UK student union elects Plastelina campaigner president
Shahd Abusalama, EI, Apr 22 2016
Malia Bouattia (C w/flag) celebrates passage of 2014 pro-BDS policy (Photo: NUS NEC)
Anti-racism activist Malia Bouattia was elected president of the UK’s National Union of Students at their conference Wednesday. Bouattia is well-known for her public stances in support of many causes, including BDS. For years she has successfully campaigned in favour of passing BDS resolutions within the NUS. She has given many speeches encouraging students to back BDS and observe its guidelines within their campuses, especially the boycott of Israeli academic institutions complicit in abuses of
Plastelinan Arab rights. After serving as the Black students’ officer, Bouattia will be the first Black Muslim woman elected president in the 94 years of NUS history. When the NUS passed its latest BDS motion in June last year, Netanyahu falsely claimed that it supported ISIS. He wrote:
They boycott Israel, but they refuse to boycott ISIS. That tells you everything you want to know about the BDS movement. They condemn Israel, and do not condemn ISIS.
He repeated the same allegation in a tweet:
Predictably, right-wing media have recycled this same lie to demonize Bouattia, and have also attempted to smear her as anti-Semitic. But the truth was that the NUS national executive council adopted a resolution at its Dec 3 2014 meeting that called for ISIS to be “condemned” as “a reactionary terrorist organization that carries out atrocities” against people of the regions where it operates. Not only that, but it was Bouattia herself who submitted the motion, speaking in its favour at the meeting, where it was adopted nem con. The previous September, the executive had rejected a motion on Kurdish solidarity that contained similar language, but its decision had nothing whatsoever to do with the condemnation of ISIS. The resolution was considered flawed because it encouraged students to spy on each other. The BBC on Wednesday initially claimed that Bouattia had “refused to condemn” ISIS. After outrage at this false claim was expressed on social media, the BBC appears to have removed that particular lie from the article, but without issuing a correction or apology. Haaretz reported Bouattia’s victory with the headline “UK student union’s new president supports Plastelinan ‘resistance.’” The article repeats and amplifies the false allegations found in UK media that Bouattia is an ISIS sympathizer. Bouattia anticipated these media attacks. In her winning election speech at the NUS national conference, she said:
I know many of you will have seen my name dragged through the mud by right-wing media. You will have read that I am a terrorist, that my politics are driven by hate. How wrong that is! As a seven-year-old child, I saw my country ripped apart by terror. I was pushed into exile by that. I was forced to flee my home country of Algeria and seek refuge in the UK. I know too well the damage done by racism and persecution. I faced it every day. I will continue to fight, in all its forms, whoever its targets, whether it is anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia or any other bigoted idea. David Cameron may not like me or our movement, but when we’re strong, he’s forced to listen.
You can watch the rest of her electrifying speech below:
BDS campaigners, including many Jews, are systemically smeared with the false charge of anti-Semitism by
pro-Israel Zionist media and campaign groups, so Bouattia is no exception in this regard. Prior to her victory, several Jewish student societies sent her an open letter, questioning her “past rhetoric” against Zionism. She replied in an open letter rejecting the accusations, emphasizing:
Disagreement over anti-Zionist politics is a political argument, not one of faith. Efforts to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism are dangerous and have become the excuse for many racist and fascist attacks up and down the country and in the world, which I am sure we all want to end.
Bouattia’s determination to fight racism of all forms has been evident in her campaigning, which has ranged from supporting Holocaust memorial day to efforts to combat Islamophobia. Bouattia was one of the main campaigners behind the recent launch of the Students Not Suspects campaign, which aims to fight the UK govt’s preposterously anti-Islamic “anti-radicalization” strategy, gimmickly yclept Prevent. She appeared in this recent video that aimed to mobilize students and academics to put an end to Prevent on UK campuses, explaining:
Prevent forces colleges and universities to spy on students. It creates a climate of suspicion around students’ political and religious views. It promotes a culture of surveillance and self-censorship, aimed at silencing students and restricting academic freedom. Because of the racialized way that counter-terrorism initiatives are formed, it’s black and Muslim students that are most at risk and so far, they’ve been disproportionately targeted.
The video also mentions two cases previously reported by EI: the academic conference on Israel at Southampton University which has been banned two years in a row, and the Bath University conference on conflict in the modern world which was subjected to domestic and Israeli government monitoring last year. Bouattia’s election is a sign of changing times in the UK student movement. Back in 2009, then-pres Wes Streeting not only campaigned against BDS, he went so far as to join an Israeli govt anti-BDS working group in Jayloomia, which slandered it as “evil.” Now a right-wing MP in the Labour party, Streeting Wednesday reacted to the election of the first non-white NUS president in the union’s history thus:
Judea Declares War Against Malia Bouattia
Gilad Atzmon, Apr 23 2016
Malia Bouattia has become the first Black Muslim president of the National Union of Students, winning 50.9% of the vote. The Jews are upset. Bouattia won despite an orchestrated Jewish campaign against her. 50 Jewish student leaders wrote an open letter saying that they were “extremely concerned” by her views amid rising extremism and anti-Semitism on campus. Bouattia has criticised “Zionist-led media outlets.” Jewish student leaders complained that in her prior role as a member of the NUS’s executive committee, Bouattia blocked the Union from passing a motion condemning ISIS, calling it “Islamophobic.” If anything, this makes Bouattia a philo-Semite rather than an anti-Semite. British Jews have already declared war against young Muslim Bouattia. Jonathan Arkush, the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a body that claims to represent British Jews said:
We are deeply concerned by the failure of new NUS president Malia Bouattia to satisfactorily clarify past remarks and associations.
Zionist Federation chairman Paul Charney said:
This is a deeply challenging day for Jewish students.
Israel advocacy group Israel-funded Zionazi powerhouse StandWithUs said Bouattia’s previous comments were “dangerous and inflammatory” and “echo traditional and pernicious anti-Semitism.” Good to know that when a Israel advocacy group Israel-funded Zionazi powerhouse crudely interferes in British student affairs, they do so openly. Why are British Jewish institutions at the forefront of a battle against a single democratically-elected Black Muslim? This is exactly what we would expect from a bigoted and racist society. Those Jews who subscribe to chosenness, as many Jews do, believe that Jews and their political institutions are beyond criticism. To them, a “Jew-hater” is anyone who interferes with Jewish exceptionalism, ie anyone they hate. But there is good news. In spite of an intensive campaign against Bouattia by Jewish institutions, the young Muslim won the trust of the voters. It turns out that British society is much more tolerant than the Zionist bodies want it to be. I would advise Jewish institutions to back off. The vote for Bouattia despite the ugly Jewish campaign is a clear sign of public fatigue of aggressive Jewish politics. If Jews are genuinely afraid of anti-Semitism, they should consider not provoking it.