishes to work with us. 

‘It is somewhat concerning to us, however, that he should make such a public statement without having made any attempts to make contact with us or find out exactly what’s happened here. 

‘Allegations of antisemitism are incredibly serious matters which is why it is critical that due process is followed. 

‘For John Mann to make vague allegations about an organisation he hasn’t contacted based on media reports alone seems to be below the standards we would expect our Government or their appointed advisors to be operating at.’

The NUS said it takes all allegations of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and it ‘won’t hesitate’ to take action if required. 

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