National Union of Students condemn 'harassment' of anti-Zionist rapper Lowkey

The Board of Deputies said the body should stop ignoring the 'anger and dismay' of Jewish students


National Union of Students (NUS) officials have condemned “harassment and misinformation” directed at rapper Lowkey after Jewish leaders expressed their dismay that he was booked to play the organisation’s conference.

Writing to students today, the body said they invited the anti-Israel musician to appear because: “we feel his contribution would have been invaluable to students’ discussions on decolonising education, class injustice, and divesting from companies that harm people and planet globally [sic].”

Lowkey has previously promoted 9/11 conspiracy theories in a poem and promoted Chris Williamson and controversial former academic David Miller.

The NUS was accused of “segregating” Jews after it reportedly said that Jewish students uncomfortable with the rapper headlining the union’s meeting could always go to another room during his performance.

In today’s statement, the union hit back, saying Lowkey - whose real name is Kareem Dennis - had chosen to pull out of performing at the NUS Liberation Conference to be held this month.

The letter says: “Whilst we welcome genuine political debate, we’ve been sad to see the use of harassment and misinformation against Lowkey.

“We condemn these tactics used against anybody, but particularly towards activists and people of colour.

“No one should be subject to hate, or abuse, or feeling fearful in our spaces, or in any space at all.”

The said the controversy over his appearance is, “connected to some deeply complex issues that are much bigger than NUS and our events.”

The student representatives went on: “We are horrified to know that some students in our community, particularly Jewish students, may now be wondering if they will be fully comfortable at our upcoming events.

“We’ve very sorry to any students who are hurt by some of the things they’ve read about NUS in the last few days.”

Union of Jewish Students President Nina Freedman told the JC NUS leaders met her but refused to reconsider Lowkey’s performance despite concerns from Jewish students. 

Instead, she said, officials offered “insufficient and frankly offensive mitigations.” 

She added: “It was suggested that Jewish students go into an existing safe space designated for students who are sensitive to loud noise for the duration of Lowkey’s performance. 

“In doing so, NUS have brushed Jewish students aside and have shown a complete disregard for their needs and experiences.”

The Board of Deputies said: "We hope NUS will stop ignoring the anger and dismay of Jewish students at its decision and will reconsider its choice of performer."

In their letter to students, the NUS said they want to be “crystal clear” they are, “actively looking forward to welcoming Jewish students to NUS conference Liverpool.”

The NUS has been contacted for comment.

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