Bouat­tia must say sorry, de­mands UJS

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY LEE HARPIN

THE PRES­I­DENT of the Na­tional Union of Stu­dents has been urged to make an ”un­equiv­o­cal apol­ogy” af­ter com­ments she made were found to be an­tisemitic by an NUS in­quiry.

The Union of Jewish Stu­dents called on Malia Bouat­tia pub­licly to say sorry for her re­marks, which in­cluded a claim that the gov­ern­ment’s anti-ter­ror pro­gramme Pre­vent was fu­elled by “Zion­ist and neo-con lob­bies.”

UJS cam­paigns di­rec­tor Josh Nagli made the de­mand af­ter it emerged last week­end that the two-month long in­quiry had ruled she should not be pun­ished — de­spite mak­ing com­ments found to be an­tisemitic.

“Af­ter hav­ing been found to have used an­tisemitic rhetoric on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions, Malia must make an un­equiv­o­cal apol­ogy that ad­dresses the an­tisemitic na­ture of her com­ments rather than fo­cus­ing on the of­fence taken by Jewish stu­dents,” said Mr Nagli.

“We would ex­pect Malia to take fur­ther steps to en­gage with

Jewish stu­dents in or­der to demon­strate her com­mit­ment to tack­ling an­tisemitism.”

The re­port has not yet been pub­lished but sec­tions of it have been leaked to the me­dia. Mr Nagli said it was im­por­tant for all Jewish stu­dents to see its find­ings in or­der to show that the NUS are com­mit­ted to over­com­ing an­tisemitism.

The in­quiry into Ms Bouat­tia, chaired by Pro­fes­sor Carol Bax­ter — the for­mer NHS equal­ity chief — found she had made com­ments that “could be rea­son­ably ca­pa­ble of be­ing in­ter­preted as an­tisemitic”.

But Prof Bax­ter dis­missed four other al­le­ga­tions of an­tisemitism against the NUS pres­i­dent — in­clud­ing her de­scrip­tion last year of Birmingham Univer­sity as a “Zion­ist out­post.” The re­port said Ms Bouat­tia had been “gen­uine in ex­press­ing her re­gret”. Mr Nagli said UJS was still con­sid­er­ing whether to ac­cept an in­vi­ta­tion to at­tend a NUS work­shop on tack­ling an­tisemitism next month. “We are in dis­cus­sion as to what ex­tent we will be in­volved,” he said.


Malia Bouat­tia

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