The National Union of Students voted yesterday to approve an amendment which gives the Union of Jewish Students no say over who represents Jewish students on the NUS’s Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism (ARAF) committee.
The deciding vote in favour of the amendment was cast by NUS President Malia Bouattia, who has previously faced allegations of antisemitism for comments she has made concerning Zionism, such as referring to “Zionist-led media outlets” and calling the University of Birmingham a “Zionist outpost in British Higher Education”.
The amendment’s approval means that NUS’s National Executive Committee will have sole responsibility over who is chosen to to be the ARAF committee’s Jewish representative, although a NUS spokesperson said that “further consultation will take place over this year and the policy may change”.
UJS campaigns director Josh Nagil said in a statement, “NUS NEC once again showed its complete lack of commitment to Jewish students by voting for a motion that means that Jewish students will have no say in who represents them on the NUS Anti-Racism, Anti-Fascism (ARAF) committee.”
“This decision is undemocratic and excludes the 8,500 Jewish students that we represent. It was no surprise that the NUS President, Malia Bouattia, who had the deciding vote, once again showed that she has absolutely no interest in defending Jewish students’ interests by voting to remove the ability of Jewish students to shape for themselves the student movements’ fight against racism and fascism,” he added.
The vote will provide slight vindication to the ‘No Thanks NUS’ campaign, who last term pushed for Oxford to disaffiliate from the NUS over Bouattia’s election to president. The campaign ultimately failed in a June referendum, with more than 58 per cent of students voting to remain affiliated.
Louis McEvoy, President-elect of the Oxford Forum, told Cherwell, “Beyond the fact that it’s obviously disgusting and exclusionary towards the one minority the hard left isn’t too keen on ‘liberating’, what is particularly infuriating is that it shows that all the words Malia Bouattia and her ilk put forth months ago on listening to and understanding Jewish concerns were simply that: just words.
“The NUS has made it clear, yet again, that they have no interest in representing Jewish students. The ‘Yes to NUS’ campaign in Oxford repeatedly spoke of reforming the NUS from the inside. We have seen no evidence of this yet, and it would be nice to see those who were part of this campaign condemning this and to see them start putting their promises into practice.”
The Oxford Jewish Society have been contacted for comment.