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Letters—Defend NUS president from these claims of antisemitism

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Criticism of Israel and opposition to Zionism is not the same as antisemitism
Issue 2830
Big free Palestine demo with Palestine flags and placards such as "Freedom for Palestine"

Protesters demand ‘Free Palestine’ in London in May of this year (Picture: Guy Smallman)

It’s enraging that the NUS student union has dismissed its president, Shaima Dallali. She is another victim of those who weaponise claims of antisemitism.

The disciplinary investigation into Shaima followed pressure from the government and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS). This then triggered another investigation into antisemitism within the NUS. 

Shaima has faced abuse, including death threats. As the Palestine Solidarity Campaign statement says, “This is not the first time a Muslim woman of colour has had her social media trawled, her internet presence scrutinised, and her ability to do her elected role obstructed by a media-stoked outrage that ends up conflating legitimate criticisms of Israel with antisemitism.”

Shaima sent an inappropriate tweet a decade ago. She has fully apologised for that. But that’s not why she has been targeted.

Among the published allegations against Shaina is that she tweeted “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”. Another is that she took part in a protest at King’s College London against the presence on campus of a former deputy prime minister of Israel.

Such views and acts are not antisemitic, except to those who see all criticism of Israel as antisemitic.

And the UJS had a huge say on what happened. It was allowed massive influence in the framing of the investigation and the appointment of the independent investigator. UJS should have been consulted, but not given a dominant role.

It believes, for example, that it is inherently antisemitic to advocate for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel or to describe Israel as a state practising the crime of apartheid.

How could Shaima be found innocent of the charges?

An investigation that was supposed to be framed by anti‑racism has become a vector for the further silencing of the Palestinian people and their legitimate demands.

It is extraordinary that NUS has now gone the same way as the Labour Party. Please protest.

Dilfeeza Isal

West London


The police are rotten to the core

How many more ­investigations do we need before we see the real nature of the police?

A report last week from the grandly-named His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services for England and Wales was ordered after the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Metropolitan police officer, Wayne Couzens.

It found a “prevalent” culture of potentially thousands of officers who are “predatory” towards women who were allowed to join and stay in the cops. The vetting was ineffective and there was little action to remove such attitudes.

Officers were cleared to join after “committing offences such as robbery, indecent exposure, possession of controlled drugs, drink-driving and domestic abuse-related assaults”, the report found.

Officers staged unwarranted stops of women in an abuse of power known as “booty patrols”. 

Crimes such as sexual assault were covered up and ignored along with large-scale harassment of female officers and members of the public.

It details senior officers pursuing women for sex, watching pornography on duty and misogynistic comments about crime victims and the public.

Say it again—this is not just about rotten individuals, the whole institution is corrupt.

Rita Winter

Manchester


Ipswich’s asylum shame

I was once proud to live in Labour-controlled Ipswich Borough Council (IBC). IBC builds council houses. It is one of a very small number of local authorities in Britain to run its own municipal bus service. 

Road sweepers and the refuse service are council‑owned as is the local theatre. And a host of buildings are rented out to companies, thus bringing jobs into Ipswich. It’s the best council I have lived under.

But the decision by the Labour Party and its leader, David Ellesmere, to acquire an injunction to prevent the Novotel Hotel hosting 200 asylum seekers is nothing short of appalling. 

Ellesmere’s pathetic excuse was that not enough other local authorities were doing their bit.

In reality, David Ellesmere, you and the rest of the Labour councillors on IBC who support the action, were acting in the spirit of a racist policy.

You are going along with the worst of Tory views.

Shame on you.  

John Cutis

Ipswich


Trapped in demands of visa bureaucracy  

My experience shows how the combination of government regulations over immigration and the lack of care from employers has led to terrible stress for me.

For more than a month I have been chasing a very simple letter to confirm my employment that is required by the home office and the UK border agency. 

I need this letter because I am applying for a spouse visa extension for my wife, and her visa is about to expire. Financial requirements are extremely important in order to obtain the necessary documents. 

But the document has not arrived. I have a baby boy who is 19 months and my wife is pregnant.

The application for the visa cost over £3,000 and I fear I will lose that, adding still more pressure on me. 

I am facing the worst moments of my life worrying about my kids and wife. 

This is what life is like when you are engaged with the migration system. It is the sense of constant uncertainty and being left depending on the actions of employers who do not recognise the urgent nature of dealing with the system.

Shahibur 

by e-mail


Taking a bite out of Apple

It’s great news that Glasgow Apple workers have won union recognition. 

It makes me think of the unionisation campaigns in the United States that have hit back at Amazon and Starbucks and others.

I hope the victory at the Buchanan Street store for GMB members will be taken up elsewhere.

Alex Harries

Glasgow


Don’t close the airport

There have been big marches to stop the closure of Doncaster Sheffield airport.

Recently 2,000 people were on the streets, but Peel Group decreed it would close on bonfire night. This is the same firm that owns the Liverpool docks. 

Hundreds or maybe thousands of people will lose their livelihoods. 

I know that flights destroy the environment and that in a green future there will be less air traffic.

But I can’t agree that these jobs should just go. There should not be this closure without other work being provided.

Margaret Ramsay 

Sheffield 


Singing for an RMT victory 

I know what I want for Christmas, and that’s to see the song from Primal Scream and Dexys at number one in the charts.

They have put it together in support of the RMT union strike, and it’s appropriately called “Enough is Enough”. I hope all Socialist Worker readers will be part of this. 

For details go to bit.ly/RMTprimal 

Sarah Fried

Newcastle


Inspiration from Brazil

Lula’s victory in Brazil is so refreshing in a world where the right have won far too often.

We need such moments when times are tough. We don’t have to see the far rights and fascists win all the time.  

Gill Smith

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