Union representing 7 million students has lost Jewish trust.
Pesach Benson, United With Israel
The British government is severing all ties and funding with the National Union of Students over systemic antisemitism, the Times of London reported on Saturday.
According to the Times, Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan has reported the union to the UK Charity Commission. She told the paper that the union has “antisemitic rot at its heart” and that she was “deeply disappointed this had to be taken as a necessary step.”
The NUS represents Britain’s seven million university students and is affiliated with 600 student unions.
Specifically, union members will not be allowed to participate in government panels within the Department for Education, Office for Students or the Student Loans Company. Donelan has also requested the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission work with the union to address its antisemitism and restore Jewish trust.
Citing the Community Security Trust, Britain’s antisemitism watchdog, the Times reported that there have been 45 antisemitic incidents on UK campuses in the current academic year, stressing a return to the pre-pandemic levels.
For years, Jewish students have sharply criticized the NUS as antisemitic, not responsive to to their needs, and hostile to Israel. In particular:
• The union’s incoming president Shaima Dallali is in hot water over social media posts inciting violence against Jews.
• In April, several cabinet ministers and former NUS presidents called on the NUS board of trustees to address Jewish concerns.
• In March, the NUS invited rapper Lowkey to perform at an event celebrating the Union’s 100th anniversary. When Jewish students complained about the performer’s history of antisemitic statements, the union’s current president Larissa Kennedy reportedly responded that Jews could segregate themselves in a separate area.
In 2016, three NUS vice presidents took the unusual step of denouncing then-president Malia Bouattia‘s “antisemitic rhetoric.” Bouattia, who is of Algerian descent, had described Birmingham University as “something of a Zionist outpost.”
The Times added that 90 British universities have so far adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism
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