Under Malia Bouattia's presidency the NUS has seen a number of anti-Semitism scandalsNUS

The NUS has once again been rocked by claims of anti-Semitism, after several high-profile figures were found to have made a number of offensive comments on the eve of the union’s National Conference.

Three activists, all either currently holding elected positions, or running for election at this week’s conference, were revealed in a report by The Independent to have made a number of anti-Semitic remarks on their social media accounts.


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The report also revealed that incumbent president Malia Bouattia, herself embroiled in an unusually tense race for reelection, had put a post on Facebook about a performance of the Caryl Churchill play “Seven Jewish Children” while a student at the University of Birmingham. The play has been accused of perpetuating the blood libel that Jews kill children as part of religious rituals.

Ali Milani, incumbent president of Brunel University Students’ Union, tweeted in 2013 that Israel was “a land built on colonialism and ethnic cleansing”, and in a separate tweet suggested that he wanted to give a pro-Israel campaigner a “punch in the throat”.


Malia Bouattia wins NUS presidency with 50.9 per cent of the vote, after being accused of anti-Semitic comments and of blocking a resolution condemning Islamic State.

NUS is hit by a wave of disaffiliation votes by student unions. Cambridge remains affiliated. CUSU calls upon NUS to address concerns over anti-Semitism in an open letter.

NUS reverses course after initially blocking Jewish students from selecting representative on Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism campaign.

Tensions flare up between Bouattia and the Union of Jewish Students as she refuses to apologise for her remarks about Zionism.

Home Office Select Committee accuses Bouattia of “outright racism” over her comments on Zionism, but student leaders rally around her.

Vice-President for Union Development Richard Brooks is filmed discussing organising the opposition to Bouattia within NUS.

Report finds many Jewish students unhappy with how NUS deals with allegations of anti-Semitism.

Milani is a candidate for Vice-President (Union Development), currently held by Richard Brooks, who is widely believed to have privately advocated for the removal of incumbent president Malia Bouattia. Despite his comments, Milani pledged in his campaign manifesto to bring members of the student movement “back together”, saying “our movement can do better than this fractured divide.”

Elsewhere, NUS executive candidate Seán O’Neill made a post in 2012 using the hashtags “heilhitler” and “fuckslutskilljews”. Oxford student O’Neill defended himself on Monday, claiming that the comments were not his own, but quotes from people he had heard on a night out, having previously told The Independent that he assumed the tweet was an “incredibly distasteful inside joke” that he had “no recollection” of making.

The most high-profile figure implicated in these latest revelations is incumbent NUS LGBT+ officer Noorulann Shahid. Shahid, who is running for reelection this week, tweeted a parody of Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” called “Black and Jewish”. Shadid said that they had “laughed out loud” at the song, which features black women dressed in traditional Jewish attire making references to Jewish people having big noses and being stingy.

Speaking to Varsity, a former president of Cambridge University Jewish Society said “this is very upsetting for Jewish students and Jewish people everywhere - but unfortunately not at all surprising. I hope that the people involved in this petty racism are punished accordingly.”

These fresh allegations may well affect the outcome of the various elections taking place this week at the NUS conference running from Tuesday till Thursday, including Bouattia’s and Shahid’s bids for reelection to their sabbatical positions. All candidates apologised unreservedly for their comments when contacted by The Independent.

A previous version of this article stated that Malia Bouattia had attended the University of York and that she had been involved in producing the play ‘Seven Jewish Children’. This was corrected on 25/04/2017

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