UKLFI wrote to the National Union of Students (NUS) earlier this month, to warn them of incendiary views expressed by the incoming National President, Shaima Dallali, in statements on Twitter and elsewhere. UKLFI strongly believes the statements are contrary to NUS policy. UKLFI considers these statements are antisemitic when judged against the IHRA’s working definition and that this should result in disciplinary action. Ms Dallali is due to take up her new position in July 2022.
Dallali protesting at 2018 Israel Soc Event
Following UKLFI’s letter, which was sent on 11 April, the NUS has called for an independent inquiry into allegations of antisemitism.
The NUS is not itself a charity, but UKLFI has also made a separate complaint, sent on 11 April 2022, to the Charity Commission, that Ms Dallali’s views mean she is not a suitable person to be a trustee of the associated charity that assists students’ unions, the “NUS Students’ Union Charitable Services”. The President of the NUS is usually made a trustee of this charity.
The Charity Commission’s compliance, visits and inspections officer has responded: “I can confirm that we are currently assessing all of the information available to us, in order to determine what regulatory action, if any, may be required.” .
The current NUS policy on antisemitism in the student movement states that the NUS should re-affirm its commitment to tackling antisemitism on campus. However, instead of tackling antisemitism on campus, Ms Dallali has been stoking antisemitism by her promotion of BDS and her incendiary tweets against “Zionists” (most of whom are Jewish).
In a tweet in May 2021, Dallali appeared to justify violent attacks on Israel, saying that ‘the Palestinians have the right to resist in all possible ways, even with weapons‘.
She tweeted on 20 May 2021 “From the river to the sea” – this is part of the slogan “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” which implies support for the obliteration of Israel and denies the Jewish people their right to self-determination.
In May 2021 she tweeted “Good morning to everyone except Zionists, settler colonialist and apartheid sympathisers. Free Palestine” , attacking Zionists (most of whom are Jews) and suggesting that the State of Israel is a racist endeavour.
She ran the Palestinian Society at City University where she participated in anti-Israel protests. On 12 Feb 2018 she can be seen screaming “shame” to Jewish students as they existed a joint City and KCL Israel Society event at which Dan Meridor, former deputy prime minister of Israel had been speaking. Students were reportedly intimidated by the actions of the protestors,
Far from following NUS policy and “encouraging SUs to work with the Union of Jewish Students” (UJS), Ms Dallali has attacked the UJS and other Jewish communal institutions.
In May 2021 when the UJS celebrated Jerusalem Day, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem, Dallali tweeted that “Jerusalem is the soul heart and capital of Palestine. You and your statement can go in the trash”
On 11.5.21 when the UJS tweeted regarding the Gaza War “violence is never the answer, Boycotts only breed division, dialogue is the only way forward”, Ms Dallali responded: “Dialogue with a Zionist settler colonial project will result in nothing. I encourage all students to get involved with the BDS campaign on campus and join the global demand to put an end to apartheid.”
Many view the BDS campaign as antisemitic because its inexorable aim is the destruction of Israel as a Jewish State.
The NUS has a policy on Online Hate Crime whereby it affirms NUS’ zero tolerance approach to Islamophobia, antisemitism and all forms of racism and discrimination in real life and online.
However, Ms Dallali has re-tweeted antisemitic content by known members of terrorist organisations such as HAMAS and has publicly supported extremists online. Many of her social media posts breach the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
UKLFI has pointed out that since the NUS has a policy of zero tolerance to antisemitism, Ms Dallali should be censured.
UKLFI has requested that the NUS discipline Ms Dallali for breaching the NUS policies as described above.
Caroline Turner, a director of UKLFI, commented: “The incoming president of the NUS seems particularly unsuitable for such a role, given her history of incendiary social media publications. We hope that the NUS will properly implement its policies on antisemitism, and discipline the incoming president accordingly.”