Warwick University has just voted to disaffiliate from the NUS, less than a month after a major report into the hard-left organisation found damning evidence of antisemitism. The report found the union to be a “hostile environment” for Jewish students with “numerous instances” of antisemitism. A state of affairs present for over a decade…
Weeks later and today Warwick University Student Union has just voted to leave the organisation. With 1,156 votes cast, 487 voted in favour of disaffiliation to 416 against and 253 abstentions. The motion specifically related to the union’s “failures of alleged bigotry”.
Warwick isn’t the only one. Yesterday Oxford University Student Union announced it is to hold a binding referendum on affiliation in the coming weeks – the motion to hold such a referendum being proposed by two former NUS delegates. Since 2016, 11 universities have disaffiliated – could this be the beginning of the end for the Union’s monopoly?
Not for the first time in recent months, it looks like the Royal Households’ political receptors aren’t properly tuned. This weekend hundreds descended on Buckingham Palace for their garden party, among them Shaima Dallali. If you think that name rings a bell that’s because she recently became president-elect of the National Union of Students, and sparked an Antisemitism row that’s seen the Department for Education official cut ties with the organisation. What was the Palace thinking?
Responding to the news, a Department for Education source tells Guido: “There are plenty of decent, hard-working people in the university space who would have loved to go to a swanky event in the Palace who haven’t called people dirty zionists, stoked religious tensions and raised money for dodgy pressure groups”. Taking to Linkedin, Shima said she was “honoured to represent City, University of London at the Queen’s Garden Party”. Though Guido’s not entirely sure how sincere this was given she’s previously tweeted “I dont even like the royal family”.
Since her election, Jewish students have raised many concerns about Dallali, who in 2012 wrote “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews … Muhammad’s army will return #Gaza” referencing the massacre of Jews in the 628 Battle of Khaybar. The Jewish Chronicle also report she’s “sung the praises of a Jew-hating cleric’ and labelled Waseem Yousef as a “dirty Zionist”. The NUS recently also refused to properly apologise for inviting rapper Lowkey to its Liverpool conference. Guido hopes she enjoyed the do…
A bombshell threat from Robert Halfon this morning after yesterday’s boycott of his Eductation Committee by the NUS. The student union’s petulant move came after the scandal of them inviting notorious rapper Lowkey to their annual conference, then suggesting any offended Jews go and hide in one of their safe spaces. Responding to Halfon calling them out yesterday the organisation tweeted that the committee was “bullying them”. Turns out the National Union of Students have the temperament of primary, not university students…
Some MPs out there got it twisted today. Let’s set a few things straight
1. MPs and education leaders are accountable to us not the other way round
2. Old school bullying culture is never acceptable including at govt committees
— NUS UK #NewVisionForEducation⚡ (@nusuk) March 22, 2022
On LBC this morning Halfon said if the group continues refusing to sit before his parliamentary committee they could be referred to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission for what appears to be a Corbynesque bout of Antisemitism. About time some would say…
UPDATE 11 April, 2022: Robert Halfon has today written to the Charity Commission calling together with Campaign Against Antisemitism for a statutory inquiry into the National Union of Students (NUS).
In his letter, Halfon writes to “voice my dismay at the actions and behaviour of the National Union of Students and its trustees, in regards to their treatment of Jewish students and the Jewish community’s concerns regarding antisemitism. Together with Campaign Against Antisemitism…I politely request that the Commission launch a Section 46 inquiry, pursuant to the 2011 Charities Act into the NUS and look forward to receiving your response.”
He enclosed a dossier of evidence by Campaign Against Antisemitism detailing how NUS has failed Jewish students, he is “particularly concerned about the enclosed dossier of antisemitic events that have taken place within the NUS over the past several years — and which come following decades of concerning trends — which was prepared by CAA.”
The full dossier on NUS, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, can be read at antisemitism.org/nus.
Anyone expecting the NUS to give pause for thought after the Lowkey annual conference debacle probably doesn’t know the NUS. Following the Lowkey scandal, the NUS have demonstrated their inability to manage a crisis, this time by refusing to appear in front of the Education Select Committee this morning to discuss – surprise, surprise – antisemitism on campuses. Apparently their one and only representative was just too ill to appear…
Speaking this morning, Committee chair Robert Halfon tore into the group for no-showing:
“I have to say, the NUS has shown great reluctance to appear before us today. We first contacted them over 3 weeks ago inviting them to appear, and got no response. It took 6 emails and 7 phone calls before the NUS finally agreed to send a representative. And then we were told yesterday at 4:30 that the NUS could no longer attend because the representative was unwell. We asked for a replacement, and that was refused. I do think it disappointing that NUS responded in this way… and are not willing to appear before our committee. We will call them in for a separate session, they should be accountable to Parliament… there are some recent controversies involving antisemitism that involve the [NUS] and it would have been good to question them on this. I genuinely find it incomprehensible that [the NUS] was, in essence, unwilling to come and talk…”
Falling ill just hours before their scheduled appearance. The NUS must be so disappointed. Guido wishes their representative a speedy recovery.
The National Union of Students has finally released a statement to students following last week’s conference debacle, when rapper Lowkey cancelled his performance at the event after his eyebrow-raising views on NATO, Russia and Ukraine started doing the rounds on social media. Initially, NUS president Larissa Kennedy refused to back down, even after the Union of Jewish Students complained, because she was “more concerned about who she might hurt if the event was cancelled…
Now the NUS have come up with a typically nuanced and fair-minded response in the wake of yet another unforced error. Apparently Lowkey has been the victim of “harassment and misinformation”:
“Since we promoted Lowkey as a speaker, there has been a strong response to some of his recent actions and associations. Like with most issues discussed on social media or the press, there is a mix of facts, opinions and misinformation in circulation. We are horrified to know that some students in our community, particularly Jewish students, may now be wondering if they will be fully comfortable at our upcoming events. We’re very sorry to any students who are hurt by some of the things they’ve read about NUS in the last few days.
“We invited Lowkey to speak at NUS Liberation Conference because we feel his contribution would have been invaluable to students’ discussions on decolonising education, class injustice, and divesting from companies that harm people and planet. Whilst we welcome genuine political debate, we’ve been sad to see the use of harassment and misinformation against Lowkey. We condemn these tactics used against anybody, but particularly towards activists and people of colour…”
In this case, ‘opinions and misinformation‘ seems to include reporting Lowkey’s statements verbatim, and then getting upset when those statements make you look bad. Disappointed conference-goers will be glad to hear Zarah is still scheduled to attend…
LBC’s Theo Usherwood has uncovered yet more lunacy from the socialists over at the NUS. The group are hosting their annual conference at the end of the month and have revealed the line-up set to appear at the event. The star of the show is rapper Lowkey, who’s performed barnstorming sets at Glastonbury, T in the Park, and Oxygen. He’s also spent the last week claiming “the mainstream media has weaponised the Jewish heritage of Zelenskyy” to “stave off” scrutiny of neo-nazi groups in Ukraine. He’ll be joined at the event by none other than Zarah Sultana…
If making wild accusations about Ukraine isn’t enough, Lowkey’s also gone on the record recently to claim NATO is “aiming to essentially balkanise Russia“, and that the invasion makes “perfect sense” once you “understand that”. Alongside Chris Williamson… on Iranian Press TV.
So the narrative about Ukraine being full of Nazis has now moved on to NATO is full of Nazis.— Harry's Place (@hurryupharry) March 16, 2022
Patron of the Stop the War Coalition Lowkey, together with Asa Winstanley, pull back the curtain on a mysterious world of NATO Nazis who are "aiming to essentially Balkanise Russia" pic.twitter.com/QP3IrU1HJz
He’s also found the time to defend David Miller, the disgraced former Bristol University lecturer. When the Union of Jewish Students complained to the NUS about their decision to host the rapper, the union insisted attendees could use an “existing safe space designated for students who are sensitive to loud noise during Lowkey’s performance”. After the students asked for Lowkey’s performance to be cancelled, NUS President Larissa Kennedy said she was “more concerned about who she might hurt if the event was cancelled”. Presumably Zarah will now take the opportunity to boycott the event…
UPDATE: The NUS have announced Lowkey is no longer attending the event: “Lowkey was due to speak at Liberation Conference on 30 March. He has pulled out of the event and will no longer be appearing.”