No punishment for NUS President's anti-Semitic comments

Bouattia has called Birmingham University "A Zionist outpost" Image credit: Phil Champion via Geograph

A recent internal NUS report has ruled that Malia Bouattia should not be punished for a comment she made about Birmingham University, which has been condemned by many national Jewish socieities as anti-Semitic.

Last year, the president of the National Union of Students (NUS), Malia Bouattia received much criticism when a blog post she had co-authored in 2011 was found to have referred to Birmingham University as "a zionist outpost". Bouattia has since refused to apologise for the comment.

The report was chaired by Professor Carol Baxter and concluded that the NUS president did make comments that "could be reasonably capable of being interpreted as anti-Semitic”. However, the report recommended that no disciplinary should be carried out, and that Miss Bouattia should apologise for her comments.

This has added to the friction between prominent members of the NUS, some feeling that the report provides sufficient reason for Bouattia to be asked to step down from her post. Others see the allegations of anti-Semitism as an attack on Bouattia herself. Speaking to The Telegraph, an NUS spokesperson said "These attacks not only put her personal safety at risk but are part of a dangerous trend that deter under-represented groups from taking part in public life".

It was reported last month that NUS Vice-President Richard Brooks had been secretly filmed by an undercover Al-Jazeera reporter asserting that he was a key individual in attempts to oust Bouattia. After the documentary was broadcast, Brooks stated that “I’ve written to the NUS UK Board to refer myself for an investigation under the Code of Conduct.”

This article has been corrected since initial publication. Last amended: 20/02/2017 at 16:20

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