National Union of Students (NUS) president Shaima Dallali has been suspended pending an investigation into her alleged anti-Semitic comment.
She was elected to head the organisation in March this year for a two-year term but faced a probe after Jewish students took exception to her controversial old social media post on the Gaza conflict.
“‘Khaybar Khaybar O Jews… Muhammad’s army will return Gaza,” Dallali had tweeted in 2012.
As the post – an anti-Jewish battle cry – was dug out following her election, she apologised and sought to move on saying she was a changed person now.
An investigation was launched in April into “very serious” allegations against the 27-year-old Dallali and her suspension is believed to be the first such action in the history of the century-year-old student union.
She welcomed the probe, which, she said, would help develop a good relationship with Jewish students.
“The investigation is the right thing to do”, she told the Guardian.
“I know quite a few Jewish students feel alienated,” she said, adding, “this is the first step to start bridging the gap and reaching out to Jewish students and ensuring that they feel like they have a place in NUS, so I do welcome it.”
However, the NUS refused to comment on the development as “we are in the middle of an investigation”.
Its spokesperson, however, said the organisation was ready to take action in line with the outcome of the investigation.
Dallali was also previously accused of raising funds for an anti-Semitic group and protesting a guest lecture by a former Israeli politician at King’s College London.
The government in May severed its ties with the NUS with then education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi expressing concern over allegations of anti-Semitism surrounding the student union.
He had said at the time that Jewish students should be taken along and “we need to be sure the student bodies that we engage with are speaking fairly for all students.”