National Union of Students to be investigated over antisemitism claims

‘There can be no place for antisemitism within the student movement’

The National Union of Students (NUS) has launched an independent investigation into claims of antisemitism within its own movement.

These allegations relate to president-elect Shaima Dallali as well as a speaker booked for the NUS’s 2022 conference.

Before the investigation was announced, a private warning was sent by 20 former NUS presidents saying the union must address the concerns of Jewish students.

A spokesperson for the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) previously claimed the union had “attacked the Jewish community, UJS, and supported speakers with extremely challenging views.”

The NUS board met on Wednesday to discuss a course of action, before announcing the investigation and releasing the following statement: “There can be no place for antisemitism within the student movement. We are listening to the concerns being raised and we’re very concerned about the pain and hurt being expressed.

“We will take any and all actions that are needed to remedy any wrongdoing and rebuild trust with Jewish students as well as our Members, partners and stakeholders.” 

So what exactly are the NUS antisemitism claims about?

Incoming NUS president Shaima Dallali has recently come under fire for “attacking the Jewish community” in a historical tweet that referenced a massacre of Jewish people in 628.

A video also emerged of the president-elect “harassing” Jewish students outside a talk given by a former Israeli politician at King’s College London.


Shaima (in red)

Responding to the recent allegations, Dallali said her “hands are outstretched to…Jewish students” and that much of the  “pre-emptive scrutiny” she has faced is “symptomatic of the nature of Gendered Islamophobia.”

The other claim against the NUS relates to the union’s decision to host rapper Lowkey at their annual conference.

In an online interview, Lowkey said the mainstream media had “weaponised the Jewish heritage of Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, to try to stave off these genuine inquiries into the nature of the groups fighting in Ukraine.”

The recent allegations of antisemitism even prompted the government to wade in on the issue. Universities minister Michelle Donelan wrote in a tweet: “I am deeply concerned by NUS antisemitism, including the remarks of the new president.”

She added: “I am considering a range of possible measures, including reporting the NUS to the Charity Commission and full suspension from all engagement with the government – to be replaced by alternative student voices- unless they take immediate steps to regain the confidence of Jewish students.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Incoming NUS president ‘harassed’ Jewish students outside talk by former Israeli politician

• Jewish students slam incoming NUS president for ‘attacking the Jewish community’

• Boris Johnson: ‘Universities for too long have been tolerant of systematic antisemitism’