NUS dismisses President following antisemitism investigation

By Simon Dobey

 Shaima Dallali learned she was dismissed through Twitter today following the months-long investigation.

The National Union Of Students (NUS) removed its president, Shaima Dallali, tonight over accusations of antisemitism. Dallali, who was elected to the post in March by her NUS peers, was subsequently suspended by the organisation pending an investigation into the accusations. 

The contents of the investigation into Dallali will not be published, due to what the NUS has termed, “strict accordance with rules around employees and confidentiality.” Another report investigating anti-semitism within the NUS as an organisation will be published in due course. 

Dallali was not informed directly by the NUS of the decision. In a tweet she expressed her disappointment – “On the first day of Islamophobia awareness month, I find out I have been dismissed through Twitter. That is unacceptable.”

Following her election in March, Dallali’s previous social media activity was called into question by Jewish student organisations, including the Union Of Jewish Students. In a tweet posted in 2012, when Dallali was a teenager, she celebrated an assault on Jewish people which dated back to AD 628. She subsequently apologised without reserve and said that she has changed the language she uses when talking about Israel and Palestine.

Speaking to The Guardian in April of this year, Dallali said that the backlash following her election, was something she anticipated due to her being Black and Muslim. 

“I’ve seen it happen to other Black Muslim women when they take up positions in the student union or NUS, where they are attacked based on their political beliefs or their pro-Palestinian stance” she stated.

Last May, the government suspended engagement with the NUS, due to antisemitism allegations prior to the publication of the independent report. This meant that the NUS did not receive any funding and was removed from all department of education groups. 

Michelle Donelan, the former Minister for Higher Education, asked Civica, the body with responsibility for overseeing the NUS election, to conduct an investigation into the election of Shaima Dallali as president. This was done on the grounds that Dallali had failed to commit to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism. The definition has received criticism for being too broad, with many academics stating that it stifles criticism of Israeli aggression towards Palestine and Palestinians. 


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