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NUS settles with ex-President and accepts that “pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist beliefs may be protected beliefs”

Shaima Dallali, former NUS President, has settled her employment claim against the NUS, with details remaining confidential. Dallali, dismissed amid antisemitism accusations, argued her termination was discriminatory. The settlement acknowledges that pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist beliefs are protected under the Equality Act (2010). Dallali faced severe abuse during her tenure.
a wooden judge's hammer sitting on top of a table

Shaima Dallali, the former President of the National Union of Students (NUS), has decided to withdraw her employment claim after reaching a settlement with the NUS. The details of the settlement will remain confidential.

Dallali was elected to her position in March 2022 but dismissed in November of the same year amid accusations of antisemitism. She initiated an employment claim in March 2023, which led to the settlement agreement before the case proceeded to Tribunal.

In her claim, Dallali argued that her dismissal was part of a pattern of discriminatory behaviour against her and that the NUS lacked valid reasons or explanations for her termination.

A joint statement issued by both parties acknowledges that pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist beliefs are protected under the Equality Act (2010), citing the precedent set in the Miller vs University of Bristol case. This ruling affirmed that anti-Zionist beliefs qualify as protected philosophical beliefs under the Act.

Before her dismissal, several complaints were lodged against Dallali, alleging that her criticisms of the State of Israel amounted to antisemitic speech. Dallali claimed that the disciplinary process initiated by the NUS disadvantaged her and favoured her accusers unfairly.

Dallali further argued that many of the complaints against her were baseless and discriminatory. Her case before the Employment Tribunal centred on the assertion that her dismissal and the preceding unfair process were motivated by animosity toward her protected anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian beliefs, as well as her support for the Palestinian cause and her identity as a Muslim.

Throughout her tenure, Dallali faced severe abuse, including death threats, sexual violence threats, and xenophobic and Islamophobic attacks, all of which the NUS has condemned unequivocally.

As part of the settlement, Dallali has acknowledged that a social media post she made in 2012 on the Twitter platform (now ‘X’) would be considered antisemitic. Both parties recognize that the tweet, written when Dallali was a teenager before her time as a student, was unintentionally antisemitic. Dallali has apologised for the tweet on multiple occasions.

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