Jewish student representatives have said it is “very worrying” that a candidate vying for a senior position in the National Union of Students once used “deeply anti-Semitic” language in social media posts.
Ali Milani, president of the Union of Brunel Students, is hoping to be elected as NUS vice-president of Union Development in a vote later this month, but the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) this week warned about his past use of language.
The offensive examples – for which Milani has already apologised – date from 2012 and 2013, and include one tweet insulting former newspaper editor Piers Morgan as “a zionist” and another written in response, saying: “Nah u won’t mate. It’ll cost you a pound #jew.”
Most focus on Israel, which he described as “a land built on ethnic cleansing,” and in one he boasts of telling his teacher he’d be happy to go to war if it meant fighting against Israel. In another he says: “I want to be the President of Israel. They have a self-destruct button, right?”
This week he told student newspaper The Tab: “I have apologised unreservedly for these comments before and I do so again. They do not reflect how I see the world today. These tweets are from an incredibly long time ago – when I was 16 to 17 years old. It’s unacceptable, I know that now. Education taught me that.”
Josh Nagli, UJS Campaigns Director said: “It is very worrying that someone seeking to be an NUS Vice President has previously expressed views that many Jewish students will find deeply anti-Semitic. The use of tropes that denote Jews as cheap or stingy is extremely offensive.”
He added: “Jewish students will be rightly outraged when they see a candidate for a national position having used anti-Semitic tropes.
“In a week where NUS research revealed a large proportion of Jewish students’ lack of faith in NUS effectively tackling anti-Semitism, these tweets are likely to entrench those opinions and provide further evidence of a culture in the student movement that wilfully tolerates anti-Semitism.”
Statement regarding the recent article: pic.twitter.com/N8NenQk0Mm
— Ali Milani (@ARMilani_) April 11, 2017