Monday, April 25, 2016

UK: Anti-Zionist student leader elected as the new president of NUS

Via Jewish Chronicle:
Malia Bouattia has been elected as the new president of National Union of Students.

The election took place in Brighton at NUS national conference on Wednesday.

Ms Bouattia has faced criticism from Jewish students over her controversial remarks about Zionists.

Ms Bouattia won the election on the first round of voting with 372 votes, beating outgoing president Megan Dunn who had 328 votes. Candidate Adil Waraich won nine votes and Re-open Nominations (RON) won 22.

The Union of Jewish Students said: "Antisemitism has been something of a buzzword at NUS Conference 2016 and in the student movement this year. This looks set to continue, especially in light of the questions posed by 57 J-Soc Presidents to Malia Bouattia ahead of the presidential election. Jewish students have not yet received adequate answers from Malia on these concerns and UJS will continue to support their demands for answers over the next year.

"There is now a choice to be made. Jewish students need to decide whether NUS has gone too far for them to want to be involved, or whether now is the time to step up the fight from within. UJS will be consulting Jewish students in the near future and will continue to ensure that their interests are best represented."

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Writing in the Guardian, Bouattia denies she's antisemitic:
I am deeply concerned at accusations of antisemitism. In an open letter last week in response to concerns raised about my candidacy by Jewish students, I sought to allay their fears, and answered all points put to me honestly.

I want to be clear, again, that for me to take issue with Zionist politics is in no way me taking issue with being Jewish. In fact, Zionist politics are held by people from a variety of different backgrounds and faiths. For me it has been, and will always be, a political argument, not one of faith or ethnic identity. Zionism, religion and ethnicity must not be seen as one and the same. If the language I have used in the past has been interpreted any other way then let me make this clear – it was never my intention, although my political ideologies and beliefs remain unchanged.

There is no place for antisemitism in the student movement, or in society. If any of my previous discourse has been interpreted otherwise, such as comments I once made about Zionism within the media, I will revise it to ensure there is no room for confusion. I was being critical of media outlets that unquestioningly support Israel’s actions and maltreatment of Palestinians, I was not talking about the media as a whole, or repeating despicable antisemitic prejudice. The first thing I did on being elected was to hold a meeting with the Union of Jewish Students, and these meetings are set to continue.

Here are some of the statements which were 'misinterpreted', according to  Bouattia:

"Mainstream Zionist-led media outlets - because once again we're dealing with the population of the global south - resistance is presented as an act of terrorism, but instead of us remembering that this has always been the case thoughout struggles against white supremacy, it's become an accepted discourse amongst too many."

Bouattia thinks Jews are colonialists and white supremacists.  She believes the dichotomy of Jews as the rich, powerful White vs. Palestinians as the poor, powerless Black.  She believes Jews control the media.  She supports violent resistance against Jews.

Bouattia's basic attitude is antisemitic.

But it's much easier to claim she's been 'misunderstood' than deal with the problem.

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