NUS president dismissed over anti-Semitism claims

NUS president dismissed over anti-Semitism claims

Shaima DallaliImage source, NUS

The National Union of Students (NUS) has dismissed its president, Shaima Dallali, over anti-Semitism claims.

It follows an independent code-of-conduct investigation after allegations were made against her.

The findings of a wider investigation into the NUS are yet to be published.

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said it “respects” the decision to dismiss Ms Dallali but the fact she had been elected in the first place was “a symptom of a wider problem” in the NUS.

Ms Dallali tweeted she had found out about her dismissal through Twitter, which was “unacceptable”, and removed a reference to her role as president in her Twitter bio.

The NUS claims to represent seven million students in the UK, through its member students’ unions across the country.

‘Deemed unfit’

The investigation into Ms Dallali is confidential and no details have been published.

She was elected during the NUS’s National Conference in March, and concerns were soon raised by Jewish students about her views.

In 2012, Ms Dallali posted a tweet that included an Arabic chant that referenced what has been described as a massacre of Jews in the year AD 628, which she has since apologised for.

It is possible she could appeal against the decision.

In a statement, the NUS apologised for the “harm that has been caused” and said it hoped “to rebuild the NUS in an inclusive way”.

Chloe Field, the acting chair of the NUS UK Board, said she was “proud to fight on behalf of all students”.

“I am determined to work together with the Union of Jewish Students to re-establish trust in our organisation and tackle some of the biggest issues facing students right now,” she said.

In statement, the UJS said it “respects” the decision.

But it added: “Anti-Semitism in the student movement goes beyond the actions of any one individual and this case is a symptom of a wider problem.

“Jewish students across the country will be asking how an individual deemed unfit for office by NUS was elected in the first place.”

‘Racist attacks’

The Federation of Student Islamic Societies, though, has defended Ms Dallali.

She had faced “multiple Islamophobic and racist attacks” since her election, it said in September, calling for an investigation into “institutional Islamophobia” within the NUS.

In May, the government in England cut ties with the NUS because of concerns about anti-Semitism.

Michelle Donelan, who was Universities Minister at the time, said she was horrified that some Jewish students might feel ostracised by a group that should be a voice for all.

Responding to Ms Dallali’s dismissal, Education Minister Robert Halfon said the Department for Education welcomed the verdict and looked “forward to seeing the outcome of the next stage”.

He added that the wider report, which was originally due out at the end of last month, would “provide more detail on National Union of Students’ plans to address anti-Semitism within the organisation”.

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