Middle East

Upcoming NUS probe into anti-Semitism is ‘flawed’, rights group say

The British Palestinian Council (BPC) today submitted a formal complaint to the NUS UK Board in response to plans to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism.

British Palestinians fear that the inquiry, including its terms of reference and broader political context, will result in a fundamentally flawed report which conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of the state of Israel – “severely repressing the ability of Palestinian students to speak about their lived reality of oppression at the hands of the Israeli government and silencing a large body of students wishing to advocate for Palestinian rights,” a statement by BPC said.

The formal complaint follows a letter and meeting request from the BPC, along with community groups Palestine Forum in Britain (PFB), the Association of the Palestinian Community in the UK, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), all of whom received “a dismissive response from the NUS UK Board”, the statement added.

“In the complaint, the BPC highlights four specific areas of concern around: the use of the controversial IHRA definition as a reference point; the public nature and scope of the allegations; the extent of the involvement of the Union of Jewish Students; and the failure to consult with other groups who stand to be affected, including failure to respond to any of the concerns raised in the original letter.”

The pro-Israel lobby is colonising British academia with one smear campaign after another

Dr Sara Husseini, director of the BPC, said: “It is unacceptable that the NUS UK Board is disregarding the concerns of Palestinian students and a large segment of the student population, when the Terms of Reference explicitly target Palestinian advocacy.

Efforts to silence Palestinians are particularly appalling given the reality in Palestine, where women, men and children are being killed, injured, imprisoned, and expelled from their homes on a near-daily basis. We expect the NUS UK Board to remedy this immediately.”

Leanne Mohamad, President of KCL Students for Justice for Palestine Society, said: “The NUS has always been an organisation that has stood against colonialism, apartheid, and all forms of injustice. I am disappointed that the Board have set a dangerous precedent in investigating the President-Elect, Shaima Dallali, for her Palestine activism and her principled anti-racist politics.”

The planned investigation comes in the wake of public pressure from the government to investigate alleged anti-Semitism by cutting ties with the NUS.

Government influence on this matter follows a series of increasingly repressive and authoritarian moves targeting Palestinian advocacy as well as civic mobilisation and human rights work more broadly, including the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Bill, Nationality and Borders Bill, and the Police, Crimes and Sentencing Bill. Meanwhile, negotiations over an enhanced UK-Israel Free Trade Agreement are currently underway, without addressing well-documented human rights concerns and violations of international law, despite submissions by several human rights, legal, and policy organisations in the UK and beyond.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button