The National Union of Students has voted to remove the right of Jewish students to choose their representative on the union’s Anti-Racism and Anti-Fascism Committee. In previous years, the Jewish student representative bodies (representing around 8,500 registered Jewish students) were consulted and had a say in choosing the Jewish representative on the committee. That is no longer the case, and now the decision will be solely that of NUS’s National Executive Committee and its President Malia Bouattia. Indeed it was Bouattia who approved the amendment, using her casting vote.
Malia Bouattia has called Birmingham University a “Zionist outpost in higher education” because it has “the largest Jsoc [Jewish student society] in the country.” She has railed against “Zionist-led media outlets”, defended Palestinian terrorism as “resistance” and voted against condemning ISIS. When CAA and others called on her to retract her comments, condemn terrorism and endorse the NUS policy on antisemitism she counterclaimed instead.
Given Malia Bouattia’s track record on Jewish matters, it may not come as a surprise that it was her casting vote that condemned the Jewish student body to lose the right to choose its representative in the NUS campaign against racism and fascism.
The Union of Jewish Students has condemned the decision, saying that this just another example of “Jews being pushed out of university life”.
This is another instance of the welfare of Jewish students being deliberately ignored, and voices of Jewish students being shunned. Furthermore, by replacing the Jewish students’ representative with an unendorsed committee member, there is a clear risk that the perpetrators of antisemitism will feel protected.
In reality, this decision can only open the door to antisemites and denude the NUS of its ability to represent and protect Jewish students. Just in April, Bouattia said she would “listen to and understand Jewish concerns”. Once again she has listened, understood, and done the opposite of what was asked.