British Labour MP Berates National Union of Students for Treatment of Jews; Calls It a ‘Sad Day’ When He Agrees With Conservative Counterpart
A British Labour MP called it a “sad day” when he finds himself agreeing with a Conservative counterpart on the unjust treatment of Jews by the country’s largest student organization.
Wes Streeting made this comment on Wednesday, during a speech in parliament, in reaction to remarks made by Michael Gove against the National Union of Students (NUS).
Gove, a former secretary of justice and education, blasted the NUS after it decided to end the practice of allowing Jewish students to select a representative to a prominent anti-racism committee.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Gove said the NUS has morphed into “a chilling environment and a cold home for students, particularly those who are Jewish.” He added that there were “voices and individuals within the NUS who have not upheld the best traditions of academic freedom.”
According to Streeting, who served as president of the NUS from 2008 to 2010, the NUS shows a “lack of care towards Jewish students.”
As reported by The Algemeiner, NUS President Malia Bouattia — who has previously been accused of antisemitism — aroused ire when she broke a tie and voted against allowing Jewish students to appoint their own representative to the Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism (ARAF) committee during a meeting of the NEC on Tuesday. The appointment of a Jewish representative will now be made by the NEC.
Tuesday’s decision was the latest manifestation of what many students say are part of Bouattia’s anti-Zionist and antisemitic views.
In a strongly worded statement against the decision, Union of Jewish Students (UJS) Director Josh Nagli said the NEC has “once again showed its complete lack of commitment to Jewish students.” Bouattia, Nagli said, has “once again showed that she has absolutely no interest in defending Jewish student’s interests by voting to remove the ability of Jewish students to shape for themselves the student movements’ fight against racism and fascism.”
Bouattia, as reported by The Algemeiner, has been at the center of controversy in recent months after being accused of supporting violence against Israel and offending the Jewish community. In past remarks, she referred to the University of Birmingham as a “Zionist outpost” because of its large Jewish population, and endorsed violent “resistance” against Israel.
NUS — which boasts membership of 600 student organizations and more than 7 million student voices — also announced this week that it would be responding to an open letter issued two months ago by the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU) demanding answers on how it will tackle antisemitism. According to student paper Varsity, an NUS spokesman said CUSU should expect a response “by the end of this week.”