Shaima Dallali, the future president of the National Union of Students (NUS), has expressed her support for an investigation into claims of antisemitism within the organisation she is due to lead. However, the controversy surrounding the allegations has left Dallali feeling unsafe after being targeted by violent threats and online abuse. Speaking to The Guardian, she denied being antisemitic and said the investigation was a crucial step towards repairing relations between the NUS and Jewish students. Dallali’s priorities as NUS leader include the mental health crisis among students, democratising and decolonising the education system, and reconnecting the national body with student unions nationwide. The investigation was prompted by complaints from Jewish student organisations and letters signed by 21 former NUS presidents. Questions were raised about Dallali’s social media posts, including a 10-year-old tweet that contained controversial content referencing a 7th century assault on Jews. Dallali has apologised, citing her change in language when discussing the Israel-Palestine conflict. She has also suffered both Islamophobic and racist abuse, including threats. A letter in Dallali’s support calls for investigations into Islamophobia, racism and antisemitism.
Dallali received negative feedback due to comments she made regarding an anti-gay Islamic figure, which she claims were misinterpreted. Additionally, she faced criticism for participating in a demonstration at King’s College London during a lecture by an Israeli politician.
Nonetheless, Dallali asserted that she did not single out or intimidate anyone during the protest. Instead, she views it as a form of expressing her dissatisfaction with KCL for permitting the speaker to deliver their remarks. According to her, the right to protest and free speech is a basic human right that she, like everyone else, has the authority to exercise.