Shahd Abusalama, who is studying for a PhD in cinema at the University, reportedly shared tweets defending a first-year student who had made a poster that said “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust” and who was accused by a Jewish student of antisemitism.
On social media, Ms Abusalama defended the student by citing Jewish individuals who have made the same analogy, and also wrote: “I understand why a first-year university student used #Holocaust when thinking of Israel’s repeated bombardment of Gaza”, adding: “Maybe she thought she’d garner European sympathy for Palestine by evoking ‘Never Again’ slogan.”
She noted of the term “Holocaust” that she herself would not “use such a politicised word often used to justify the racist state of Israel” because it “distracts attention from the Zionist practices of settler-colonialism and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.” However, she proceeded to use other inflammatory terms and claimed that the suggestion that the University’s Palestine Society should undertake antisemitism training in light of the incident was indicative of a “hierarchy of racisms” asking: “Are Islamophobia & Xenophobia insignificant? Prioritising one form of racism over others is itself racist and divisive.”
This was not the first time that Ms Abusalama has courted controversy. She is active in the BDS movement to boycott Israel, the tactics of which an overwhelming majority of British Jews find intimidating, and in the past she reportedly urged people to watch a video on YouTube called “Truth About Zionist Jews Talmud”, which presented numerous antisemitic myths about the Talmud. The video’s description asked “Why the Zionist don’t want us to know what’s in Talmud? [sic],” adding: “Why they want the teaching of the Talmud to be known only to Jews.”
Ms Abusalama wrote on Twitter: “Must watch this video that tells you the truth about #zionist #Jews. They take their legitimacy from #Talmud.” In another post, she reportedly wrote that the “Zionist lobbies control all this for their interest,” adding: “They buy presidents/slaves.”
The video and tweets have since been deleted.
Last week, Ms Abusalama claimed that “Zionist racist publications/trolls have renewed online #bullying to discredit my academic reputation,” and over the weekend, it was reported that she had been suspended by the University from her teaching duties.
She declared: “Family, friends, and followers, I am under renewed attack by Zionist publications protesting my recent appointment as an Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, where I also recently submitted a PhD dissertation on the historical representation of Palestinian refugees in colonial, humanitarian and Palestinian documentary films, from 1917 and 1993. The Zionist defamation campaign by Jewish News, Campaign Against Antisemitism and Jewish Chronicle joins a historical pattern where the Zionist colonial narrative is consistently privileged over the narratives of the oppressed.”
She added: “I’m shocked that my academic community seems more interested in protecting its reputation than my academic freedom & wellbeing.”
If any students are concerned about antisemitism on campus or need assistance, they can call us on 0330 822 0321, or e-mail [email protected].