A British university has suspended a Palestinian graduate student from teaching
amid a smear campaign by supporters of Israel.
Shahd Abusalama, a longtime activist and contributor to The Electronic Intifada,
is a PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University.
Abusalama has written about her experiences in the Gaza Strip, where she was
born and grew up under Israeli occupation, siege and military assaults.
She has also written about the terror of being separated from her family in Gaza
while they were under Israeli bombardment in 2014.
The campaign against her resembles the tactics used last year to target David
Miller, a professor at Bristol University.
Miller was fired from his job even though he was cleared of all accusations of
anti-Jewish bigotry by two independent investigations commissioned by Bristol
Abusalama was recently hired as an associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam
University in the north of England.
Zionist racist publications/trolls have renewed online #bullying to
discredit my academic reputation, protesting my recent appointment as an
Associate Lecturer at SHU. Meanwhile, I'm getting creepy emails about people
trying to hack my twitter. Don't let them silence
- ShahdAbusalama (@ShahdAbusalama) January 19, 2022
She was preparing to teach her first class on 21 January when an administrator
informed her the evening before that her class was canceled and her students
would be notified.
The official said that a complaint had sparked an investigation and that due to
the university's rules she would not be allowed to teach until the investigation
Abusalama has endured repeated attacks by anti-Palestinian groups and
publications in the past.
She and her family are refugees - Palestinians ethnically cleansed from their
home in what is now Israel by Zionist militias in 1948. Like all other
Palestinian refugees, they are barred by Israel from returning to their original
homes because they are not Jewish.
She has been a high-profile Palestinian rights campaigner since arriving in the
UK as a student.
Abusalama has been an organizer against adoption of the IHRA definition of
anti-Semitism, which falsely conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish
bigotry, and in 2019, around the boycott of Eurovision.
The controversial IHRA definition is regularly used by Israel lobby groups to
smear and censor supporters of Palestinian rights.
Abusalama said that her activism in both of those campaigns has been a focus of
attacks by Israel lobby groups and publications.
She told The Electronic Intifada that the latest smears began in December, when
Jewish News and the Israel lobby group Campaign Against Antisemitism accused her
of fostering hostility towards Jews.
Previously, Joe Glasman, the head of "political investigations" for the Campaign
Against Antisemitism, took credit on behalf of the group for the December 2019
electoral defeat of the Labour Party, then headed by Jeremy Corbyn. Following
the loss, Corbyn announced he would resign as party leader.
"The beast is slain," Joe Glasman gloated in a video he later tried to remove
from the Internet. Corbyn had been "slaughtered," the video said.
A vocal supporter of Palestinian rights, Corbyn - along with his grassroots
backers - was the target of a years-long smear campaign falsely accusing him of
Glasman claimed that he and his associates beat Corbyn with a coordinated
campaign using methods including "our spies and intel."
The video Glasman attempted to erase can be seen here.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism's chief executive, Gideon Falter, is vice
chair of the Jewish National Fund UK, which raises money for Israeli
colonization projects on Palestinian land.
Accounts for the JNF UK show that it provides financial backing to recruitment
drives for Israel's army, and to Ein Prat, a group which arranges training
courses for North Americans who join that military.
These bad-faith accusations by supporters of Israeli settler-colonialism are
clear attempts to harass and intimidate activists and academics like Abusalama
Abusalama only found out that the university had potentially investigated her
social media posts by reading the smears from Campaign Against Antisemitism and
the Jewish News.
The university had not communicated with her or given her an opportunity to
refute the defamatory claims, she said.
-- Cont'd at https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/nora-barrows-friedman/uk-israel-lobby-takes-aim-palestinian-university-lecturer