After a spate of antisemitic incidents at the University of Exeter, students decided to organise a protest march. They did what came naturally to them and asked Malaka Shwaikh, exposed by Campaign Against Antisemitism as a terrorist-supporting antisemite, to address the crowd and make Jewish students feel safe. Whilst professing an admirable desire for solidarity, Shwaikh took the opportunity not to renounce any of her views and to instead berate those “attacking” her as simply venting their “Islamophobic” prejudice.
Over the past week, Campaign Against Antisemitism has received dozens of tweets and Facebook posts from Exeter students and alumni, including:
- Shwaikh tweeted in 2015: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!”
- Shwaikh marked Holocaust Memorial Day, by tweeting that “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”.
- Shwaikh has claimed that “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s” and she has also written that “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.”
According to the International Definition of Antisemitism, “Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis” is antisemitic, as is expressing support for genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisations proscribed by the British government, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but that did not stop Exeter’s students from electing her as Vice President of the University of Exeter’s Students’ Guild. In her manifesto she claimed that she has spent her life “aiming to change our society for the better and help to spread justice and fairness everywhere”, but despite her efforts to delete her tweets, her Twitter account tells a different story. She is already a trustee of the Students’ Guild.
We have also found that Shwaikh received the glowing endorsement of Malia Bouattia, the President of the National Union of Students. Bouattia praised Shwaikh’s “commitment for justice” and her “record on international peace and justice”. In return, Shwaikh called Bouattia “amazing”. In a leaked report over the weekend, Bouattia was found for the second time by NUS to have made antisemitic comments, but the report recommended that she face no consequences for her actions.
Last week the university tried to brush off an antisemitic incident in which a “Rights for Whites” sign was found in halls of residence and a swastika was found carved into a door in on-campus halls Birks Grange, with a spokesman downplaying this blatant antisemitic incident as possibly merely “an ill-judged, deeply offensive joke.” This follows another alarming antisemitic incident at the university last term in which students were photographed at a sports club social event wearing t-shirts with handwritten antisemitic slogans. One t-shirt bore the slogan: “the Holocaust was a good time.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism is closely monitoring the response to this latest disturbing outbreak of antisemitism. We would be interested to hear from students by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is clear that Malaka Shwaikh has breached the University of Exeter’s disciplinary code for staff and students. We understand that she both studies and teaches at the university. Additionally she is a trustee of the Students’ Guild, which places her under obligations incumbent upon all trustees of charities under British law. Furthermore the university has obligations under the government’s Prevent counter-extremism strategy. And naturally she can be held accountable for any crimes she has committed. We will be pursuing all of these avenues until we are satisfied that the University of Exeter and the Students’ Guild have dealt exhaustively with this matter and done all that is necessary to protect their students.
Disgracefully, the University of Exeter has told Campaign Against Antisemitism that it “cannot comment on individual cases.” We are not so easily deterred.