New NUS president: ‘I don’t hate the Jewish community – I don’t hate anyone’

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New NUS president: ‘I don’t hate the Jewish community – I don’t hate anyone’

The in-coming student leader tells the Guardian she welcomes investigation into NUS antisemitism claims.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Former president of NUS, Shaima Dallali [Twitter].
Former president of NUS, Shaima Dallali [Twitter].

The incoming president of the National Union of Students has insisted: “This idea that I don’t like Jewish people, or I’m hateful towards the Jewish community is absolutely not true.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Shaima Dallali added it was “really difficult to have to see these horrible things being said about me. They are not true. ”

She said she wanted to “bridge the gab” and “build bridges” with the community, claiming “everyone has the right to their own political ideas.”

Dallai continued: “I don’t hate anyone. I definitely don’t hate the Jewish community. ”

The 27 year old,  the current president of the students’ union at City, University of London, spoke out after the NUS Board confirmed last week they had instigated an independent investigation into antisemitism claims, including her own conduct.

“The investigation is the right thing to do,” she told the newspaper.

“I know quite a few Jewish students feel alienated. This is the first step to start bridging the gap and reaching out to Jewish students and ensuring that Jewish students feel like they have a place in NUS, so I do welcome it.”

But Dallali also claimed she was being attacked “as a black Muslim woman” who had taken  up positions in the student union or the NUS, “where they are attacked based on their political beliefs or their pro-Palestinian stance.”

She said she had received Islamaphobic and racist online abuse.

“I’ve had private messages of people calling me a raghead, people telling me to go and kill myself, calling me a Jew hater and an antisemite,” she said.

“That has been difficult to read.”

Dallai also defended herself over a historic social media post which read: “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews … Muhammad’s army will return Gaza”.

She was also questioned about her defence of a homophobic Muslim cleric and her involvement in a demo at King’s College London (KCL) where a talk was being given by a former Israeli politician.

On the 10 year old “Khaybar” tweet, she said:”“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.”

On her involvement in the anti-Israel protest she added: “At no point did I target or harass anyone, rather it was an expression of disappointment at KCL for allowing this person to come and talk.”

Dallai then added: “I’ve worked with the Jewish community to support them, for example to commemorate Holocaust memorial day. My door has always been open to all students regardless of who they are.”

She went on: “I want to reiterate my willingness to work with Jewish students to combat antisemitism, to address their concerns. I want to represent all students and their concerns are important.

“I may at times disagree with people politically,” she added.


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