Jews suffered anti-Semitic harassment and hostile culture at National Union of Students. Meanwhile in Nottingham University Islamic Society postpones event with a cleric who said Hitler did Jews ‘a favour’

From The Telegraph and University magazine The Tab

Jewish students were treated as pariahs at the National Union of Students, an independent investigation into antisemitism within the organisation has found.

The report, commissioned by the union, found that Jewish students have been subjected to harassment and “for at least the last decade”, have not felt welcome or included in NUS spaces or elected roles.

Rebecca Tuck KC, who led the investigation, said she had received numerous accounts of students being identified as “a Jew” and being treated “as a pariah” at NUS events, with rooms “going quiet” when they walk in and conversations “abruptly ceasing”. She said Jewish students have been made to feel “answerable for Israel”, “seen to represent every single Jew in the student population” and “stripped of any other characteristics”.  She also found that Jewish students interacting with the NUS had faced “ancient antisemitic tropes, from blood libels to Rothschild conspiracies.”

Her report concluded that “many Jewish students who have chosen to interact with NUS have found it a hostile environment”. She added: “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.”

Her report set out 11 recommendations, including the introduction of regular antisemitism training for NUS staff and officers, and producing educational resources on antisemitism and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Meanwhile: The Islamic society at the University of Nottingham has postponed an event with speaker Shaykh Asrar Rashid, after backlash from Jewish students over his invitation to speak on campus.

Mr Rashid made comments in a video posted on a YouTube channel in June 2022 that “by the 1940s, Hitler did a favour for the Jews”. He added that following the holocaust, Jews “held all politicians in their pockets”.

In May 2021 the JC reported on an online debate concerning the Israel-Gaza war in which the Birmingham cleric said the “only solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was “jihad” by Muslim-majority countries. . .

“I believe the only solution is jihad,” he explained, adding, “and a call for jihad, and an announcement for jihad by Muslim majority states that we have. Even surgical strikes or wallpaper strikes, the type that Saddam Hussein did in the early 1990s, I believe. Thirty-nine rockets he fired into Tel Aviv and every Jew was running into his shelter. Those with a European passport would be running back to Europe. You see the way they react to Katyusha missiles or Qassam missiles that do not even kill anyone, they run into their shelters so the Jews are known as…a cowardly nation.”

Birmingham-based cleric Shaykh Asrar Rashid, who once labelled the late Queen Elizabeth II a “disgusting woman”, had been invited by the Islamic Society to give a talk on “The End of Times”.

The event was due to be held on the 12th December in the Law and Social Sciences building on University Park Campus. A post on the society’s Facebook page on the 7th December stated that the talk was for “brothers only”. That alone should have got them cancelled. 

The society then posted an update on the 10th December announcing that due to “logistical issues” the event would be held in the Lenton Muslim Centre instead of on campus and that it was “now open to both brothers and sisters”. A day later the society posted that as a result of “unforeseen circumstances” the talk had been postponed until further notice and that they would keep followers posted on any further updates to the event.

Speaking to The Jewish Chronicle, a spokesperson for Nottingham Jewish society said they were “appalled” by the invite to Asrar Rashid to deliver his talk at the university.

“We are pleased that the event did not take place as scheduled, yet we will continue to make representations to ensure that it is not organised for a later date”, they added.

A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham Students Union (said) ” . . . We have been made aware of an invitation issued by the Islamic Society to Asrar Rashid to address its members. The Students’ Union has requested a postponement of the event to ensure that the agreed process for issuing such speaker invitations has been followed and allows us to determine whether the event can be held peacefully and safely for all those concerned.”