Shaima Dallali, the President of the National Union of Students (NUS), has been suspended amidst investigations into her conduct following allegations of antisemitism, according to LBC’s Political Editor.
It is reportedly the first time in the Union’s 100-year history that a President has been suspended.
The announcement came after Robert Halfon MP wrote together with Campaign Against Antisemitism to the Charity Commission calling for an investigation into the union’s charitable arm. The full dossier on NUS, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, can be read here. In addition, over twenty former NUS Presidents wrote a letter expressing their “serious concerns about antisemitism”, and another letter, organised by the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and signed by over 1,000 Jewish students and allies, called for NUS to launch an independent investigation.
The investigation came in the wake of numerous controversies involving NUS. In one recent scandal, the rapper Kareem Dennis, known as Lowkey, was due to headline NUS’s centenary conference last month. 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 withdrew from the event. As the scandal erupted, Robert Halfon MP excoriated NUS for failing to send a representative to attend a hearing held by the Education Select Committee, which he chairs.
Ms 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.”
It also came 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.
An NUS spokesperson said: “We cannot comment at this time as we are in the middle of an independent QC-led investigation into allegations of antisemitism. But as we have said before, we are prepared to take any and all actions recommended by Rebecca Tuck QC’s investigation.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “While the details of this unprecedented reported suspension of Shaima Dallali are not yet clear, it may be a very promising first step by NUS as the investigation by Rebecca Tuck QC, to which we have contributed, progresses. We hope that this suspension represents the first acknowledgement by NUS of how dreadful its relations with Jewish students have become, and augurs real change at the union, but it is too early to tell. We will continue to ensure that NUS is held to account for its record and is supported if it shows, for the first time, a real good faith effort to reform.”
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].