Wednesday, March 22nd | 29 Adar 5783

March 16, 2023 11:15 am

‘Antisemitism Is Real’: UK National Union of Students Apologizes for Antisemitic Discrimination


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Illustrative Anti-Israel protest in London in June 2021. Credit: Loredana Sangiuliano/Shutterstock.

The National Union of Students (NUS), a body representing thousands of students in the UK, on Wednesday apologized for discriminating against Jewish students.

“We really want to open the conference today with a moment of accountability for NUS and a moment of humanity towards our Jewish friends and members,” Chloe Field, NUS President for Higher Education, said during the opening ceremony of its the organization’s annual conference. “On behalf of NUS today and the past, I am genuinely, truly sorry that it has taken us so long to address antisemitism head on.”

Field explained that NUS “let down” Jewish students and pledged to ensure that they never again fight antisemitism alone.

“So let us say this to anyone in doubt: antisemitism is real, and it is happening in politics today,” she continued. “Antisemitism is an attack not just on Jewish people, but on all of us and the shared values we hold.”

Related coverage

March 20, 2023 8:21 am

Macron’s Government Faces ‘Moment of Truth’ Over Pension System Overhaul

President Emmanuel Macron's government faces two motions of no confidence in the National Assembly on Monday after it bypassed the lower house to...

NUS’ apology follows years of accusations from Jewish groups that antisemitism is prevalent throughout its organizing structure.

In January, an independent report on the problem that NUS commissioned claimed that a fixation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the organization has caused “considerable alienation of Jewish students” as well as other forms of antisemitism that its leaders never properly addressed.

“The antisemitism which has been experienced has not been limited to Israeli-related examples such as holding Jewish students responsible for the acts of the Israeli state or comparing Israeli policy to Nazism, but has also seen the employing of ancient antisemitic tropes, from blood libels to Rothschild conspiracies,” the report, written by independent lawyer Rebecca Tuck said.

The report additionally cited dozens of examples of antisemitic incidents alleged by Jewish students, many of which occurred at NUS conferences. Students reported incitement of violence against Israeli civilians, the spreading of conspiracy theories about Mossad’s rumored role in the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), and opposition to a motion proposing observance of Holocaust Memorial Day.

In November NUS removed president Shaima Dallali after finding her guilty of antisemitism and other misconduct. In announcing the removal, the first in the organization’s 100 year history, NUS apologized for “the harm that has been caused” and pledged to “rebuild the NUS in an inclusive way — fighting for all students as we have done for the past 100 years.”

Dallali’s tenure at NUS brimmed with controversy ever since Jewish student rights groups discovered tweets in which she called Hamas critics “Dirty Zionists” and quoted the battle cry, “Khaybar, Khaybar o Jews, the army of Muhammad will return,” a reference to the Battle of Khaybar in 628 that resulted in a massacre of Jews.

Dallali has also praised the extremist Islamic preacher Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who supports Palestinian suicide bombers and is banned from visiting four western countries and regarded as a terrorist by several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Prior to the Dallali’s firing, the UK government suspended its relations with NUS and cut its funding.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.