Sheffield Hallam University is investigating social media posts by a faculty member who defended using the phrase: “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust.”
Cinema academic and author Shahd Abusalama shared a series of tweets defending a first year student, who “made a poster “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust” and was accused (by another Jewish student) of antisemitism”.
The Palestinian student, who is 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”.
“I understand why a first-year university student used #Holocaust when thinking of Israel’s repeated bombardment of Gaza”, she wrote. “Maybe she thought she’d garner European sympathy for Palestine by evoking “Never Again” slogan.”
Saying she wouldn’t “use such a politicized word often used to justify the racist state of Israel”, use of the word Holocaust “distracts attention from the Zionist practices of settler-colonialism and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.”
Sheffield Hallam University told Jewish News it “formally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in February 2021.
“The University’s student conduct team is looking into these social media posts.”
Within the working definition, 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”.
The Union of Jewish Students said: “Statements like this are insensitive and ignorant and only do more damage than good when engaging in discussions over the conflict.
“It is important to understand the implications of using the word ‘Holocaust’ in this context, and we thank the University for investigating these social media posts and already having taken the first step in supporting Jewish students” by adopting IHRA.
Shahd Abusalama has been approached for comment.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.