Britain? Moderates? How’s That Again? by Douglas Murray

  • A new poll of British Muslims found that a majority hold views with which most British people would disagree. For instance, 52% of British Muslims think that homosexuality should be made illegal. An earlier poll found that 27% of British Muslims have “some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks” at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year.

  • Whenever opinion poll results come out, nearly the entire Muslim community, including nearly all Muslims in the media and all self-appointed groups of “Muslim community leaders” try to prove that the poll is a fraud.
  • If I had always known my “community” harboured such views, and a poll revealing this truth came out, I would be deeply ashamed. But when such polls emerge about the opinions of British Muslims, is that there is never any hint of introspection. There is no shame and no concern, only attack.
  • If there were indeed a “moderate majority,” when a poll comes out saying that a quarter of your community wants fundamentally to alter the law of the land and live under Sharia, the other 75% would spend their time trying to change the opinions of that quarter. Instead, about 74% of the 75% not in favour of sharia spend their time covering for the 25% and attacking the polling company which discovered them.

One often hears about the “moderate Muslim majority.” ‘After any terrorist attack, politicians tell us that, “The moderate majority of Muslims utterly condemn this.” After any outrage, commentators and pundits spring up to say, “Of course the vast majority of Muslims are moderate.” But is it true? Are the vast majority of Muslims really “moderate”?

A number of factors suggest perhaps not — most obviously the problem repeatedly revealed by opinion polls. Time and again, the results of opinion polls in the Western world, never mind in the Middle East or North Africa, show a quite different picture from the “moderate majority” aquatint.

True, such polls can often show that, for instance, only 27% of British Muslims have “some sympathy for the motives behind the attacks” at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo last year. True, that is only between a quarter and a third of British Muslims sympathizing with the blasphemy enforcement squad. On other occasions, such as recently in Britain with a new ICM poll commissioned by Channel 4, they find that a majority of Muslims hold views with which most British people would disagree. So for instance, the recent ICM poll found that 52% of British Muslims think that homosexuality should be made illegal. That’s a striking figure. Not 52% of British Muslims saying homosexuality is “not their cup of tea” or that they are “not entirely on board with gay marriage,” but 52% of British Muslims thinking that homosexuality should be made a crime under the law.

But it is what happens after such polls emerge that the “moderate majority” idea really comes under strain. First, of course, there is always an attempt to put a positive spin on the results. So for instance, when the post-Charlie Hebdo poll came out last year, the BBC (which had commissioned the poll) ran it with the headline, “Most British Muslims ‘oppose Muhammad cartoon reprisals.’” Although true, it is not the most striking aspect of its findings. But it is what happens next that is most revealing and more truly calls into question whether we are really dealing with a “moderate majority” or, more truthfully, with a “moderate minority.” Because whenever the results come out, nearly the entire Muslim community, including nearly all Muslims in the media and all self-appointed groups of “Muslim community leaders,” try to prove that the poll is a fraud. It happened with the release of the ICM poll in the UK, as it has happened with every previous poll. With the exception of only one or two prominent dissident Muslims, every Muslim voice in the media and every Muslim group decided not to concern themselves with the ICM findings, but to try to pull apart the validity, methodology and even ‘motives’ of the poll. This is deeply revealing.

It is worth trying a thought-experiment here. Whatever community you come from, imagine your reaction if a poll like the ICM one on British Muslims had come out about whatever community you feel a part of. Imagine you are a Jew and a poll had come out saying the majority of other Jews in your country want to make being gay a crime. What would your first reaction be? My impression is that most Jews would be deeply embarrassed. Very shortly after that first reaction, you might begin to wonder what could be done to change such a terrible statistic around. It is possible, if you knew nobody of your faith who thought that homosexuality should be criminalized and had never come across this position before (or any previous polling which suggested the same thing) that you might question the credibility and methodology of the poll. But otherwise, you would probably sigh and wonder what could be done to improve things. If you knew the findings to be fairly accurate, why would you try to tear apart the findings?

Likewise, if tomorrow a poll were published of the opinions of white British people of Christian upbringing in the UK, I would take some interest in it. If it revealed that 39% of British Christians believed that wives should always obey their husbands (as the ICM poll showed British Muslims believe) then I would have some worries. If it also found that almost a quarter (23%) of British people of Christian origin wanted areas of the UK to divest themselves of the law of the land and be run instead on some Biblical literalist “take” on the law, I would worry some more.

Of course, neither of these eventualities is remotely likely to arise. But let us say that it did. What would be my reaction? The first would be to hang my head in shame. And I would hang it just that bit lower if the findings came as absolutely no surprise to me. If I had always known my “community” harboured such views, and a poll revealing this truth came out, I would be deeply ashamed that what I had always known was now known by everyone else in the country.

What is most interesting then, when such polls emerge about the opinions of British Muslims, is that there is never, ever, any hint of such introspection. There is no shame and no concern, only attack. If there were indeed a “moderate majority,” then when a poll comes out saying that a quarter of your community wants fundamentally to alter the law of the land and live under Sharia law, the other 75% would spend their time trying to change the opinions of that quarter. Instead, about 74% of the 75% not in favour of sharia spend their time covering for the 25% and attacking the polling company which discovered them. It is a tiny symptom of a much larger problem, the repercussions of which our societies have hardly begun to face.

Douglas Murray is a current events analyst and commentator based in London.

Britain: Labour Party Finds Itself Innocent! by Douglas Murray

  • The findings of this inquiry have now been published and amazingly the Labour party has found itself innocent.
  • In British left-wing politics, you cannot even clear yourself of accusations of anti-Semitism without having an outbreak of it right there and then.

Readers who have followed the UK Labour party’s recent travails will be surprised to hear the results of the party’s latest inquiry into its own behaviour. After a slew of anti-Semitic comments emanated from a Member of Parliament, a number of councillors and a member of the party’s executive committee, party leader Jeremy Corbyn finally ordered an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party. The findings of this inquiry have now been published and amazingly the Labour party has found itself innocent. But even that has not gone down without incident.

The Labour party’s anti-Semitism problem began to be exposed at the start of this year when stories of routine anti-Semitism emerged from a junior wing of the party — specifically the Oxford University Labour Club. That scandal involved a number of resignations, and revelations of the use of anti-Semitic language as routine and commonplace among Labour students at Britain’s most prestigious university. An inquiry into these events, ordered by the party and conducted by Labour’s own Baroness Royall, promptly found “no evidence” of “institutional anti-Semitism.”

Then came the scandal of Naz Shah MP, who was suspended from the party pending an investigation into messages on social media, as well as the suspension of a number of Labour councillors for posting anti-Semitic content on Facebook and other sites.

Kerosene was promptly thrown onto this smouldering fire by National Executive Committee member, Ken Livingstone. The former Mayor of London used the opportunity of an anti-Semitism row to go on the BBC and talk about which early policies of Adolf Hitler’s he thought the Jewish people had agreed. The resulting firestorm culminated in Mr Livingstone locking himself in a disabled lavatory at the BBC while journalists shouted questions about Hitler under the door. Sensing that his party was in difficult public-relations waters, Jeremy Corbyn ordered an inquiry into the Labour party’s anti-Semitism problem, and asked left-wing campaigner Shami Chakrabarti to conduct the inquiry. Chakrabarti promptly joined the Labour party and started work.

On Thursday of last week Chakrabarti produced her findings. At an event in London organised by the Labour party, she announced that the Labour party was not in fact overrun by anti-Semitism “or other forms of racism,” but conceded that there was an “occasionally toxic atmosphere.” She also added that there was “too much clear evidence… of ignorant attitudes.”

UK Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) appears at a press conference with left-wing campaigner Shami Chakrabarti (right), to present the findings of an inquiry into the Labour party’s anti-Semitism, June 30, 2016.

The man she was helping to vindicate, Jeremy Corbyn, then took to the stage and called for an end to Hitler and Nazi metaphors, and an end to comparisons between different human rights atrocities. He went on to say, “Racism is racism is racism. There is no hierarchy, no acceptable form of it.” In the hands of anyone else that might have been an end of it, but this is the modern Labour party of Jeremy Corbyn, and in the modern Labour party of Jeremy Corbyn no opportunity for a public relations catastrophe is ever missed. And so it was that at the launch of an inquiry into anti-Semitism a set of anti-Semitic incidents occurred.

First, there were the words of the leader himself. In his remarks attempting to curb anti-Semitism in the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn said,

“Our Jewish friends are no more responsible for the actions of Israel or the Netanyahu government than our Muslim friends are for those various self-styled Islamic states or organisations.”

This none-too subtle linkage between Israel and ISIS was promptly seized upon by commentators and religious leaders. Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis condemned the comments as “offensive,” and stated that rather than rebuilding trust with Britain’s Jewish community, Corbyn had in fact caused even “greater concern.”

Former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks called Corbyn’s comments “demonisation of the highest order, an outrage and unacceptable.” He went on to say that the comments showed “how deep the sickness is in parts of the left of British politics today.”

Meanwhile, in the audience of the event, a Labour MP who is Jewish — Ruth Smeeth — found herself the victim of anti-Semitic slurs from one of Jeremy Corbyn’s hard-left grassroots supporters. This individual insisted that Ms Smeeth was working in collusion with the “right-wing media” — an anti-Semitic trope of precisely the kind at which the Chakrabarti report had been meant to look. Corbyn failed to intervene, so the Jewish MP walked out of the event.

Smeeth subsequently joined the majority of Labour MPs who have already — for a whole multitude of reasons — called on Corbyn to resign. By failing to intervene in an anti-Semitic incident going on right in front of him, Corbyn had, she said in a statement, shown a “catastrophic failure of leadership,” adding:

“It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people, which were ironically highlighted as such in Ms Chakrabarti’s report, while the leader of my own party stood by and did absolutely nothing.”

Yet here we are. It is 2016 and in British left-wing politics you cannot even clear yourself of accusations of anti-Semitism without having an outbreak of it right there and then. There are those who have long noticed this fact. There are also those who have long rued this fact. But only the current leadership of the Labour party can imagine that they are going to get away with avoiding this fact.

Douglas Murray is a current events analyst and commentator based in London.

Britain’s New Racism by Douglas Murray

  • The most predictable and worrying result of Jeremy Corbyn’s election was always the effect it was going to have on the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism in the UK.


  • For someone such as Jeremy Corbyn, an elevation to a position of leadership is a vindication of those years in the wilderness, not an opportunity to find an ideological replacement.

  • One of the reasons Hamas supporters spend so much time speaking to university students is because they hope such students will demonstrate a naïveté about them and their goals that might be unusual elsewhere in society.

  • What happens when a pro-Hamas speaker is confronted by an anti-Hamas speaker? The anti-Hamas speaker may rightly say that Hamas is an extremist organisation. The pro-Hamas speaker or naïve student might easily come back by asking how an organization can be deemed extreme if the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition is a friend and supporter of the group. This certainly makes it easier to depict its terrorists as tolerable and its racism as acceptable.

  • The British left, under Corbyn’s leadership, now harbour the proponents of the greatest racism of our time.

It was never hard to predict the effects of the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the British Labour party. Although some people wondered whether the candidate of the far-left might soften some of his opinions once in power, most observers never doubted that someone who had cherished such opinions almost alone on the backbenches for three decades was hardly going to change them overnight just because he had become party leader. For someone such as Corbyn, an elevation to a position of leadership is a vindication of those years in the wilderness, not an opportunity to find an ideological replacement.

To the surprise of nobody who was familiar with his politics, Corbyn has spent his time so far surrounding himself with figures arguably even more hard-core than him. He immediately appointed IRA-supporter John McDonnell as his Shadow Chancellor and more recently appointed Seamus Milne as his spin-doctor. Milne’s support for absolutely anyone so long as he is anti-British made him too extreme in recent decades even for many of his former colleagues at Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

But the most predictable and worrying result of Corbyn’s election was always the effect it was going to have on the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism in the UK. During Corbyn’s election campaign, his sympathetic attitude towards his whole milieu of anti-Semites, terrorists and Holocaust-deniers became an issue. Having spent many days of his life standing on platforms alongside such figures as Paul Eisen, Dyab Abu Jahjah and Raed Saleh, media criticism of such relationships came as a surprise only to the youngest among Corbyn’s supporters, who chose to dismiss such serious questions as “press smears.” During that period, Corbyn was careful not completely to drop his most extreme friends. Instead, he pretended his relationships with them was less than it was, or that they had only connected because of a concern to further ‘peace’ or ‘inter-faith issues’. And he certainly did nothing to suggest that his views of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute — a dispute in which Corbyn has only ever supported the most intransigent and extreme forces on the Palestinian side — had in any way changed.

In 2009, Jeremy Corbyn (left) said: “It will be my pleasure and my honour to host an event in Parliament where our friends from Hezbollah will be speaking. I also invited friends from Hamas to come and speak as well.” Pictured in the middle is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Pictured at right is Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

As it was clear that Corbyn’s views would not have changed, and as the only people he can rely on to be loyal to him are people who have views as extreme or even more extreme than him, there was only one possible result to his election: that Corbyn would end up bringing into the mainstream views that ought to be at the farthest fringes of politics.

Take the UK view of Hamas. The terrorist organization is proscribed in Britain, but Jeremy Corbyn has been friendly with the group for years. Indeed, he has been on record describing its members as “friends” and has repeatedly appeared alongside the group’s representatives in the UK and the Middle East. Now, a sympathetic stance towards proscribed groups such as Hamas is one of the hallmarks of bigots in the UK, and also of the interminably naïve and ignorant. One of the reasons Hamas supporters spend so much time trying to speak to university students in the UK is because they hope such students will demonstrate a naïveté about them and their goals that might be unusual elsewhere in society.

What happens when a pro-Hamas speaker is confronted by an anti-Hamas speaker? The anti-Hamas speaker may rightly say that Hamas is an extremist organization. The pro-Hamas speaker or naïve student might easily come back by asking how an organization can be deemed extreme if the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition is a friend and supporter of the group. Obviously, this does not make Hamas non-extreme, but it certainly makes it easier to depict its terrorists as tolerable and its racism as acceptable.

This effect — the Corbynization of British politics — has already had one notable effect. Last week Sir Gerald Kaufmann, a man with a track record of anti-Semitic comments, said something crazed even by his own high standards. Speaking at an event organized by the Hamas-affiliated “Palestine Return Centre” in Parliament, Kaufman claimed that the Conservative party had been influenced by “Jewish money.” Asked why the UK government had allegedly become more pro-Israel in recent years he said, “It’s Jewish money, Jewish donations to the Conservative Party — as in the general election in May — support from the Jewish Chronicle, all of those things bias the Conservatives.”

What Kaufman said next is in some ways even more extraordinary. He claimed that the Palestinians “are living a repressed life, and are liable to be shot at any time. In the last few days alone the Israelis have murdered 52 Palestinians and nobody pays attention and this government doesn’t care.” He went on to claim that the recent stabbing attacks on Israeli citizens had been fabricated by the Israeli government in order to allow it to “execute Palestinians.”

There have already been complaints about this statement from other MPs, including other Labour MPs. But what can be expected of the Labour leadership? Jeremy Corbyn is an old friend and ally of Kaufman’s. They have shared anti-Israel platforms for years. However, whereas ordinarily a party leader would discipline an MP for such outrageous and false claims, nothing has happened — nor will happen — to Kaufman. It is a failure that should bring shame on the party. Even the Liberal Democrats managed eventually to withdraw the whip from their Baroness Jenny ‘Boom’ Tonge, who has repeatedly spread blood-libels about Israel. But Kaufman is part of Corbyn’s Parliamentary base, and the kind of people who lap this sort of thing up are part of Jeremy Corbyn’s wider base in the country. What is a leader like him to do?

This, then, is one of the already jolting effects of the Corbyn leadership. Wholly predictably, it has begun to mainstream anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories, and it has encumbered the political left with few defences to the accusation that it is they who now harbour the proponents of the greatest racism of our time. Is it too much to hope that an alliance of Jews and non-Jews of every imaginable political stripe will push back to ensure this does not happen?

Britain’s New Mainstream Racists? Does the Rot Start from the Top by Douglas Murray

  • From the accounts of those in the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) and elsewhere, it is clear that anti-Semitism surfaced in the Labour party at exactly the moment the party started to be led by a man who, throughout his political life, had demonstrated extreme comfort with anti-Semites.

  • “The decision of the club [OULC] to endorse a movement with a history of targetting and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation…” — Alex Chalmers, who resigned from the Oxford University Labour Club.

The British Labour party is currently led by a man, Jeremy Corbyn, who has described Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” and has spent his years in the political wilderness with Holocaust deniers, anti-Semites, terrorist-sympathisers and all manner of other undesirables. Now that he is the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, he has tried to present himself as a more moderate force by stressing that he has spent his life fighting racism and anti-Semitism. In fact, he appears to have spent his life being remarkably content with exponents of both.

His Shadow Chancellor spent the same period in similar company, but with an even more fervent devotion to the terrorists of the Irish Republican Army.

The communications chief of this whole disastrous enterprise is one Seamus Milne, who devoted his career at The Guardian to keeping the scent around Joseph Stalin rosier than it ever ought to have been. If a fish, as the saying goes, rots from the top, who can be surprised if there is rot also from the tail up?

Last week it was the turn of the Oxford University Labour Club (OULC) to throw their wares open for public view. Thanks to the unusually principled resignation of the co-chair of the organization, Alex Chalmers, we now know that apparently a large proportion of the youth branch of the party also has “problems with Jews.” Indeed, it appears that anti-Semitism has moved from the margins to the very centre of University Labour life.

According to Chalmers, among the delights of the organization from which he resigned was that the OULC decided to endorse Israel Apartheid Week. This is the annual anti-Semitic hate-fest that takes place across university campuses in the West. Racist students build fake security walls, stage “die-ins” and pretend that murderers who carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis are instead the suffering victims of gratuitous aggression.

It was not, however, just a desire to endorse such bigoted campaigns as Israel Apartheid Week and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that concerned Mr. Chalmers. He also noticed the general denigration of Israel and Jews. On his Facebook page, he wrote that the OULC was

“becoming increasingly riven by factional splits, and despite its avowed committment to liberation, the attitudes of certain members of the club towards certain disadvantaged groups was becoming posionous. Whether it be members of the Executive throwing around the term ‘Zio’ (a term for Jews usually confined to websites run by the Ku Klux Klan) with casual abandon, senior members of the club expressing their ‘solidarity’ with Hamas and explitictly defending their tactics of indiscriminately murdering civilians, or a former Co-Chair claiming that ‘most accusations of antisemitism are just the Zionists crying wolf’, a large proportion of both OULC and the student left in Oxford more generally have some kind of problem with Jews.

“The decision of the club to endorse a movement with a history of targetting and harassing Jewish students and inviting antisemitic speakers to campuses, despite the concerns of Jewish students, illustrates how uneven and insincere much of the active membership is when it comes to liberation…”

Another student, Ella Taylor, who is Women’s Officer-elect, and happens to be Jewish, confirmed the account. Ms. Taylor said that she was “increasingly becoming aware of some of the awful outbursts about Jews which have been made over the past 12 months. I am not used to eyes being rolled when I start a sentence with ‘as a Jew.'” If Taylor has any attention of staying around Labour party politics she might have to get used to it.

Of course the Labour party has responded in the usual way — split between expressions of concern and those of outright denial. But the real question is: when did this type of behaviour break out into the open and become acceptable? The answer is obvious to me. From the accounts of those in the OULC and elsewhere, it is clear that anti-Semitism surfaced in the Labour party at exactly the moment the party started to be led by a man who, throughout his political life, had demonstrated extreme comfort with anti-Semites.

There is no reason for a young firebrand to fear the repercussions of anti-Semitic rhetoric if he or she has ever noted Jeremy Corbyn’s past support for the Hezbollah-trained extremist Dyab Abou Jahjah. There is no need for some young OULC party member to wonder whether prefacing things with “Zio” as an insult ought to be avoided when the Parliamentary Labour party is headed by a man who has palled around with Holocaust deniers such as Paul Eisen for many a long year. And there is every reason for OULC members to roll their eyes as ardently as the next person at the mention of the word “Jew” when those rolling their eyes next to the Labour party’s leader for many years were people such as the anti-Semitic hate-cleric, Raed Salah.

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) has shown support for the Hezbollah-trained extremist Dyab Abou Jahjah (right).

So yes, the rot did start from the top. And the exquisite expressions of concern from some Labour members over the reports from the OULC will only ring true once they realize that they have a problem with that top. Then and only then can they start to sort their racist problem out.

Douglas Murray, a leading British news analyst and commentator, is based in London.

Britain’s National Students Union in Crisis by Robbie Travers

  • Britain’s National Union of Students (NUS) is in crisis. Three major university student associations — Newcastle, Lincoln and Hull — have disaffiliated themselves from the organization.

  • Bouattia’s role is meant to entail representing the best interests of students in the UK. How does endorsing and legitimizing terrorist attacks in Israel the best way to improve conditions for students in the UK? Is Bouattia trying to radicalise students in the UK?
  • When students need representation, the voice often heard is that of the NUS. Is it any wonder that when this voice has a history of endorsing terrorism, including sharing platforms with convicted terrorists, that students may want a different voice?

The United Kingdom’s National Union of Students (NUS) is in crisis. Three major university student associations — Newcastle, Lincoln and Hull — have disaffiliated themselves from the organization, and more are set to follow. NUS is struggling even to retain its previous strongholds, such as Exeter’s Student Association.

The Exeter University campaign to leave the NUS managed to increase the number of votes to defect from roughly 200 to 2546. This stampede occurred despite the massive protests by the “stay” campaign, including text messages to thousands of students and visits to the school by more than 10 senior NUS officials, including two Vice Presidents-elect and the President-elect.

Why are students from so many British universities fighting to leave the NUS? Well, take for example statements by its new president-elect, Malia Bouattia.

Bouattia actively promotes violence against Israel. She has argued that,

“To consider that Palestine will be free only by means of fundraising, non-violent protest and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is problematic… Boycott can be misunderstood as the alternative to resistance by the Palestinian people.”

Presumably, then, Bouattia means that violent “resistance” against Israel is something she supports — such as the theocratic group, Hamas, whose policies include preaching genocide against the Jews, or ISIS, who crucify children and also believe in murdering Jews.

Malia Bouattia, the president-elect of the UK National Union of Students, actively promotes terrorist violence against Israelis. (Image source: NUS press office)

Supporting terrorism against the only free state in the Middle East, according to Freedom House, is, and should be, deeply concerning. It is to the students’ credit that they seek to distance themselves from Bouattia’s views.

Bouattia’s role is meant to entail representing the best interests of students in the UK. How does endorsing and legitimizing terrorist attacks in Israel the best way to improve conditions for students in the UK? Is Bouattia trying to radicalise students in the UK? The more Bouattia legitimizes violence, the more students might decide that violent “resistance” is acceptable.

Of course, statements such as Bouattia’s also make Jewish students across the UK feel even more at risk, especially in the wake of rising anti-Semitism throughout the UK.

Bouattia’s remarks at a Middle East Monitor (MEMO) event included arguing that:

“David Cameron and [Israeli PM] Netanyahu seem to be in competition over who can deliver the most over-the-top and outlandish sermons on the apparent existential threat their nation seems to be facing from these invisible ‘terrorists.”

Invisible? Does Bouattia mean that Israel only imagines it is under threat from nations such as Iran, which is on the fast track to acquiring nuclear weapons and which repeats, “Death to Israel”? Or from Hamas, which threatens genocide not only to Israelis but to all Jews? Or from Hezbollah, a puppet of Iran, which has 100,000 missiles pointed at northern border of Israel, a country the size of New Jersey? Or from organizations that openly wish to destroy Israel?

What about the terrorists who murdered Israel’s athletes at the Munich Olympics, in 1972, or who murdered an elderly wheelchair-ridden Jew by throwing him overboard from a ship in 1985? What about the terrorists who spent years blowing up cafes, buses, discotheques — and now the better part of a year in knifing Israeli Jews and car-ramming attacks? All, of course, are totally invisible.

Bouattia also seems to have missed the nine attacks on Israeli military personnel and civilians in January 2016, and the 18 attacks in February 2016. A quick Google search of “list of Palestinian terror attacks” reveals 1,210,000 entries — that is a lot of invisibility. It seems bizarre, therefore, that Bouattia would claim such violent terrorism does not exist.

It also seems bizarre that she implies that there is no threat to the UK from terrorism. A quick Google search of “Terrorism incidents in the United Kingdom” lists 1,130,000 entries — so evidently there is nothing to worry about. These include London’s 7/7/2005 transport system attacks, which included among its victims students such as Atique Sharifi. It also seems odd to state that there is no threat to the UK from terrorism just as London is “preparing for up to 10 simultaneous terror attacks” in the wake of the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015. Subsequent arrests in Paris and Brussels revealed that attacks on central London landmarks such as the London Eye were also planned.

Bouattia, it seems, has either concluded that either the organizations preaching anti-Jewish violence and trying to destroy Israel do not exist — along with those targeting London — or it would appear that she is she is simply not interested in facts.

Bouattia also argued that “Muslims in the UK find themselves in a situation where their democratic freedoms have been comprehensively stripped.” Really? Didn’t London just elect a Muslim mayor, and isn’t the Business Secretary a Muslim, and haven’t there been Muslims in the cabinet and the House of Lords?

Bouattia spoke at an event for the Middle East Monitor, MEMO, an organization which has claimed that Israelis are “pathological liars from Eastern Europe, who lie as much as they breathe oxygen.” Wouldn’t one think that appearing on the event platform of an organization that promotes negative national stereotypes is the exact opposite of what an “anti-racist” should be doing? Bouattia claims she has “always been a strong campaigner against racism and fascism in all its forms.”

MEMO’s senior editor, Ibrahim Hewitt, also a Holocaust-denier — he has referred to the “so-called Holocaust” — claims that homosexuals would suffer “severe punishments” in an Islamic state for their “great sin.” How should Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) students feel about their newly elected president sharing a platform with an organization whose editor calls for “severe punishments” against homosexuals? The NUS actually campaigns against homophobia and homophobic attitudes, with slogans such as “Zero tolerance to LGBT bullying.” How does appearing at events organized by those who would like to see homosexuals “suffer” help to fight homophobia?

On a final note, it is important to ask, what is the purpose of the NUS? According to the organization’s official website, it is to “make a real difference to the lives of students and its member students’ unions.” Its successes include electing new Black student officers who “will help to make sure that issues such as racism, anonymous marking and a ‘no platform policy against fascists and racists’ remain high in the agenda of their students’ unions.”

When students need representation, the voice often heard is that of the NUS, and that is often channelled through its president, Malia Bouattia. Is it any wonder that when this voice has a history of endorsing terrorism, including sharing platforms with convicted terrorists, that students may want a different voice?

Robbie Travers, a political commentator and consultant, is Executive Director of Agora, former media manager at the Human Security Centre, and a law student at the University of Edinburgh.

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