Israeli lobby using smear campaigns to colonize British academia
Pro-Israeli groups and lawmakers have found a new smear campaign target: President of the National Union of Students (NUS), Shaima Dallali.
Pro-"Israel" organizations and parliamentarians are launching a slander campaign against Shaima Dallali, the newly elected President of the National Union of Students (NUS).
As part of this effort, hardline Zionist organizations, including the Union of Jewish Students (UJS), released an open letter expressing worry over a social media post written by Dallali over 10 years ago. It has been interpreted as a desperate attempt to remove her from office.
The post alluded to a fight between Muslims and Jewish residents of Khaybar, an oasis in the Arabian Peninsula, in the early seventh century. It implied that the "Army of Muhammad" will return to Gaza.
Dallali is only the most recent victim of the Israeli decades-long campaign to harass, discredit, and intimidate pro-Palestinian academics and officials. Similar techniques were used to depose Malia Bouattia, the first black Muslim female NUS President and a long-time supporter of Palestinian rights.
British rapper and activist Lowkey was also smeared by a pro-Israeli group in March, ahead of his visit to a renowned British college.
The British artist had given a talk via Zoom arranged by the Palestine Solidarity Society at Cambridge University on March 15.
In January, Shahd Abusalama, a newly appointed associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) in the UK, received a letter saying she was suspended from her teaching duties due to her support for Palestine.
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."
Shahd's father is a former political prisoner who endured 15 years of suffering and resistance in Israeli jails.
Same old "anti-semitism"
The UJS represents 64 Jewish societies on British university campuses. Al-Jazeera's 'Investigative Unit' exposed the union for not only accepting money from the Israeli Embassy in London, but also seeking to influence the NUS presidency election to remove Bouattia for her support for Palestinians and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The union is presently leading the campaign to expel Dallali. It promotes itself as a "proud" Zionist organization, and its constitution requires UJS members to "make an enduring commitment" to "Israel". The UJS condemned Bouattia when she branded the University of Birmingham as "something of a Zionist outpost" and referred to "mainstream Zionist-led media outlets" on another occasion. Such utterances, according to the UJS, were "anti-Semitic." Of course, not every Jew is a Zionist, and not every Zionist is a Jew.
Bouattia clarified that she just meant that Birmingham's Student Union has the largest and most vociferous pro-"Israel" Jewish organization and that mainstream media has a significant pro-"Israel" slant.
Al Jazeera's investigative film 'The Lobby' revealed how AIPAC, the largest pro-"Israel" lobby group in the US, distributes money to British colleges via the Pinsker Centre, a pro-Israeli university advocacy organization.
David Miller, a former professor of political sociology at the University of Bristol, was sacked as a consequence of pro-"Israel" lobby pressure due to his criticism of the entity. According to him, such harassment by "the local affiliates of the Union of Jewish Students" is "an attack on academic freedom… It's a strategy which the Government of Israel has been developing for some years, in particular, through the Global Forum for Countering Antisemitism [sic] where they want to target the left, and they want to target Muslims."
Attack on academic freedom
Students and professors in the United Kingdom linked with pro-Palestine organizations such as the BDS movement, like their counterparts in Palestine and "Israel", have been subjected to witch hunts in recent years.
Pro-"Israel" lobbyists' accusations of anti-Semitism are attempts to harass and silence activists and academics, particularly those who succeed in their areas or have powerful positions, such as Shaima Dallali.
Read more: How an Israeli lobby infiltrated US education
The NUS told the Middle East Monitor that there can be no place for "anti-semitism within the student movement," adding that "pain and hurt" have been expressed.
"We will take any and all actions that are needed to remedy any wrongdoing and rebuild trust with Jewish students as well as our members, partners, and stakeholders."