GB: Government’s question on the election of student union leader

The UK government this week called for an inquiry into the election of the president of the country’s largest student body, alleging that his failure to recognize the definition needed for international holocaust remembrance could have reversed his victory. ,

The president of the UK National Union of Students (NUS), Shaima Dalalli, has already come under criticism for various anti-Israeli and allegedly anti-Semitic remarks.

She was involved in a campaign to defeat the adoption of the IHRA definition in a referendum held on the issue while studying at City University London in March 2021.

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according to this Jewish ChronicleDalí “liked” a social media post by City Friends of Palestine, an association he founded, which called for the rejection of the IHRA definition.

The referendum then declined to adopt the definition by a two-thirds majority.

when Jewish Chronicle Asked whether she supports the definition of the IHRA, Dallali said she is “committed to creating a NUS that is open to all students … a community that does not know and does not discriminate against any form of discrimination”. Or stands up against injustice”.

“My commitment to racism has not changed,” she said.

according to this HistoryBritain’s Universities Minister Michelle Donelan has written to Civica Election Services, the body that oversees Dalalli’s election, demanding an investigation into allegations that the new president has violated the “fundamental rules” of the NUS by opposing the definition.

Britain’s Secretary of State for Education, Nadim Zahvi, with the Minister of State for Education, Michelle Donelan, leaves from 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday, October 27, 2021. (credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The report said the NUS rule states that all applicants for office in the union must “commit to combating racism … and anti-Semitism as defined by the IHRA.”

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However, a Civic spokesperson told Jewish Chronicle That the request for inquiry had already been rejected.

“The matter raised by the Ministry of Education was the subject of a complaint which was appealed in our capacity as Chief Electoral Officer and on which we have ruled accordingly. There is no further investigation going on,” the organization said.

Education ministry officials are reportedly exploring other avenues to take the matter forward.

The IHRA’s working definition was adopted in 2016 and describes various forms of anti-Semitism, including the Holocaust and rejection of Jewish self-determination. She remains controversial for including some form of anti-Israel speech in her examples of anti-Semitism.

This definition has been adopted by the main British political parties and around 300 different educational establishments.

A London bus stop adorned with a ‘Israel is a racist project’ poster put up by a pro-Palestinian group to protest the UK Labor Party’s adoption of the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, September 6, 2018. (credit: Twitter)

to address Jewish Chronicleformer Home and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who was also the former president of the NUS, blamed Dalalli for a lack of “clear commitment against anti-Semitism”, and was concerned that the future of the NUS was “gravely threatened”. »

Last week, UK Education Secretary Nadim Zahwai announced that the UK government was suspending funding and withdrawing from the NUS.

Jahwai defended the government’s decision, saying:

“Jewish students need to trust that this is an organization that represents them, and we need to make sure that the student organizations we associate with are fair on behalf of all students. So till the issues are resolved, we are separating from the NUS”.

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The organization has a long history of accusations of anti-Semitic remarks and exclusion of Jews from union activities.

After Dalalli was elected, the Jewish Students’ Union brought to light various anti-Israeli and allegedly anti-Semitic remarks made by him, including a message posted 10 years earlier that read: “Khyber Khyber O Jews … l’Muhammad’s army will return to Gaza”, in reference to the Battle of Khyber in 628 CE, in which Muslim soldiers allegedly attacked Jewish natives in the city of Khyber. Dalli Has since apologized for the social media post.

Jewish students also expressed concern after rapper Loki was invited to an NUS event, when he said in an online interview that the media “made the instrument of Jewish heritage. [président ukrainien] Zelensky” for ignoring alleged far-right activity in Ukraine.

When the Jewish Students’ Union met with NUS about the planned march schedule, the latter said that if attendance was problematic, they could stay in a designated ‘safe space’ for people sensitive to noise. To escape the Loki gig, according to Guardian, Loki eventually canceled his participation in the event.

In April, more than 20 former NUS presidents sent a letter to the organization’s administrators, urging them to respond to allegations of anti-Semitism. Guardian,

NUS is a union of approximately 600 student unions, representing more than seven million students.

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