The NUS president has ‘failed’ Jewish members, and used anti-Semitism “as a political stick to beat them with”, according to a Jewish student leader.
Malia Bouattia has been criticised as having “One rule for the Jews, another for everyone else” over the body’s treatment of anti-Semitism allegations.
The criticism comes after an interview with Bouattia in the Guardian, in which she says accusations of anti-Semitism were unfounded. She said, she has never said anything anti-Semitic, and “if my words were misinterpreted, then in future I’ll take the time to make sure I break them down and explain them.”
Her remarks caused anger within the Union of Jewish Students’, who have accused her completely denying “the right of Jewish students to define their experiences of anti-Semitism.”
Campaigns director for UJS Josh Nagli claimed that her “poor attempts to clarify her past rhetoric”, which includes smears about the ‘Zionist led media’ and calling Birmingham University a ‘Zionist outpost’, “are clumsy and do not remotely hold with Jewish students.”
His response article continues to say that Jewish students “have not misinterpreted her, nor misunderstood her. This was, and still are, their concerns, those of which she is still yet to adequately acknowledge, let alone appropriately address.”
Malia added, that anti-Semitsm allegations had raised NUS’s profile, and “helped to put out our vision of the future”. Nagli claimed this was “shocking”, saying that “If her vision of the future is one where Jewish students are made to feel intimidated by the things their National President says … it’s a future I, and I’m sure many, don’t want to be part of”
Claiming that her presidency has caused Jewish students to have “fears about going onto campus” and engaging with NUS, Nagli says Bouattia failed to listen to Jewish students and ignored their concerns.
Since being elected as National Union of Students president in April 2016, Malia has not met with representatives from the Union of Jewish students.