Student who praised terrorists as ‘heroes’ gets academic role at Sheffield Hallam University

Shahd Abusalama, who also wrote that ‘Zionist lobbies… buy presidents’, crowed about her appointment on social media


A Palestinian student who wrote that “Zionist lobbies… buy presidents” and praised terrorists as a “heroes” has been cleared of Jew-hate and given a contract by Sheffield Hallam University, the JC can reveal.

Shahd Abusalama, a former PhD student at the university, has also urged her social media followers to watch a shocking video which claimed the Talmud permits Jews to kill and steal from gentiles.

Announcing her appointment on Twitter, she wrote: “We're celebrating a fantastic victory for Palestine today…. I have been wholly exonerated of the false charges of antisemitism.

“I will also be offered a more secure contract that will afford my employee status at Sheffield Hallam University.”

An investigation was launched by Sheffield Hallam into Ms Abusalama after she was appointed an associate lecturer in December of 2021.

The university suspended the Gaza-born activist, triggering a backlash from pro-Palestine activists.

Ms Abusalama called for supporters to write to the university, posting on Twitter: “[I am] demanding [Sheffield Hallam University] drop the ongoing investigation against me, review #IHRA definition of antisemitism, issue a public apology and put policies in place to ensure no Palestinian is subject to such malicious censorship.”

On February 2, the Sheffield Hallam branch of the powerful Universities and Colleges Union passed an emergency motion in defence of Ms Abusalama.

In a press release, they said her public campaigning against Israel “fall[s] entirely within the boundaries of acceptable political commentary”.

They called for the university to apologise to the Palestinian academic and to impose a “moratorium” on the use of the internationally recognised IHRA definition of antisemitism.

The next day, Ms Abusalama said on Twitter Sheffield Hallam would not be progressing further with the “malicious smears that have been levelled against me”.

She attacked the “unfit-for-purpose IHRA definition” and announced that she would be offered a more secure employment contract by the university that would afford her employee status.

In 2013, Ms Abusalama appeared at the 46th anniversary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group.

At the event, which was addressed via video by convicted terrorist Leila Khaled, Ms Abusalama sung in front of a PFLP banner.

In a blog post, Ms Abusalama also described Japanese Red Army terrorist Kozo Okamoto as a “freedom fighter”.

Mr Okamoto took part in the 1971 Lod Airport Massacre in which three Japanese gunmen, working with the PFLP, opened fire upon Israeli civilians, killing 26 and wounding 80.

In a Facebook post last year, Ms Abusalama shared an image of the six prisoners who escaped from an Israeli jail and described them as “heroes”.

One was Zakaria Zubeidi, a former commander of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who was charged with carrying out at least two shooting attacks on civilian buses in the West Bank in 2019.

In 2012, Ms Abusalama visited the family of Akram Rikhawi, a Palestinian sentenced to nine years in prison for transporting suicide bombers.

In a social media post at the time the academic referred to Mr Rikhawi as “legendary” and called for readers to “take action now or at least say a prayer”.

The same year she shared a video on social media named “truth about Zionist JEWS Talmud” which claimed all the “horrible things going on in occupied Palestine” can be “explained by reading the Talmud”.

To a background of dramatic music it said: “The Talmud Permits Stealing from Non-Jews…

“Remember how they steal, and continue to steal the Palestinian land?

“Remember how they robbed the banks of America?

“Don’t blame them, they were just being true to their religion!”

Ms Abusalama added: “Must watch this video that tells the truth about #zionist #Jews. They take their legitimacy from #Talmud.”

In a Twitter conversation in 2012, Ms Abusalama wrote: “What a shame! Somehow the Zionist lobbies control all this for their interest. They buy presidents/slaves.”

A further inflammatory post said: “Barak Hussein Obama is b*stard! Those racists should be happy now & re-elect him as he’s anti-Arabs and anti-Muslims & #Zionists’ puppet. [sic]”

After the JC revealed her shocking video post in 2019, the academic wrote a response on Facebook.

She said: “Just as I now find it offensive and Islamophobic for racists to pull out a verse from Quran and take it out of context to demonise Muslims, I find this [her original post] also equally offensive.

“I know now that Zionist founders were secular imperialist, and had nothing to do with Judaism, but in fact used it.”

A Sheffield Hallam University spokesperson said: “After some specific concerns were raised in relation to an individual’s proposed appointment as an Associate Lecturer, we had a duty to fully consider the matters brought to our attention. An appointment has now been made following the conclusion of a robust HR process. 

“As a university we uphold the principles of free speech and academic freedom.

“We are proud that our staff and students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, with a wide range of views and beliefs. We do not tolerate discrimination or hate speech, and are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive culture for all our students and staff.”   

Ms Abusalama has been contacted for comment.

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