Yesterday Campaign Against Antisemitism exposed Malaka Shwaikh, who is running unopposed as Vice President of the University of Exeter’s Students’ Guild. But whilst Shwaikh busily deleted tweets, we received further reports of antisemitic tweets from Exeter students and alumni, with one heartbreaking e-mail pleading with us: “Please don’t let this person get into a position of power”.
Now we can reveal that Shwaikh tweeted in 2015: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!”
Various organisations from Shwaikh’s native Gaza are genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations proscribed by the British government, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Shwaikh is about to become Vice President of the Students’ Guild (she is already a trustee) after running unopposed. In her manifesto she claimed that she has spent her life “aiming to change our society for the better and help to spread justice and fairness everywhere”, but her Twitter account tells a different story.
Yesterday, we revealed that Shwaikh marked Holocaust Memorial Day, by tweeting that “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”. She has claimed that “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s” and she has also written that “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.” According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic.
Between yesterday afternoon and this evening, the tweet was deleted along with others that had been reported to us and which were deleted before we could verify them (if you wish to report tweets to us, please always do it via e-mail rather than using Twitter, otherwise you may give the person you are reporting enough notice to cover their tracks before we can verify the tweets).
We have also found that Shwaikh received the glowing endorsement of Malia Bouattia, the President of the National Union of Students. Bouattia praised Shwaikh’s “commitment for justice” and her “record on international peace and justice”. In return, Shwaikh called Bouattia “amazing”. In a leaked report today, Bouattia was found for the second time by NUS to have made antisemitic comments, but the report recommended that she face no consequences for her actions.
Earlier this week the university tried to brush off an antisemitic incident in which a “Rights for Whites” sign was found in halls of residence and a swastika was found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, with a spokesman downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident as possibly merely “an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke.” This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”
Last night the University of Exeter tweeted us their response which included a commendable statement by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Steve Smith who said: “It is our personal and collective duty to ensure any incidents of abuse, no matter how rare, are stamped out immediately. We shall continue to ensure that everyone in, or associated with, the University feels safe, supported, accepted and welcomed. As Vice-Chancellor of the University I pledge to do everything I can to make sure that the University lives up to this commitment.”
Regrettably his statement will ring hollow whilst Malaka Shwaikh is Vice President and trustee of the Students’ Guild.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is closely monitoring the response to this latest disturbing outbreak of antisemitism. We would be interested to hear from students by e-mail at [email protected]. We will be writing to the university and the Charity Commission about this latest development.