“Israel” silencing a Palestinian lecturer with "anti-Semitic" claims
A Palestinian lecturer in the UK got suspended from her teaching duties. Why? Simply for standing with Palestine.
Shahd Abusalama was just appointed as an associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) in the UK when, out of nowhere, she received a letter saying she was suspended from her teaching duties.
Why? Simply for supporting Palestine.
Here's what happened:
Shahd, who is a Palestinian refugee in the UK, activist, and media scholar, told Al Mayadeen English, that these attacks were motivated by an earlier incident that happened at the University.
A first-year student was accused of being anti-Semitic for the mere reason of holding a placard that said, "End the Palestinian Holocaust."
"I wasn't part of the event", Shahd stated, "and I said in a Twitter thread that I wouldn't myself use this language because I understand the Instrumentalization and weaponization of terms like that." Despite her clarification, people rushed to attack her based on the Twitter post.
Shahd felt that it would be "ridiculous that something like that would amount to accusing a Palestine student of anti-Semitism when she was using this term while thinking of the longstanding genocide that has been committed against the Palestinian people by Israel."
#Thread| An incident was brought to my attention of a first-year student at @sheffielduni who made a poster "Stop the Palestinian Holocaust" and was accused (by another Jewish student) of antisemitism for using the word #Holocaust. I have some reflections that I'd like to share.— ShahdAbusalama (@ShahdAbusalama) December 4, 2021
Clueless about being investigated
The Jewish News published an article on Christmas Eve accusing Shahd of being anti-Semitic, stating that the university is going to investigate her.
In that same article, they protested against her being an associate lecturer at the university.
Of course, for a Palestinian, things do not end here. This article was followed by another by Campaign Against Antisemitism on New Year's Eve which also attacked her for the same reason.
And just recently, the Jewish Chronicle sent her a press request informing her that they are going to report on several things she has written, mostly 10 years ago, back when she was still in the Gaza Strip.
"They are pulling out very old tweets," Shahd explains, "where I was writing from under fire as a person who has survived and witnessed through Israeli terror consistently."
"I was the last to know there were conversations discussing me and accusing me of anti-Semitism, it was all going behind my back," Shahd told Al Mayadeen English. "It should be a standard practice that the person in question should be informed first."
"This shows how vulnerable Palestinian students are"
Shahd is "worried" and "concerned" that her university is more worried about the damage caused by "right-winged and Zionist publications that are dedicated for twisting truths" than the attack on her, considering that the university is "manipulating the truth for Israel's sake while not adhering to their duties of care for their own members," such as herself.
"This is very alarming; it shows how vulnerable Palestinian students are," Shahd said.
These actions show how "even when we [the Palestinians] think that we broke free of Israel's oppression, we are still chased by the discourse of violence that has infiltrated most of the Western institutions."
"And we see this violence, and we experience it, and this is only one manifestation of how Israeli violence is chasing Palestinians wherever they go."
Shahd said the Nakba is still going till today, whether in Gaza, occupied Al-Quds, Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, and Al-Naqab.
She sees that this is a "historical pattern where the Zionist colonial narrative is privileged over the narrative of the oppressed," and that this narrative has been consistently defending the "occupiers’ self-defense while criminalizing the occupied."
Shahd doesn't perceive these attacks as personal attacks but attacks "against the liberation causes that I represent, namely, Palestine, and for Zionists to suggest that I cannot resist for my own people's rights to freedom, justice, equality, and return, it's just outrageous."
Shahd stressed that she will not be silenced and she is "going to be driven ever louder after these hate campaigns against her."
This is not the first attack
Back in 2019, Shahd was attacked when she launched a campaign calling on boycotting "Eurovision Song Contest" because of "Israel" being the host. "They were angry," Shahd said, because "the campaign went viral."
Back then, the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights also called for boycotting the event to prevent "Israel" from using the contest to “art wash its crimes against Palestinians.”
Shahd resists the Israeli occupation
Shahd was born and raised in Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza and she has been resisting ever since.
Her mother, Halima, gave birth to her with guns pointed at her belly and Shahd's grandmother carrying a lantern in one hand and a white piece of cloth in the other, fearing the deadly consequences of breaking the then-imposed military curfew on the camp.
Shahd's father is a former political prisoner who endured 15 years of suffering and resistance in Israeli jails.
She has been resisting in writing, painting, Dabke dancing, trying to let the whole world hear and see what it's like to be a Palestinian refugee.
Shahd has received a lot of letters of support, and many activists stand in solidarity with her. Andrew Feinstein, the son of a holocaust survivor and an ex-member of parliament under Nelson Mandela's leadership, sent a letter of support to Shahd's department in Sheffield Hallam University.
Feinstein said that this claim "is baseless and is more a reflection of the publication's intolerance of any criticism of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinian people."
Shahd seems more determined than ever as she ends her story, saying, "until we achieve our freedom, we will be loud as ever."