Newsreader: “The National Union of Students has sacked its president after an investigation into allegations of antisemitism. An independent panel found that Shaima Dallali breached NUS policy but refused to release any details of their findings. Miss Dallali will be able to appeal against the decision. Here’s our education reporter Vanessa Clarke.”
Clarke: “In March 27-year-old Shaima Dallali was elected to become the new president of the National Union of Students but shortly after she was criticised for comments she wrote on social media when she was 18. She apologised, saying she was now a different person, and an investigation into allegations of antisemitism was launched. Today her contract was terminated. The students’ union said an independent panel found that significant breaches of their policies had taken place. The Union of Jewish Students said Miss Dallali’s election was a symptom of a wider problem. The findings of a broader investigation into claims of antisemitism within the National Union of Students are expected in the next few weeks.”
The BBC News website published a report by Hazel Shearing headlined “NUS president dismissed over anti-Semitism claims” in which the radio report’s claim that the independent panel had “refused to release” its findings (which was also heard in another BBC report) was portrayed as follows:
“The investigation into Ms Dallali is confidential and no details have been published.”
Shearing’s report – which, interestingly, is not tagged ‘NUS’ – states:
“Ms Dallali tweeted she had found out about her dismissal through Twitter, which was “unacceptable”, and removed a reference to her role as president in her Twitter bio.”
The Jewish Chronicle noted that:
“In a tweet after her firing, Dallali said: “On the first day of Islamophobia Awareness Month, I find out I have been dismissed through Twitter. That is unacceptable.”
A source rebutted the claim, telling the JC: “Those directly involved with the investigation were of course formally informed of the decision before anything was made public.””
The BBC’s article goes on to also suggest that Dallali’s problematic comments emerged only after her election:
“She was elected during the NUS’s National Conference in March, and concerns were soon raised by Jewish students about her views.
In 2012, Ms Dallali posted a tweet that included an Arabic chant that referenced what has been described as a massacre of Jews in the year AD 628, which she has since apologised for.”
“It then emerged that Dallali had posted provocative comments such as “Khaybar Khaybar O Jews… Muhammad’s army will return Gaza” – a reference to a 628 massacre. She has apologised for the 2012 tweet, saying she was now “a different person”.”
Under the sub-heading ‘Racist attacks’, readers are told that:
“The Federation of Student Islamic Societies, though, has defended Ms Dallali.
She had faced “multiple Islamophobic and racist attacks” since her election, it said in September, calling for an investigation into “institutional Islamophobia” within the NUS.”
The BBC made no effort to provide readers with information about the organisation it chose to quote, including the relevant fact that FOSIS was established by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. Without such information, most readers would clearly have difficulty putting its claims into their appropriate context.
Clearly BBC radio and online audiences were not provided with anywhere near the full picture on this story.