Jewish students ‘undermined’ by NUS president, letter claims

Jewish students ‘undermined’ by NUS president, letter claims

43 student leaders took aim at Malia Bouattia's treatment of Jewish students since becoming president

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

Malia Bouattia
Malia Bouattia

Student leaders across the country this week took unprecedented aim at the new anti-Israel president of the National Union of Students, saying Jewish students had been “undermined” under her leadership.

In an open letter, published on Wednesday, 28 student union presidents and vice-presidents joined ten members of the NUS’ National Executive Committee, three NUS vice-presidents as well as NUS’ representatives in Scotland and Wales.

You can read the letter here. 

They said: “Jewish students have repeatedly highlighted concerns and yet again their voices have been dismissed. Time and time again Jewish students have not felt safe participating in our national movement, because of the actions and rhetoric of leadership of NUS.”

In a fiery rebuke to NUS President Malia Bouattia and her team, they added: “We stand with Jewish students in their right to feel represented, safe and welcome in participating in NUS’ democracy… We must listen to Jewish students when they say something is anti-Semitic.”

Bouattia had earlier drawn criticism for refusing to apologise for describing Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost” in an article she co-authored five years ago, telling the BBC: “I would review my language and would definitely want to explain the political context which I was discussing.”

NUS vice-president Richard Brooks, one of nine full-time NUS staff to sign the letter, told BBC that “it is for Jewish students to define what anti-Semitism is”.

He added: “When a number of jewish students over a consistent period of time say they do not feel safe participating in student politics and in the student movement, I think that’s something we have to take really seriously and listen to.”

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