How can Jewish students trust the NUS if Malia becomes President?

Her rhetoric is dangerous

I am deeply concerned for the future voice of Jewish Students if Malia gets elected as the new NUS President. So far there have been a lot of backward and forward exchanges through the format of open letters from JSoc’s and Malia herself.

Malia Bouattia 2

While I appreciate her response, it was insufficient and quite frankly patronising in the face of legitimate concerns from Jewish Students. Whatever your opinion on the Israel and Palestine conflict, you are entitled to hold that opinion. There should be an open debate and discussion on the topic. However Malia’s rhetoric is concerning, calling the University of Birmingham a “Zionist Outpost” and accusing JSoc representatives of a “two-faced shift to Orwellian propagandising for the state of Israel”. There is a distinct separation of being Jewish and Zionist, but for some Zionism is the simple recognition of the state of Israel. She’s even condemned “mainstream Zionist-led media outlets”.

I do not agree with all of Israel’s policies especially when it comes to the settlements. I also believe in peace and a two state solution. But I do support the recognition of the state itself and I know many students support this view. For a President that wants to promote equality and represent all students equally, she is disregarding debate on this topic completely. When she continues to emphasise “Zionism” and imply that large JSoc’s are problems, she significantly alienates students with even a view of supporting Israel.

Joshua Rom, author of this article

Joshua Rom, author of this article

When her supporters comment on other Jewish students social media profiles and say things like “Not what I expect from a Jew”, it scares me and other students from even debating in the political forum. I partake in a lot of student media activities, I am part of my universities radio and television station. But when fellow Jewish students even engage in debate, people use condescending, patronising and offensive language in which she is encouraging through the medium of her campaign rhetoric, how can I go about continuing to lead an active student lifestyle, partaking in the student media activities in which I participate whilst possessing a view which would be ignored and demonised?

On another concern, Malia does attempt to clarify her relationship with Raza Nadim of MPAC saying: “I do not have a relationship, in any shape or form with this organisation or the individual”. While I appreciate her intent, why then, does she follow him on twitter, even when he parades anti-Semitic material online? Why did she thank his endorsement?

In saying “Thank you” to his post endorsing you for president, Malia is acknowledging his contribution towards her campaign. In referring to writers of other articles expressing concerns, he himself refers to them as “the power of the Zio-lobby”. This critique of media itself is in fact anti Semitism. It is a conspiracy theory that Jews own all the wealth and power. This sort of view has helped to fuel a great amount of violence against Jewish communities around the world.

This organization in which the man is associated with has time and again actively sought out to promote Anti-Semitic and holocaust denial materials and has even been no platformed by the NUS. Why on earth is Malia even thanking this spokesperson, she should be distancing herself.

How can Jewish students trust a president who acknowledges contributions from people, which hold anti-Semitic views and closely associate themselves with previously no platformed anti-Semitic organizations? How can we trust an organization that is lead by the person that says similar things that refers to a university as a “Zionist Outpost” purely because of the large Jewish presence there, how is that a bad thing?