Education Secretary raises concerns over ‘systemic antisemitism’ in NUS

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Education Secretary raises concerns over ‘systemic antisemitism’ in NUS

Nadhim Zahawi tells parliamentary committee there's 'a lot of work the NUS needs to do' to become 'a proper organisation' again

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has become the latest high-profile politician to express concerns over “systemic antisemitism” within the National Union of Students.

Speaking to parliament’s education committee, Zahawi said: “I am deeply concerned about the NUS – it feels to me that there is systemic antisemitism, because this is not the first time, it’s the second time I think, they have elected a leader who has got a history of antisemitic comments and statements, so that does concern me.”

And in a warning about the government’s response to the student organisation, the minister said:”“no options are off the table, including our relationship with the NUS.”

The Union of Jewish Students have long raised concerns over the leadership of the NUS, including historic social media posts by the NUS’s incoming president, Shaima Dallali, that included a reference to a historical assault on Jews by Muslim armies.

In an interview with Guardian this week Dallali apologised for the tweet saying:“I’m not the same person I was. I have developed my political language to talk about Palestine and Israel. I stand by that apology.”

But the Education Secretary warned on Wednesday it was “not acceptable, in my view, that anyone in a leadership position in that organisation holds these views or propagates them in any way.”

He added:”“I think they need to rebuild, regain the trust of Jewish students because at the moment that trust has collapsed completely and rightly so, in my view. I think there’s a lot of work the NUS needs to do to get itself back into – I wouldn’t even say a good place – a proper, functioning representative organisation.”

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