National Union of Students' president suspended as probe into alleged antisemitism within NUS continues

Suspension of Shaima Dallali comes as Rebecca Tuck, QC, is completing her independent inquiry. NUS says it will act on its findings


National Union of Students’ president Shaima Dallali has been suspended while an independent investigation by QC Rebecca Tuck into allegations of antisemitism within NUS continues.

Ms Dallali, 27, has posted provocative comments such as “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews… Muhammad’s army will return Gaza” – a reference to a 628 massacre. She has apologised for the 2012 tweet, saying she was now “a different person”.

In material passed to the JC earlier this year by researchers at Labour Against Antisemitism, which has investigated Ms Dallali’s social media history, she also labelled a cleric critical of Hamas a “dirty Zionist” and posted a video of anti-Israel protesters calling for an intifada.

And in a 2018 article, she praised Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi - who was expelled from Britain, America, France and Germany – calling him the “moral compass for the Muslim community at large”.

Interviewed by the Guardian in April, Ms Dallali said she welcomed the independent investigation, saying it was “the right thing to do. I know quite a few Jewish students feel alienated. This is the first step to start bridging the gap and reaching out to Jewish students and ensuring that Jewish students feel like they have a place in NUS.”

It is thought to be the first time in the 100-year history of NUS that its president has been suspended.

NUS says it not commenting on the suspension as the investigation is continuing but would act on its recommendations. Ms Dallali has yet to comment.

The union has been engulfed by an antisemitism crisis with Jewish students citing a climate of fear on campus. 

In May, the government announced it was cutting ties with NUS in the wake of accusations of “antisemitic rot at its heart”.

Announcing the move, the Department for Education cited “allegations of antisemitism, which have been well-documented and span several years”.

It noted that the allegations had caused “a feeling of insecurity amongst Jewish students across the country and a worry systemic antisemitism within the organisation is not being properly addressed”.

Reacting to Ms Dallali’s suspension, the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It may be a very promising first step by NUS as the investigation by Rebecca Tuck QC, to which we have contributed, progresses.

“We hope that this suspension represents the first acknowledgement by NUS of how dreadful its relations with Jewish students have become and augurs real change at the union - but it is too early to tell.

“We will continue to ensure that NUS is held to account for its record and is supported if it shows, for the first time, a real good faith effort to reform.”

NUS has said that “whilst the investigations take place, we continue to work closely with the Union of Jewish Students and are exploring actions that NUS can take in the near future to build trust and confidence”.

The “indicative timetable” is for the first draft of Rebecca Tuck’s report to be completed by the end of September and the final version to be published by the end of October.

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