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Student union settles with anti-Zionist former president targeted by Islamophobic attacks post-dismissal

31st May 2024
Student union settles with anti-Zionist former president targeted by Islamophobic attacks post-dismissal

Elham Asaad Buaras

The National Union of Students (NUS) has settled out of court with its former president, Shaima Dallali, who was removed from office in November 2022 following allegations of antisemitism.

Dallali, a Muslim, denied the allegations and filed an employment tribunal case, alleging racial and religious discrimination by the student body.

On May 7, both parties released a joint statement. Dallali, the former City University Student Union president, has consistently asserted that she was singled out due to her support for the Palestinian cause and her criticisms of Zionist ideology. The NUS acknowledged that these views are “protected” and affirmed that Dallali is “entitled” to hold them.

When news of Dallali’s dismissal first emerged in 2022, she faced criticism from various sources, including tabloid media, social media users, and politicians like Labour’s Wes Streeting, then the Shadow Foreign Secretary, who publicly endorsed her dismissal.

In its statement, the NUS said: “Ms Dallali has suffered truly horrific abuse, which has included death threats, threats of sexual assault, and flagrant Islamophobia. This is wholly unacceptable, and NUS categorically condemn it.”

The NUS also referenced a tweet from Dallali in 2012. In the joint statement, the NUS acknowledges that the tweet in question was made when Dallali was a teenager and not yet a student.

“Both parties accept that Ms. Dallali has repeatedly apologized for that tweet. Throughout this matter,” the NUS stated.

Before settling, the NUS paid more than a million pounds to investigate its former president and defend her discrimination claim, according to a report by The Times last month.

Dallali said she was pleased to put the matter behind her. “I am an anti-Zionist and a proud pro-Palestinian,” Dallali said. “Following today’s settlement, I look forward to being able to focus on continuing to dedicate myself to the Palestinian cause and to serving my community,” she added.

“I am immensely grateful to those who have supported me during this difficult chapter in my life and I am pleased that all parties can now move on.”

The resolution of Dallali’s case coincides with pro-Palestinian students establishing protest encampments at universities across the UK in response to Israel’s ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Similar protests in the US have faced violent suppression by police, and the US Congress is considering legislation equating anti-Zionist activism on campuses with antisemitism.

In February, a British judge ruled that former University of Bristol professor David Miller, known for his criticism of Israel, had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against for his anti-Zionist views.

Miller’s representatives, Rahman Lowe Solicitors, celebrated the verdict as a “significant triumph,” asserting that anti-Zionist beliefs are legally protected in the workplace.

Photo: Former NUS president Shaima Dallali (Credit: X)

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