NUS Candidate Who Shared ‘ISIS Leader Trained by Israel’ Article Rejects Antisemitism Accusations
A candidate for the National Union of Students in the United Kingdom who shared an article claiming that the head of the Islamic State terror group was trained by Israel has rejected calls to apologize.
Zeid Truscott, who is vying for a role in the NUS national executive committee, stated on Friday that the controversy relates to an article shared in 2014 “when I was 18.”
The article in question, published by the conspiracy website GlobalResearch, claimed that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.” It referred to Israel as “the Zionist entity,” and maintained that the operation was undertaken with the help of British and American intelligence forces.
The post — as well as more recent tweets shared by Truscott last year — came to light after the candidate spoke last month at a rally hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign outside the Israeli embassy in London, as a representative of the NUS Black Students Campaign.
The UK’s Union of Jewish Students called on Truscott on Thursday “to apologize immediately for their antisemitic social media posts,” noting, “this marks the third year in a row where a candidate running for election as NUS National Conference has been found to have engaged in antisemitism.”
But Truscott pushed back, writing in a statement shared on Twitter, “I reject any accusation that I would promote antisemitism, as I have consistently fought all forms of racism including antisemitism.”
“I reject antisemitism and abhor it and will work with everyone who opposes it, to combat it,” Truscott added, before emphasizing the importance of giving “young people the opportunity to learn instead of trawling through peoples social media history and misrepresent their views.”
UJS subsequently welcomed Truscott’s “expression of commitment to combating antisemitism,” but expressed disappointment that “they have neither acknowledged their use of antisemitic tropes or apologized for the deep hurt caused to Jewish students, who they plan to represent.”
“Aside from the patronizing suggestion that at 18, students naively do not understand racism, most of the offensive comments made are from 2018.”
These include tweets claiming the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism is “anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab,” and that its supporting examples “aim to silence Arab lived experience and sideline oppression of Arabs.”