Last week, it was revealed that the then-hopeful NUS candidate Shaima Dallali was forced to apologise for tweeting the words of an antisemitic chant. In 2012, during an escalation of tensions between Israel and the antisemitic genocidal terrorist group Hamas, Ms Dallali tweeted the words “Khaybar Khaybar, ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad, sa yahud.”
Translated into English, this chant means “Jews, remember the battle of Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.” It is a classic Arabic battle cry referencing the massacre and expulsion of the Jews of the town of Khaybar in northwestern Arabia, now Saudi Arabia, in the year 628 CE.
Ms Dallali issued a statement on 23rd March, saying: “Earlier today I was made aware of a tweet I posted ten years ago. During Israel’s assault on Gaza I referenced the battle of Khaybar in which Jewish and Muslim armies fought. I was wrong to see the Palestine conflict as one between Muslims and Jews. The reference made as a teenager was unacceptable and I sincerely and unreservedly apologise.”
Ms Dallali is currently the President of the City, University of London students’ union. Last year, prior to Ms Dallali’s tenure as President, the union organised a controversial campus-wide referendum on the International Definition of Antisemitism after reportedly failing to consult Jewish students.
It has now come to light that Ms Dallali’s output on Twitter also included other inflammatory messages, including one last May allegedly saying that “organisations like UJS [the Union of Jewish Students] have a history of bullying pro-Palestine sabbs [sabbatical officers] and activists. You speak one word of solidarity and they’re after you. UJS and their likes need to be called out.”
Another alleged tweet from 2018 read: “So your special forces invade the Gaza Strip, attempt to kidnap a Hamas commander, kill him and others. Then cry about Hamas being the terrorists. Makes perfect sense. #GazaUnderAttack.” Hamas is an antisemitic genocidal terrorist organisation that is proscribed in the UK.
Other alleged tweets expressed support for Jeremy Corbyn, the antisemitic former leader of the Labour Party. On 17th November 2020, Ms Dalalli wrote a response to Mr Corbyn’s readmission to the Labour Party, saying that “He should never have been suspended in the first place.” A few months later, on 5th January 2021, Ms Hallami tweeted that “Jeremy Corbyn was too good for this godforsaken country.” At present, these tweets have not yet been deleted, though it has been reported that several others have.
Last week, the Chair of the Education Select Committee, Robert Halfon MP, excoriated NUS for failing to send a representative to attend his recent hearing, particularly given that the hearing took place just days after a scandal involving the rapper Kareem Dennis, known as Lowkey, who was due to headline the union’s centenary conference. After initially dismissing the concerns of Jewish students, who pointed out the rapper’s inflammatory record, the union came under media scrutiny and eventually Mr Dennis withdraw from the event.
In an attempt at an apology, NUS grotesquely alleged that “Whilst we welcome genuine political debate, we’ve been sad to see the use of harassment and misinformation against Lowkey.” Swiping at Mr Halfon, NUS has asserted that “MPs and education leaders are accountable to us not the other way round,” declared that “Old school bullying culture is never acceptable including at Government committees [sic],” and that “Elected student leaders aren’t required to take endless levels of abuse in their roles.”
Concerns were also raised about the outgoing President of NUS and one of her Vice Presidents.
NUS’s handling of Jewish concerns over the booking of Lowkey was discussed on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism.
Binyomin Gilbert, Programme Manager at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Shaima Dallali’s election as NUS President only a week after the Lowkey scandal is just the latest indication that this union does not even aspire to represent Jewish students. She has not even taken office and has already had to apologise for one historic antisemitic tweet while rapidly deleting many other inflammatory social media posts. If she wishes to show that she personally has learned a lesson and seeks to lead a truly inclusive union, she should commit to meeting with Jewish students and educate herself on their concerns and also announce that NUS under her leadership will recommit to the International Definition of Antisemitism. If she cannot bring herself to do that in short order, the Government should end its enormous grant to NUS.”
If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected].