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September 27, 2016 2:19 pm

Controversial President of UK’s Largest Student Union Fails to Apologize for ‘Zionist Outpost’ Comment Widely Condemned as Antisemitic

avatar by Lea Speyer

NUS president Malia Bouattia. Photo: NUS UK.

NUS president Malia Bouattia. Photo: NUS UK.

During a BBC radio interview on Tuesday, the controversial head of the UK’s largest student union failed to apologize for comments widely condemned as antisemitic, British media outlets reported.

National Union of Students (NUS) President Malia Bouattia was unrepentant when challenged about a 2011 article she co-wrote, characterizing the UK’s Birmingham University as a “Zionist outpost” because of its large Jewish population. 

Bouattia told her BBC Radio 4 interviewer“I would certainly review my language and would definitely want to explain the political context which I was discussing. I absolutely was not saying the things that it has been interpreted as [being antisemitic], if you will.”

As The Algemeiner previously reported, the Algerian-born Bouattia first attracted controversy when she was running for the NUS leadership position, and comments she had made in support of terrorism against Israel came to light. In 2014, for example, while speaking at a “pro-resistance” event celebrating “Gaza and the Palestinian revolution,” she asserted that it is “problematic” to consider that “Palestine will be free” only by means of “non-violent protest,” and bemoaned the fact that “resistance” is presented as terrorism.

More recently, following an interview with the UK’s Guardian — in which Bouattia acknowledged she applies double standards when it comes to racism against Jews — an official from a major British student group slammed the NUS president for “failing” Jewish students.

“One rule for Jews, another for everyone else,” the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) official wrote. “Does she realize that many Jewish students have fears about going onto campus this year, let alone engaging in NUS’ structures? Does she realize the impact that her election has had on Jewish students?”

The NUS — representing 600 student groups and 7 million individuals — is turning into an organization with which “many Jewish students are not invited to engage” under Bouattia’s leadership, he wrote, adding, “It is one where terms like ‘Zionist-led media’ and ‘Zionist lobby’ are clearly accepted.”

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