UK Jewish Rep Calls for ‘Massive Reform’ Following Latest National Students’ Union Antisemitism Scandal
As a new antisemitism scandal rocked the UK’s national umbrella student group last week, a Jewish representative — in a interview with The Algemeiner — called for a major shakeup of the organization.
Hannah Kaufman — a delegate with the National Union of Students (NUS) and president of the Jewish Society at the London School of Economics — said “more than some general apology” was necessary after it was revealed last Wednesday that a candidate running for a top leadership position in the upcoming NUS elections had posted comments on social media suggesting Jews are stingy and charging Israel with “ethnic cleansing.”
“Everyone agrees that it’s unacceptable, but that hasn’t stopped the ongoing cycle of people with histories of making antisemitic remarks running in NUS,” Kaufman said, noting that the exposure of comments by Ali Milani — a candidate for vice president of union development — follows a year of fractured relations between the organization and the Jewish community, especially surrounding NUS President Malia Bouattia (who participated last month in a conference backed by a defender of the terror group Hamas).
“Nothing’s changed,” Kaufman said. “The individual who has been found out will make a generic apology and no actions follow. People are rightly fed up.”
The NUS, Kaufman stated, was in “desperate need of massive reform.”
Milani told British youth news site The Tab that he “apologized unreservedly” for his remarks, which included use of the word “Zionist” as a pejorative, but claimed, “These tweets are from an incredibly long time ago — when I was 16 to 17 years old” and “do not reflect how I see the world today.” The most recent comments were posted in 2013, while Milani was in university.
Kaufman said that if Milani earnestly hoped to repair his ties with Jewish students, “he has to meet with us, but there’s been no attempt to reach out.”
Josh Nagli, campaigns director of the Union for Jewish Students, said in a statement that “Jewish students will be rightly outraged” as the incident provides “further evidence of a culture in the student movement that willfully tolerates antisemitism,” referencing the results of a recent NUS survey on Jewish campus life which found deep mistrust between the national group and Jewish students.
There have been multiple calls by NUS representatives and other candidates for Milani to withdraw from the election, which will take place at the group’s national conference later this month, as The Tab reported.