Student leaders at Lancaster University have slammed the National Union of Students for causing “endless trauma” to Jewish students in a scathing open letter.
Lancaster Students' Union President Oliver Robinson and other sabbatical officers said they were “deeply disappointed and hurt” by the way Jewish students had been engaged with by the NUS.
“Our Jewish students have legitimate issues and questions about decisions made by the NUS leadership, which we feel need to be addressed,” it says.
They point to the decision to invite anti-Zionist rapper Lowkey to appear at this year’s NUS conference, and the suggestion by NUS President Larissa Brown that Jewish students uncomfortable with his performance could segregate themselves in a ‘quiet area’.
Lancaster SU’s sabbatical officers slam this offer as “insulting and exclusionary” and say it has “isolated Jewish students”.
They add: “Antisemitism is a major issue within the student movement, and we need serious action to stamp it out.
“We want the NUS leadership to take antisemitism seriously and set an example. You have set the wrong example.”
The NUS has an “uncomfortable” history with antisemitism, they say.
The union’s newly elected President Shaima Dallali has previously tweeted, “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews … Muhammed’s army will return #Gaza,” in a reference to a massacre of Jews in the year 628CE, and praised Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who once called for God to "kill [Jews], down to the very last one."
“We do not want the NUS to keep failing the Jewish community,” the letter goes on.
“Too many Jewish activists have been pushed out of the student movement, from fear, anxiety, hostility, an environment that encourages antisemitic dialogue, and blatant antisemitic comments and/or actions.”
The letter thanks the NUS for apologising to the Jewish community and call for a clear communication of the changes they will make.
They end by writing: “The Jewish community has been let down time and time again. The Lancaster University Students’ Union Full Time Officer team will not sit back and watch the community go through endless trauma caused by NUS.
“We hope this will be the end of the issue and will be looking forward to see changes.”