NUS: Government cuts students’ union funding over allegations of anti-Semitism as investigation begins

The government has suspended all engagement with NUS over allegations of anti-Semitism as the centre of the group

<p>Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he was “seriously concerned” about the allegations</p>

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he was “seriously concerned” about the allegations

Students will be offered alternative representation such as the Office for Students, and all government funding to the NUS will be temporarily halted.

NUS will also be removed from all Department for Education groups.

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In April NUS announced it was opening itself up to an independent investigation following a series of complaints by Jewish students.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he was “seriously concerned” about the allegations

What is the NUS?

The National Union of Students is a confederation of UK students unions and represents roughly 95 percent of higher education institutions in the country.

The NUS exists to represent the interests of more than seven million students across 600 student unions in the UK.

In 2016, Malia Bouattia was elected president of NUS but was met with allegations of anti-Semitism and condemned by hundreds of Jewish student leaders.

Following her election the universities of Newcastle, Hull, Loughborough and Portsmouth disaffiliated from the NUS.

What is anti-Semitism?

Anti-Semitism is a prejudice towards ethnic and religious Jewish people.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance defines anti-Semitism as: “A certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.

“Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Jews have been persecuted as a religious minority for centuries in the UK and globally, and have been the subject of conspiracy theories about controlling the world’s wealth.

Michelle Donelan said “enough is enough"

What allegations of anti-semitism have been made?

The DfE previously criticised the NUS’s "unacceptable response" to complaints made over their decision to invite rapper Lowkey to their 2022 conference.

The pro-Palestinian rapper had been accused of making comments that were regarded as anti-semetic.

Additionally, Shaima Dallali was elected as the new leader of NUS earlier this year, and had posted several tweets which angered groups tackling anti-Semitism.

After Dallali was elected The Union of Jewish Students said: Jewish students have spoken to us and raised their concerns over much of the messaging Dallali has put out on her social media in the past attacking the Jewish community, UJS, and supporting speakers with extremely challenging views.”

One of Dallali’s tweets which students voiced concern about was one posted ten years ago which read: “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews … Muhammad’s army will return Gaza”.

This was a reference to a 7th century Muslim assault on Jews in Khaybar, present day Saudi Arabia - Dallali has since apologised for the tweet.

What has the government said?

Michelle Donelan, Minister of State for Higher and Further Education, said: "Enough is enough. I’ve prepared a package of sanctions against following concerning incidents over many years.

“Disappointed it has come to this but proud to stand up for Jewish students. NUS will not have a seat at the table until we see real change.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “I am seriously concerned to hear of so many reports of alleged anti-Semitism linked to the NUS.

“Jewish students need to have confidence that this is a body that represents them, and we need to be sure that the student bodies that we engage with are speaking fairly for all students, which is why we are disengaging with the NUS until the issues have been addressed.”

“From the NUS’s initial response to our concerns, I am confident that they are keen to take action and welcome further updates from them. Anti-Semitism has no place in our society and we will stamp it out, wherever it occurs.”