News Article

Brunel Students stand in Support of Shahd Abu Salama

Students from university societies across the UK stand in solidarity with Shahd Abusalama, an incredible Palestinian campaigner, writer and anti-racist activist, against Sheffield Hallam University’s decision to suspend her from her position as an associate lecturer and in facilitating a smear campaign against her.

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Brunel Students For Palestine society is calling for Sheffield Hallam University to reinstate Shahd Abusalama. We condemn the defamatory claims against her which are rooted in anti-Palestinian racism and are a part of a trend attempting to censor Palestinians across UK universities.

 

These attempts to censor Palestinians, and their right to the MacPherson Principle, and by extension, their right to articulate both their history and their oppression with accuracy. As ethnic cleansing across Palestine has intensified, universities in the UK must support their Palestinian staff and student and offer protection from both anti-Palestinian racism and defamatory claims, instead of colluding with anti-Palestinian racists, as they are doing with the case of Shahd Abusalama.

 

Most importantly, Abusalama is an iconic and inspiring figure both within pro-Palestine activist circles and the British Palestinian community at large. Attacks on Abusalama will seriously impact the feelings of security and safety among Palestinians attending UK campuses.

 

This is not the first time in which Palestinian and human rights activists and organisations, advocating for Palestinian rights, are targetted through an organised and systematic defamation campaign. We have even witnessed it recently with British academic David Miller at Bristol University who was sacked despite being cleared of all accusations by two independent commissioned by the university. We even saw this malicious attack targeting actor Emma Watson over a picture expressing solidarity with Palestine. This repeatedly-used Zionist tactic aims to silence and repress Palestinian voices and their supporters. The smear campaign and the University’s response to it show the power imbalance when it comes to Palestine-Israel, even in Academia, where colonial narratives continue to be privileged over that of the colonised. Shahd has repeatedly emphasized that anti-Zionism is a duty while antisemitism and all other forms of racism are crimes. 

 

Unlike Miller and Watson, Abusalama is a stateless Palestinian woman of colour with a precarious residency in the UK, making her more vulnerable to such attacks that claim victimhood and legitimacy for the Israeli apartheid regime while deflecting from their relentless crimes against the Palestinians. As a member of the Palestinian nation facing multiple forms of Zionist oppression and violence, she should have the right to criticise the state of Israel, its ideology and practices. The institution’s disregard for Shahd’s wellbeing and academic freedom contributes to denying the Palestinians the right to live without racial discrimination, torture, occupation and arbitrary detention.

 

We, therefore, call on Sheffield Hallam University to reinstate Shahd Abusalama, apologise for colluding with her defamation, and employment protections for Palestinian staff and students that will protect them from anti-Palestinian racism and defamatory. In addition, we call for universities across the UK to respect the right of the British Palestinian community to the MacPherson Principle.

 

References:

  • https://www.asapalestine.co.uk/sas
  • Letter signed by different societies across UK

 

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