At the beginning of last week, Shaima Dallali was elected President of the National Union of Students for a two-year term, She had been the President of City University of London Students’ Union. The problem? In short, the NUS has just voted in an antisemitic Islamist extremist as its President.
There has been a fair amount of noise over Shaima Dallali’s appointment. To some degree her extremist positions and antisemitism have been covered in the Telegraph, Times, Mail, (twice), and of course the Jewish press. But none of these tell the whole story.
Below I set out what we know – and disappointingly (or perhaps as a tragic sign of the times), important facts have gone unreported.
I start with the image most people have seen because it can be used to frame everything else that follows. It is a tweet from Shaima Dallali that reference the antisemitic Khaybar chant – a classic Islamic battle cry. It refers to a Muslim massacre of the Jews of the town of that name (Khaybar) in 628 CE – and carries an ominous threat that massacres of Jews will soon occur – led by the army of Mohammed.
There is no doubting that this tweet is antisemitic and pushes an extreme and violent Islamist ideology. After this historical tweet was found by researchers from Labour Against Antisemitism, and just a few days before the election, Dallali published an apology. But apologies about historical mistakes only hold weight if the behaviour afterwards is different from the behaviour before. In Dallali’s case I have absolutely no idea why she apologised. Everything she has done since suggests that her core ‘values’ have not changed at all.
Shaima Dallali and the Muslim Brotherhood
Dallali’s other response was more telling. She swiftly deactivated her Facebook account (took it offline) and deleted thousands of tweets; There was clearly a lot she wanted to hide. But these ‘hide the evidence’ practices rarely hide everything, and some of what turned up was beyond awful. The respected Westminster think-tank ‘Policy Exchange‘, found a historical link to Dallali’s old Twitter profile. This provided a window into what Dallali had tried to hide – and in the profile was part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto. The section in Arabic reads ‘death for the sake of Allah is our most exalted wish’. It is part of a Jihadi ideology.
Following Policy Exchange’s discovery, the Mail report on the story was disappointing. For example, they mentioned that in the profile – as if to soften its meaning- the motto was placed next to the word ‘Tunisia’ (the nationality of her father’s family). But they neglected to point out that it was also placed directly before a reference to her praying in Al-Aqsa (Jerusalem). That is far more relevant to the phrase, as the meaning is clear – she will pray in a ‘free’ and ‘liberated’ Jerusalem. The Mail also gave voice to nonsensical anonymous ‘experts’ who seemed to suggest that the phrase is some type of modern progressive ‘justice’ nonsense. That is not what this is at all. It is a motto from an extremist group and symbolic of a death cult. What is the message if even the Mail cannot report properly on an extremist taking the reins of the NUS?
But there is still more evidence to suggest Shaima Dallali had a Muslim Brotherhood mindset. I found that she personally retweeted the official Muslim Brotherhood Twitter account:
The statement from the Brotherhood calls on ‘revolutionary forces’ to unify. It is about the different revolutionary Islamic factions uniting to turn Egypt into an orthodox Islamic Republic. This is what Dallali chose to retweet.
And there is still more. Because she deleted her account the tag in this image has been removed, so we cannot prove this was actually quoting her account. But when you look at the Khaybar comment, the Brotherhood motto and the MB retweet – which we know was all her – it becomes perfectly logical to suggest that this next post is an accurate reflection of what she posted on FB. It is a quote from Al-Qassam spokesperson Abu Obaida’s speech, at the “Victory Conference” at the end of the 2014 conflict. Al-Qassam is the ‘military wing’ of Hamas. For those that do not know, Hamas – a proscribed radical Islamic terror group – is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood:
The quote is from an organisation that seeks to violently destroy Israel and massacre the Jews. Only those who align with Hamas and support its goals, would proudly share these ‘victory’ words of Abu Obaida. In a separate tweet, Dallali said that ‘the Palestinians have the right to resist in all possible ways, even with weapons‘. Just to reinforce the point, the Twitter Account of Harry’s Place found and shared an image of a tweet from Dallali, in which she said prayers for the Head of the Hamas military wing Ahmed al-Jaabari in 2012 – on the day he was killed by Israel.
Perhaps it is worth reiterating: This article is about the incoming President of the UK’s Student Union!
Shaima Dallali and antisemitism
Given all of the above, it is of no surprise that Shaima Dallali obsesses about Israel and Zionism. Dallali was so driven she even created a Palestinian Society on her campus and successfully pushed through a BDS motion. As much of the evidence found by LAAS has been published in the Jewish press I am not going to lengthen this article with repetition. Rather I will highlight two key points. There is nothing ambiguous about Dallali’s position. She has no space in the world map for a Jewish State – not even one so tiny that it can barely be seen amidst all of the Muslim majority states:
And it is also important to note that there were several tweets attacking Jewish bodies, such as the Union of Jewish Students (not great considering she is now NUS President) and the Board of Deputies:
The list of associations with extremist groups and her apparent support for radical positions is endless. Shaima Dallali openly helped to raise funding for CAGE – an extremist group that has “supported convicted terrorists, and have also published or invited al-Qaeda ideologues to speak at its events.” Her LinkedIn profile lists her as working as a Project Manager for ‘
When a Jordanian cleric was critical of Hamas – she called him a ‘dirty Zionist’.
In 2018, Dallali described the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi as the “moral compass for the Muslim community”. Qaradawi has publicly defended domestic violence against women, the death penalty for gay men, female genital mutilation and freely spreads antisemitism. She tweeted that Corbyn should never have been suspended, and during the lockdown tweeted that the government should be toppled and Corbyn should be installed as PM ‘by force of fire’.
On YouTube, the researcher ‘Habibi’ found that on her account Dallali had uploaded videos in which protesters called for an intifada and a “hit” on Tel Aviv.” Dallali has since taken the videos offline.
Shaima Dallali and her pet hate
As Shaima Dallali ran her local Palestinian Society at City University, we also have footage of her behaviour at anti-Israel protests. In one she can be seen screaming ‘shame’ as Jewish students exit an event about which she was protesting.
As an interesting side-note, and as a further indication of the company she keeps, the man behind her in the image is Ayo Olatunji. I saw him several times on campus and filmed him acting violently trying to stop Hen Mazzig speaking at UCL. He was violent, antisemitic, and has even promoted Rothschild Conspiracy as the ‘only viable explanation‘:
For a while he represented students on the NUS National Executive Committee, where he was Vice President of Student Affairs and was forced to resign over his antisemitism. But focusing on Olatunji is somewhat of a deflection here. This should all be about the extremist new NUS President, Shaima Dallali.
The disgusting Islamophobic misogynists
What has also been disgusting is the response of the Islamist groups and Dallali herself to the reports of her extremism. She has accused her critics of ‘Islamophobia’! Her supporters have suggested that people attack her because she is a ‘Muslim woman’. Dallali even retweeted this:
This is a vile tweet. These accusations mean that if you attack someone who calls for the slaughter of Jews – you are a racist, misogynistic, Islamophobe. This is a complete betrayal of anti-racism. It insults women who suffer from real misogyny, and it is a shameful slur to all the decent Muslims everywhere who suffer from genuine bigotry.
This tweet highlights the problem with extremists ‘holding the pen’ in the Muslim community, as is the case in the UK. Muslims in the UK too often find themselves represented by politicised, Islamist groups with an extremist agenda. It allows antisemitic extremists to say, ‘everyone who criticises me is a racist’, and as people become scared to be smeared – it silences their critics. This leaves moderate Muslims without proper representation and voiceless – just as they are throughout the Islamic world.
Scary stuff and a truly disgusting and offensive accusation from the New NUS President. And an accusation which in many ways negates her own apology. Why did she apologise if she did nothing wrong? And if she did something wrong, then why are people who criticise her ‘Islamophobes’?
Apples do not seem to fall far from their trees. Dallali’s father is Jamel Dallali. He is currently part of the management team at Al-Jazeera – the state-owned Qatari news channel. This handy linkage has apparently given her some exposure on the A-J platform along the way. As his daughter was receiving news of her election victory, her father was posting ‘from the river to the sea’ messages on Facebook:
The heroic antisemitism campaigners LAAS issued a statement for publication in this article:
“The National Union of Students should be a body that represents all students. This report demonstrates that Shaima Dallali holds views which not only appear to be antisemitic in their nature, but cross the line into violent and threatening behaviour. She is not appropriate to represent any student, least of all those minority Jewish students who are already experiencing record levels of anti-Jewish racism within Higher Education and our universities. We cannot tackle one form of racism while endorsing and promoting another. Antisemitism can no longer be treated as a second-tier form of racism. It is not just an issue for Jewish students. The NUS cannot pretend it is an anti-racism organisation, representing all students, while Shaima Dallali remains President and we would urge that she be removed immediately pending a full investigation.” – Fiona Sharpe, LAAS Spokesperson
Where next for Jews
This is the real question we need to ask. What next for British Jews – and what of the Jewish students? There is little doubt that for the next two years at least, the Union of Jewish Students are in for a rough ride. Dallali has spent several years directly opposing them. We also saw her scream ‘shame’ at some, just because they went to listen to Dan Meridor speak. But there is a wider and far more dangerous trend on display here. Time was, when just a couple of the examples above, especially the Muslim Brotherhood examples, would have excluded Dallali from holding any official post in the UK. This is no longer true. Islamism is becoming normalised.
Groups such as MEND, CAGE and the MCB spend their time delegitimising those who work to counter extremism. The accusation of Islamophobia being thrown at anyone criticising Dallali is a perfect example of the strategies they use. And it seems as if we have reached the point where the media can no longer address the problem properly. If nobody wants to be seen to be attacking Shaima Dallali – if we cannot even reject those who have supported the Muslim Brotherhood- then we all may as well pack our bags Dallali isn’t a half- way house. She is the real deal. And if this person is seen as fit to lead the National Union of Students – and the only people making a noise are a handful of Jews (and a few allies) – then we can all mark her appointment as another milestone on the way to disaster.
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