NUS student refuses apology over ‘Isis leader trained by Israel’ post

NUS student refuses apology over ‘Isis leader trained by Israel’ post

'Antisemitic' posts allegedly sent by an NUS candidate prompted the Union of Jewish Students to demand an apology

A student running for a role in the National Union of Students has dismissed calls  from Jewish students to apologise for “antisemitic” social media posts.  

Several messages allegedly sent by Zeid Truscott were discovered by the Twitter account The Golem on Thursday afternoon, prompting the Union of Jewish Students to demand an apology.

Truscott is currently running for a seat on the NUS national executive committee, which is the main scrutiny body for NUS’s political leadership. 

Referring to a Facebook post linking back to an article suggesting Isis leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was trained by the Mossad, Truscott said: “This relates to a post from 2014 when I was 18”.

“I reject any accusation that I would promote antisemitism, as I have consistently fought all forms of racism including antisemitism,” Truscott wrote on Twitter this afternoon.

“It’s crucial that we continue these projects and give young people the opportunity to learn instead of trawling through people’s social media history and misrepresent their views.

“I call on everyone to combat antisemitism within society and our student movement.”

Among the other posts discovered, a tweet from last year said: “Just your daily reminder that Israel is a racist, apartheid state. Founded on ‘divine right’ and created through terrorism and ethnic cleansing.”

Another tweet claimed the IHRA definition of antisemitism is “anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab.”

Another message reads: “Some of the IHRA examples (Israel being a racist endeavour) aim to silence Arab lived experience and sideline oppression of Arabs.”

A spokesperson for the Union of Jewish Students said the union “welcomed” Truscott’s commitment to fighting antisemitism but was “disappointed” by the student’s failure to apologise for “the deep hurt caused to Jewish students.”

The spokesperson added: “Jewish students expect those who have used antisemitic language in the past to take responsibility for their actions, not blame those who discover their comments.

“Aside from the patronising suggestion that at 18, students naively do not understand racism, most of the offensive comments made are from 2018.

“We hope that Zeid follows up their promise to combat antisemitism with actions, not just words, which includes working on Jewish students’ terms to combat racism against us, as defined by the IHRA definition.”

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