The Watchdog
The Watchdog
Mar 8, 2022
The Latest Target in the Israel Lobby’s War on Academia: Shahd Abusalama
Play • 1 hr 16 min

Pro-Israeli government campaigners were left bitterly disappointed when, earlier this month, their campaign to remove Palestinian activist and academic Shahd Abusalama from her position at Sheffield Hallam University failed.

“I have been wholly exonerated of the false charges of antisemitism, brought under the unfit-for-purpose IHRA definition,” Abusalama announced, adding that she has actually been offered a more secure contract with the university, giving her more protection from these smears.

The Jewish Chronicle, Britain’s self-proclaimed “oldest Jewish newspaper,” was furious with the decision to allow an “activist who praised terrorists” to continue in her position, labeling the Yorkshire institution a “hostile environment” for British Jews to study at.

Today, Abusalama joins Watchdog host Lowkey to talk about her upbringing in a Gazan refugee camp, her struggles with the powerful Israel lobby, and her future.

Shahd Abusalama is an artist, activist, teacher, and co-founder of the London-based Hawiyya Dance Company. Her writings can be found on her blog, Palestine From My Eyes. In her role as associate lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, she will be teaching a course on postcolonial media culture.

Born into an activist family, Abusalama grew up in Jabalia Refugee Camp in northern Gaza. When he was at a young age, her father was imprisoned and tortured, and was sentenced to over 700 years in an Israeli prison (he was released in 1985 in a prisoner exchange deal). Charges had been brought against her because she displayed a poster with the words “Stop the Palestinian Holocaust” and referred to the Israeli bombing of Gaza in May of last year using the same language.

She considers claiming this as evidence of antisemitism is ludicrous. “Any Palestinian liberation organization is deemed terrorist by the occupying power. This is ridiculous, of course… As Palestinians living under occupation, we have a right to resist,” she told Lowkey today.

Nevertheless, the Israel lobby has achieved a number of victories in previous years, notably whipping up a media furor over antisemitism in the Labour Party, something that helped the right wing of the party purge prominent anti-war, anti-apartheid activists from its midst.

Of late, however, there has also been a series of serious setbacks for the state of Israel and its PR campaign. Dozens of performers pulled out of the Sydney Festival in January over its financial relationship with the Israeli embassy, while Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems recently shut down its plant in Oldham near Manchester after activists occupied it, stopping production of drones being used to harm civilians. In previous episodes, the Watchdog Podcast covered both these issues in depth. Join us for another in-depth conversation abo

Support the show

The MintPress podcast, “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know – including intelligence, lobby and special interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. The Watchdog goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media.

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu