Student resigns from NUS ruling body after criticism from UJS

Student resigns from NUS ruling body after criticism from UJS

Ayo Olatunji steps down from the National Union of Students ruling body in a move welcomed by its Jewish counterpart

Ayo Olatunji
Ayo Olatunji

A member of the National Union of Students’ ruling body who was strongly criticised by the Union of Jewish Students last month has resigned.

Ayo Olatunji stepped down from the NUS National Executive Council this week, a month after he was criticised for “continuing to indulge in a racist trope” involving Rothschild Jewish banking family conspiracies, and comparing Israel to Nazis.

The National Union of Students announced his resignation on Tuesday, saying that “all forms of hate and prejudice are unacceptable”, ahead of a vote of censure against him.

The medical student had previously been criticised for using “blatantly antisemitic language” by the Union of Jewish Students at the time, following tweets about the Rothschilds.

He was berated by Jewish student leaders for saying that “comparing Israel to Nazis is not just a valid critique but it is a true statement to make”.

He added “there are many Nazi policies and principles that are embodied within Israel’s culture and policy making, don’t allow Israel to change your mind on this.”

After the NUS adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, which states that accusing Israel of being a racist endeavour amounts to antisemitism; Olatunji claimed on Twitter: “Regardless of where the IHRA definition is accepted in society it is important to ALWAYS state and push the fact that Israel is a racist endeavour, we can’t let the imperialist racist state of Israel revise history.”

The President of the NUS, acting as chair of the NEC, confirmed a letter of resignation has been received from Ayo, adding that the body “will continue to engage with the Jewish students and the community” to promote inclusivity.

The Union of Jewish Students welcomed his resignation, saying: “We are pleased that Ayo Olatunji has resigned from NEC of the National Union of Students.  Olatunji deliberately caused deep hurt to Jewish students with his antisemitic comments. We have been clear throughout this incident that antisemitism and Holocaust Inversion have absolutely no place in the student movement and neither do those who knowingly engage in it. We expect NUS to always enforce their own policy on antisemitism. We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the hundreds of students, students’ union sabbatical officers, and NUS NEC members who have stood with us in the fight against antisemitism.”

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