The National Union of students has been criticised for inviting controversial rapper Lowkey to an event.Tim_Dennel

The Student Union (SU) has welcomed reports that the National Union of Students will be investigated for antisemitism, but has said that the government and media have exploited “genuine student concerns about anti-Semitism…to weaken student power and silence students of colour and those advocating for Palestinian rights” in calling for an investigation.

The SU told Varsity they were “very pleased to see” that the National Union – which the SU is affiliated to – had initiated an independent investigation following a wave of complaints from Jewish students and senior political figures about antisemitism in the Union.

“Holding everyone in our movement, particularly those in elected roles, accountable to the highest standards of antiracism is vital.”

However, the SU also said: “It has been troubling to see cynical co-option of genuine student concerns about anti-semitism by the Government and the media.

“We must see this for what it is: a clear attempt to weaken student power and silence students of colour and those advocating for Palestinian rights by those who have no real interest or credibility in fighting racism.”

The investigation was announced after more than 20 former NUS presidents, including two cabinet ministers, sent a private warning to the organisation’s trustees, urging them to address concerns from Jewish students.

Among the signatories were two prominent former SU presidents, Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, and former home secretary, Charles Clarke.

The NUS said that the investigation would cover all public allegations made about the NUS and its president-elect, Shaima Dallali over the past two months, including the decision to invite the controversial rapper Lowkey to one of its events. The investigation will also look into allegations of a wider culture of antisemitism in the organisation.


Mountain View

Palestinian society accused of leaking Jewish concerns over speaker invite to ‘hateful’ blog

The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) had complained about comments made by Dallali on social media, including a post from when she was a young teenager, which read: “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews…Muhammad’s army will return Gaza,” referencing a massacre of Jews in AD628. She has since apologised for the post.

In a 2018 article Dallali praised Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf Al Quaradawi – who had been expelled from Britain, France, Germany and the US – calling him “the moral compass for the muslim community at large”. In a 2009 sermon, Quaradawi called on God to kill Jews “down to the very last one.”

Last week, the higher education minister, Michelle Donelan, warned that the government was considering suspending engagement with NUS over the allegations. Donelan called on student unions to “consider disaffiliation, unless matters improve quickly”.