The UK National Union of Students has elected a controversial president who has ranted against “Zionists”, endorsed violent resistance and refused to condemn ISIS.
Malia Bouattia won the support of delegates from British universities and colleges, despite being swamped by accusations of anti-Semitism on the eve of the election.
— NUS UK (@nusuk) April 20, 2016
Bouattia shot to notoriety two years ago after torpedoing an NUS motion to condemn ISIS for its atrocities in the Middle East.
After defeating the motion she said that criticizing the terror group had become cover for “war and blatant Islamophobia” and so should not be NUS policy.
At the same meeting, the organization’s National Executive Committee decided that it saw no problem condemning UKIP and boycotting Israel.
— UK Israel Lobby (@UK_Israel_Lobby) April 20, 2016
In the run-up to Wednesday’s election, Bouattia was condemned by Jewish student groups across the country, who wrote an open letter accusing her of seeing them as “a problem”.
They seized on remarks she made while a student at Birmingham University, which she criticized as a “Zionist outpost”.
She has also endorsed attacks on Israelis by Palestinian activists as a legitimate part of their “resistance”.
She made comments appearing to support violent struggle at a 2014 speech in which she also railed “Zionist-led media outlets”.
Opponents leaked the footage to student site The Tab on the eve of her election; she still triumphed in the contest with the support of 372 delegate, 44 more than her nearest competitor.
Many reacted to her election with horror, describing it as a “nail in the coffin” for the organization and “a victory for racists, anti-Semites, hypocrites and identity supremacists”.