Comments made by the incoming National Union of Students (NUS) President have led to a QC being hired to lead a further investigation into antisemitism in the NUS.
Shaima Dallali, the incoming President for the NUS, was elected on 29 March 2022. The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) raised concerns following this due to anti-Semitic comments that she had made on Twitter in her youth and also more recently.
Dallali had made references to a massacre of Jews in the 628 CE Battle of Khaybar via a tweet made in 2012. Dallali responded to this in a statement: “This reference made as a teenager was unacceptable, and I sincerely & unreservedly apologise.”
The Jewish Chronicle criticised her as having “sung the praises of a Jew-hating cleric” as she had previously supported speakers with challenging views. The NUS stated: “We hope that she will come to the table, work with UJS and understand how to support Jewish students.”
The NUS announced on 19 May that Rebecca Tuck QC will head an independent investigation into allegations of antisemitism within the NUS. This decision was made following consultation with the UJS.
Both the Department for Education (DfE) and the Office for Students (OfS) announced they have cut formal ties with the NUS until Jewish students could be confident that they would be represented by the union. This followed a series of allegations made against NUS regarding antisemitism.
The NUS has said: “The purpose of the investigation is to enable the NUS Board of Directors to understand:
- “Whether the NUS has breached its duties under law or under its own policies in relation to Jewish students; and
- “Otherwise conducted itself in an antisemitic manner or failed Jewish students.
- “To recommend any appropriate sanctions and other actions, including restorative actions that NUS should take, and identify any required lesson learning.”
The investigation is to focus in particular on anything that may have occurred since an earlier investigation into antisemitism in 2005, although the NUS was cleared of those claims at the time. Tuck has said that her final report will be published by the end of October this year. A call for evidence into incidences of antisemitism has been opened and will be available for submissions until 7 July 2022.