Jewish students ‘faced hostile culture’ in National Union of Students

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Jewish students have faced a “hostile” culture within the National Union of Students (NUS) – with the union failing to sufficiently challenge antisemitism, an independent investigation has found.

On occasion, Jews have been subjected to harassment – as defined in the Equality Act 2010 – and breaches of the union’s own policies, according to a report by Rebecca Tuck KC.

The NUS, which commissioned the investigation, acknowledged its findings are “shocking” and said it is committed to tackling antisemitism across “the breadth and depth” of the union.

It is apparent from this report… that the culture within NUS and at NUS events has been perceived by many Jewish students, for good reason, as hostile

Rebecca Tuck

The report found there was a “poor relationship” between the NUS and some Jewish students, stemming from views about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

It cited numerous instances in which Jews suffered antisemitism because of assumptions they were Zionists and about what that means.

“This has resulted in antisemitism as well as hostility towards Jews which has not been challenged sufficiently robustly or proactively by NUS,” the report said.

It comes after the union’s former president, Shaima Dallali, was sacked after an investigation into allegations of antisemitism.

Ms Dallali rejected the findings of the disciplinary panel and said the process constituted “discriminatory treatment of her as a black Muslim woman and her beliefs concerning the plight of the Palestinian people”.

The report did not recommend sanctions or further disciplinary investigation, instead setting out 11 recommendations for the union to consider.

These include the introduction of regular antisemitism training for NUS staff and officers and production of educational materials on antisemitism and the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“It is apparent from this report – and indeed from other reports over the last 17 years – that the culture within NUS and at NUS events has been perceived by many Jewish students, for good reason, as hostile,” Ms Tuck wrote.

President of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), Joel Rosen, said: “This landmark report sets out in granular detail how NUS has failed generations of Jewish students.

“It is a searing indictment of anti-Jewish racism at the heart of student politics. It confirms that Jewish students faced harassment and discrimination and that complaints of antisemitism were dismissed and disregarded.

“It is vital that this report is translated into meaningful and immediate action. All 11 recommendations in the report should be implemented. We now need to see a fundamental change within NUS’s culture and Jewish students will judge them on their actions.”