Bouattia must say sorry, demands UJS
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.