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October 27, 2016 2:29 pm

British-Jewish Student Leader to Controversial National Counterpart: ‘Combat Antisemitism on Campus or Resign Immediately’

avatar by Lea Speyer

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NUS President Malia Bouattia. Photo: Facebook.

NUS President Malia Bouattia. Photo: Facebook.

The controversial head of Britain’s largest student union should commit to combating antisemitism on campus or resign immediately, her Jewish counterpart insisted this week.

In an op-ed in The TimesUnion of Jewish Students (UJS) president Josh Seitler said that under Malia Bouattia’s leadership, the National Union of Students (NUS) is “no longer a credible organization that can win for all students.”

To illustrate, he posed the following rhetorical questions:

Are Jewish students safe on campus with a national president who has been deemed racist because of her antisemitic rhetoric? Are the students I represent safe when the NUS national president fosters an atmosphere that welcomes individuals and organizations with a record of compromising the welfare of Jewish students? Are they safe on campus when the NUS fails to appropriately deal with antisemitism?

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Bouattia, he said, has effectively “put up a sign saying: ‘No Jews allowed’ — or perhaps, ‘Only the Jews who agree with my politics are allowed.’”

Addressing Bouattia directly, Seitler wrote, “Malia, actions speak louder than words. But you have failed to act and so I am forced to say that the time for action is fast running out; it’s time to act now or it might be time for you to step down.”

His call comes on the heels of a parliamentary report on the state of antisemitism in the UK, which, as The Algemeiner reported, criticized the NUS president for continually dismissing and even undermining efforts to combat Jew-hatred on campus.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) inquiry also found that Bouattia has responded to Jewish students’ concerns over her past comments, widely condemned as antisemitic “with defensiveness and an apparent unwillingness to listen.”

During a recent BBC interview, Bouattia refused to retract a 2011 article she co-wrote, which characterized Birmingham University as a “Zionist outpost” because of its large Jewish population.

In September, as The Algemeiner reported, 43 NUS campus leaders condemned Bouattia for making Jewish students feel unsafe and unwelcome in the national movement.

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