NUS Presidency frontrunner Malia Bouattia under fire for alleged anti-Semitism

“Why do you see a large Jewish society as a problem?”

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Just weeks after the NUS LGBT+ campaign passed a resolution calling for the abolition of representatives for gay men, the NUS is embroiled in controversy once again.

The prohibitive favourite for the NUS presidency, Malia Bouattia, has come under serious scrutiny for her alleged anti-Semitic prejudice.

In an open letter drafted by Birmingham’s JSOC president Daniel Clemens, Bouattia is challenged over her divisive and inflammatory rhetoric towards Jewish students, and the nature of her endorsements.

Ms Bouattia has been criticised in the past for her allegedly extreme views

Clemens highlights several particularly troubling examples of Bouattia’s challenging rhetoric:

  • Her description of Birmingham University’s relatively large Jewish population as a ‘Zionist outpost’
  • Her implication that one of her challenges as a BME officer was her university’s Jewish students
  • Her recent characterisation of the government’s anti-terror Prevent strategy as the ‘result of the Zionist lobby’

Further, the letter takes serious issue with Bouattia’s acceptance of an endorsement from Reza Nadim, an issue that has already drawn severe criticism and outrage. Clemens takes issue with Nadim’s role as spokesperson for MPACUK, an extremist Muslim pressure group that is one of six organisations (including the EDL and BNP) banned by the NUS for their views.

Some argue that the NUS’ focus on identity issues has divided students much more than unite them

Specifically, the letter highlights MPACUK’s publishing of material claiming a ‘worldwide Zionist conspiracy’, and their republishing of articles written by holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. One such article cited was entitled, “Take your Holocaust, roll it up tight, and shove it up your (be creative!).”

Ms Bouattia has drawn criticism in the past for her refusal to support NUS motions condemning Islamic State. Bouattia argued that condemning Islamic State was tantamount to Islamophobia, and questioned the NUS’ need to pass such motions.

The letter was co-signed by 57 presidents of University Jewish Societies, including Aron Carr and Elena Stagni of Cambridge. The full letter can be viewed here.