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No, I’m Not Colluding With The Israeli Government To Overthrow Malia Bouattia

Over the last 24 hours, I have been accused of colluding with a foreign government, endangering the life of fellow officers and being a threat to national security.

I have received threats of violence against myself and my friends.

Why? Because I met with an undercover journalist who claimed to be a student activist.

I am what you would call a ‘moderate officer’ in NUS. I believe in constructive engagement on issues, working with different stakeholders (even when you disagree), on working through Students’ Unions and on centrist politics of compromise and improvement. I am a dying breed.

“It’s not a shock or an exposé that I politically organise against what I think to be an ineffectual and damaging presidency for Students’ Unions and students.”

I worked with and supported Megan Dunn to be re-elected President of NUS. She lost that fair and democratic election, to another officer, Malia Bouattia. It won’t be a surprise to anybody that knows me, or has heard me speak publicly that myself and Malia don’t see eye to eye on NUS or the future of the student movement. It’s clear to everyone that we have backed different candidates and we have voted for different motions. Myself and the far left elected leadership of NUS politically disagree on lots of things. It’s therefore not a shock or an exposé that I politically organise against what I think to be an ineffectual and damaging Presidency for Students’ Unions and students.

As you will all know (and is on record) I have written blogs and signed letters pleading with Malia to answer questions from Jewish Officers and Jewish students who believe their views should matter in this movement as much as anyone else’s.

I did this because I believe people deserve legitimate answers to legitimate questions about the views of NUS’ elected leadership and that Jewish students have the right to determine and defend themselves from oppression.

During my time as an NUS VP I’ve been asked to meet with thousands of student groups and representatives and organisations. Hopefully you all know me as a friendly guy who reaches out and talks to many people. So, when someone claiming to be a student involved in our movement and left-wing politics emailed me asking to chat about getting involved in student groups for Jewish students, of course I met them.

I can’t believe I’m actually writing this, but did I know they were lying and a secret journalist trying to frame me as some part of an Israeli government conspiracy? Of course not. And what a waste of 20 minutes of my life that caused far more trouble and stress and threats of violence than it’s worth.

It turns out that people who used to organise with Malia and vote with her and support her whilst on NEC attacking me and Students ’ Unions are now journalists in the media.

I have never met – to my knowledge – someone from the Israeli government. I organise legitimately and politically within NUS’ structures. I meet different student groups across the political spectrum. I try and learn about conflicts. The ‘exposé’ documentary shows me saying that I do politics and disagree with the far left. None of these things are surprises.

“This is not all we are, and we can be much better.”

For those outside of the student movement, this is nothing short of a smear campaign to delegitimise ‘the opposition’ in the run up to national conference in April. It is unfortunate that we have reached this point in our politics – not a dissimilar place to where mainstream politics is, it should be noted – of discord and disunity. I’ve never hidden my politics, nor – unlike other parts of the movement – tried to hide that I do legitimate political organising. This is not all we are, and we can be much better. Disagreement and debate are the lifeblood of politics and our movement – botch-job conspiracy theories harm everyone, not just unwitting subjects such as myself.

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