Palestinian academic who defended ‘stop Palestinian Holocaust’ poster is suspended

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Palestinian academic who defended ‘stop Palestinian Holocaust’ poster is suspended

Shahd Abusalama is no longer an associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University and claims she has been 'harassed' and 'defamed' by 'Zionist' publications like Jewish News

Shahd Abusalama's Twitter posts about the Holocaust and Israel
Shahd Abusalama's Twitter posts about the Holocaust and Israel

An academic who defended a poster calling to “stop the Palestinian Holocaust” has been ‘suspended’ as a lecturer.

Shahd Abusalama, from Gaza, is no longer an associate lecturer of Postcolonial Media Culture at Sheffield Hallam University, following a series of social media posts which were investigated by the institution.

The Palestinian-born academic shared tweets defending a first year student activist, who had been accused of antisemitism after making a poster calling to “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust“.

Confirming Abusalama, who claims she is being “defamed and harassed” by Jewish News and other “Zionist publications”, is no longer an associate lecturer, a Sheffield Hallam University spokesperson said:  “Any appointment of a member of staff is subject to our usual HR policy and processes.

“Sheffield Hallam has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism. We are committed to ensuring an inclusive culture for all of our students and staff.”

The Palestinian student, who was a faculty member of the university’s Media Arts and Communication department, cited Jewish scholars who “compared the Shoah to the Palestinian Nakba”, asking her followers if that was “antisemitic”.

“Maybe she thought she’d garner European sympathy for Palestine by evoking “Never Again” slogan.”

Shahd Abusalama’s tweet about a student who used the term ‘stop the Palestinian Holocaust’
Shahd Abusalama’s tweet about a student who used the term ‘stop the Palestinian Holocaust’

She also said the use of the word Holocaust “distracts attention from the Zionist practices of settler-colonialism and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.”

Within the working definition of IHRA, it is deemed to be antisemitic if someone draws “comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” or accuses “the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust”.

On Twitter, last week, she said she was “being defamed and harassed by Zionist publications”, thanking supporters who organised a letter calling for the university to reinstate her.

On Monday evening, during a virtual event in support of her reinstatement, she claimed she was under attack from “Zionist smears”. The host of the event, which Jewish News has heard a recording of, asked for “Zionist” guests on the call to be removed, telling others to report them to the admin.

Abusalama also said Jewish News was “harassing” her after asking her for comment.

The Union of Jewish Students said: “It is important for Universities to confront antisemitism on their campus and Jewish students need them to take the lead and be at the forefront of taking action, and Sheffield Hallam have been a strong example of this.”

Shahd Abusalama has been approached for comment.

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