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April 17, 2016 7:16 am

UK Jewish Student Leaders Demand ‘Immediate Answers’ From Anti-Israel Candidate for Student Union President

avatar by Andrew Pessin

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Malia Bouattia. Photo: Facebook

Malia Bouattia. Photo: Facebook

The leaders of 57 Jewish student organizations in the United Kingdom, along with several hundred others “in solidarity,” have written an open letter demanding “immediate answers” from a leading candidate for the presidency of the National Union of Students (NUS) concerning her past comments about Zionism and Jewish students, The Algemeiner has learned.

Malia Bouattia, currently the Black Students Officer in the NUS, is one of three candidates for the office, with elections scheduled for next week.

According to the letter, posted Wednesday, the students were “extremely concerned” about some of Bouattia’s past and recent remarks. They pointed to a 2011 article Bouattia co-authored, for example, in which she referred to the University of Birmingham as a “Zionist outpost,” noting that it had the “largest JSoc (Jewish Society) in the country.”

The students wrote:

There are roughly 8,500 Jewish students in the UK which is 0.12% of the seven million students that are represented by NUS. We are shocked that someone who is seeking to represent this organization could possibly see a large Jewish student population as a challenge and not something to be welcomed.

Our question for you is clear: why do you see a large Jewish Society as a problem?

Wes Streeting, a former NUS president and the Labour Party’s MP for Ilford North wrote in the Jewish Chronicle:

Why does this NUS officer seem to have a problem with Birmingham University having a large Jewish Society? If the word “Jewish” was replaced with “Black” or “LGBT” or “disabled” there would be an outcry. Such sentiments have no place in the leadership of NUS…

Bouattia’s article also referred to the European Union Military Committee’s Working Definition of Antisemitism, according to which certain forms of criticisms of Israel are deemed antisemitic, as “ominous.” She further called the Birmingham Jewish students’ hosting of 25 Israeli students, setting up a “Peace Tent” on campus, and arguing that Israel seeks coexistence with the Palestinians, as “two-faced Orwellian propagandizing.”

The students’ letter went on to claim that Bouattia’s 2011 comments “are not isolated.” It referred to an article two weeks ago in which Bouattia was quoted as saying that the British government’s anti-extremism policy, “Prevent,” was fueled by “all manner of Zionist and neo-con lobbies.”

In response, the student leaders protested that by peddling such “conspiracy theories” to student audiences, Bouattia was “creating an element of suspicion towards Jewish students on campus.”

Finally, the students expressed concern about Bouattia’s relationship with the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK). MPACUK has been excluded from the NUS since 2004, after it published material promoting the idea of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy and republishing material from neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denial websites. MPACUK’s spokesperson explicitly endorsed Bouattia’s candidacy for NUS president, but, the students wrote, “We were hoping that this was something that you would distance yourself from but the opposite happened when you replied ‘Thank you :-)).'”

The students asked, “If you are elected as NUS President, will you continue to interact with an organization NUS has “no-platformed” due to antisemitism?

In response to the open letter, according to the Jewish Chronicle, Bouattia said, “It seems I have been misrepresented. I am extremely uncomfortable with insinuations of antisemitism. To take issue with Zionist politics is not taking issue with being Jewish.”

She added that she would “continue to oppose the Israeli state’s treatment of Palestinians and its violations of human rights,” while, if elected as President of NUS, she would “continue to fight against racism in all its forms — including antisemitism.”

Bouattia also wrote a longer response on Facebook, in which she reiterated her distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, and acknowledged that she will abide by the NUS “No Platform” with respect to MPACUK. She did not address the students’ concern about her “peddling conspiracy theories.”

A request for clarification was not immediately answered.

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  • Leann Sherman

    Always, always, always a double standard when it comes to bigoted comments about Jews…Heads would roll if the word Jews were replaced with other minority groups.

  • Harold

    Has anyone explained to her that being anti-Israel or anti-Zionist is anti-Semitic ?
    Let me put it another way, if someone said they were anti-African what would people say ? – there would be an outcry …

    • Doug

      Are you an actual idiot or just pretending?

  • Aviva Sucher

    Based on Malia Bouattia’s anti-semitism she should be immediately disqualified. Substitute ‘Jews or Zionism’ from her comments, and she would be on the NCA or MI5 watch list as a potential terrorist threat. Not acceptable.

  • nat cheiman

    stupid anti semite

  • Peter Joffe

    Bouattia must be a Muslim as all that she wants is to rid the world of the most progressive people on earth, The Jews! If she is not a Muslim then she is clearly masquerading as one or has been brainwashed by them. She would look a lot better in a Hajib. Why does she not campaign for the rights of Israelis and Gazans to live in peace? 4,000 years of trying to make peace with antisemitism has not worked so who is Bouattie to suddenly become the savior of all humans of which Hamas has still to become a member of???

  • Lammie

    “Israeli state’s treatment of Palestinians and its violations of human rights” – this proves that Bouattia is an anti-semite. Israel’s Arabs are better off than any other Arabs in the Middle East. Israeli Arabs vote in our elections, have many members in our Knesset (parliament), are judges in our Supreme Court, Arabs are administrators of major Hospitals, Arab women have the right to do whatever they want – such as drive cars, go to University, do not need their husband’s permission to leave their house – etc. etc., which is not allowed in most of the Arab States around Israel. All gays in Israel live freely – in Arab states they are thrown off high roof tops to their death. Israeli Arabs state openly that they prefer to stay in Israel rather than be governed by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, both of which are dedicated to the genocide of the Jewish people. Their charters say so – loud and clear. If you really are interested in the truth – look up these charters – they are freely available on the internet. When Israel unilaterally left the Gaza Strip, instead of working the hothouses Israel left them and carrying on working to “make the desert bloom” lioe Israelis did – (Gaza, with its lovely beaches could have been a wonderful and profitable internationaltourist attraction) – instead they trashed everything – destroyed everything and started sending thousands and thousands of rockets – aimed at our kindergartens here in Israel – giving people in Israelis and their children 15 seconds to get to safe rooms. When after years of suffering these attacks, Israel responded, all the antisemites came out with all sorts of accusations. No one had complained about the Jewish children and their parents who were traumatized by the Hamas rockets falling day by day, completely disrupting the lives of families in Israel. Year after year, day after day – and no one at all denounced these attacks on citizens going about their daily business. What do they want us to do? Lie down and die? Not lift a finger to protect ourselves? This nonsense about not being anti-semites – “just” being anti Israeli government policies – is an outright lie. It is classic anti-semitism. Human rights laws in Israel – the ONLY DEMOCRACY in the middle east – protect ALL our citizens, Arabs, Jews, Christians, Druze and others, alike. There is NO country in the middle east where Arabs are free to do whatever they please as long as they do not break the laws of the country. Female genital mutilation is against the law in Israel. An Arab judge once sentenced a former President of Israel to jail. Miss Israel has been an Arab woman. No one should criticize Israel for our Human Rights policies. Israel outshines every Arab State in that respect and no one should say otherwise. I have yet to see antisemites even mention – let alone denounce – female genital mutilation, which many young girls and women die of in Arab countries, and if they live – they remain damaged in body for life – as well as suffering the emotional nightmare that accompanies them forever. None of these students who always jump on Israel – none of them – not one that I have found so far – really care even a little about the people they say they are trying to help. They care only about harming Jews. That is antisemitism.

    • Markus Elkana Brajtman

      I find it amazing, that those anti Zionists anti Jew, anti Israel, are the biggest idiots in the world.

      How many of these “lovely” people have ever visited Israel to learn the truth?

      I doubt any have visited Israel
      They get their news and hatred from the Muslim Arab world

      The Arabs/Muslims make Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Goebbels, look like a nursery school child


      unfortunately, those children are taught by their teachers and imams, that it is their duty to Kill ever Jew

      These people have grown up with lies, and believe the lie.

      Maybe they should learn that it is a sin in GOD’S eye, to preach hatred and murder.
      These children think that they will go to heaven.
      But nobody told them that killers go to satan. GOD does not accept murderers.

      They should visit Israel. See the truth.
      Visit any hospital, restaurant etc, and see how many Arab nurses and doctor work there. Visit a university and see how many Arab students are there as well as heads od departments

      The other problem is that the Arabs/Islam hates Israel because in every war that the Arabs have started, the Arabs have seen sent home with their tails between their legs.

      Why do they want to “get rid of Israel”? is because Israel is a sore thumb to them and is in their way to spread their religion.

      We must also look at “why is the Christian population expanding in Israel, and diminishing in places like Bethlehem.”

      Those Christian Arabs who have never visited Israel believe the lies,
      But any Christian who is a JEW hater MUST NOT GO TO CHURCH.
      remember that Jesus was born a Jews and died a Jew.

      Here in South Africa, we have a huge Christian following of Israel and support Israel fully..
      One other point.
      If Israel is an apartheid state, then why is it there are hundred of thousand black Christians in South Africa, who lived thru the apartheid years, and have visited Israel, support Israel fully. Because there is NO apartheid in Israel

    • Linda

      Well said! Israel and Jewish scientists have helped stop some of the horrible plagues that have attacked humanity –like Polio. Fly away on your broom you anti-Semite.

  • stevenl

    U recognize an antisemite when U c one. She is one. There is NO difference between antisemite and anti-Zionist!

  • Lia

    There’s always a sound reason why people do not address anybody’s concern about their “peddling conspiracy theories”.

  • tiki

    The best thing that can happen to Jewish students in Britain, EU & US is that many ‘non anti Semitic’ Bouattia’s will be elected (which will be the case anyway). This will force them to move to the only country welcoming them as Jews……Israel!

    In their original “home countries” they will be made unwelcome under the new rulers.