Jewish Society slams SU officers for backing new NUS President Malia Bouattia

She was elected earlier today

Three of the four NUS conference delegates for Sussex publicly backed the newly-elected NUS President Malia Bouattia, who has been accused of allegedly making anti-semitic remarks. 

Gabor Szekely, co-president of  the Jewish Society, has asked the future SU President Annie Pickering, current Undergraduate Education Officer, Bethan Hunt, and current Postgraduate Education Officer, Rose Taylor via open letter to comment on their public support of Bouattia.

His open letter called on these delegates to “publicly condemn Bouattia’s distressing comments and attitude toward the Jewish student community and her failure to address the concerns of more than 250 Jewish students”.

Malia giving a talk and mentioning ‘Zionist-led’ media outlets’

The trio responded, saying: “Whilst we respect the concerns raised, we feel that comments Malia has made have been taken out of context. We have discussed these concerns with Malia and her campaign team and feel that they have been addressed.

“Malia has clarified that she has never seen a large Jewish society on campus as a ‘problem’ stating that she ‘celebrates the ability of people and students of all backgrounds to get to together and express their backgrounds and faith openly and positively’.”

Pickering, pictured second left, with other future SU officers

Bouattia is a popular choice, endorsed by current NUS Vice President Shelly Asquith, but has received much criticism. She has refused to condemn ISIS, claiming that to do so would be Islamophobic, and has also received endorsement from MPAC, a British Muslim lobby group that has been no-platformed by the NUS due to their intense anti-semitism.  

Due to this controversy, she previously received an open letter signed by 47 presidents from Jewish societies at British Unis, who want to know why she views “large Jewish society as a problem” , an assumption drawn from the fact that she previously referred to the University of Birmingham as “a Zionist outpost”. She has also said that the government’s anti-extremism policy, Prevent, was created by “all manner of Zionist and neo-con lobbies”.

In response to this open letter, Bouattia responded with her own open letter, saying: “I am deeply concerned that my faith and political views are being misconstrued and used as an opportunity to falsely accuse me of antisemitism, despite my work and dedication to liberation, equality and inclusion saying otherwise.”