Antisemitism Watchdog Calls on UK’s University of Exeter to Take Action Against Student Gov’t Candidate Tweeting ‘Proud to Be Called a Terrorist’
A Jewish rights group has called on a UK university to take action against a candidate for student government who tweeted, “I am so proud to be called terrorist [sic].”
The Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) told The Algemeiner that Malaka Shwaikh — who is reportedly running unchallenged for vice president of the University of Exeter’s Students’ Guild, where she currently serves as a trustee — “was clearly breaching the school’s disciplinary code” by posting messages encouraging violence against Jews and Israelis from her now disabled Twitter account.
According to the CAA, Shwaikh’s tweets included: “Zionism ideology is no different than that of Hitler’s”; “The shadow of the Holocaust continues to fall over us from the continuous Israeli occupation of Palestine to the election of Trump”; and, “Hitler did his deed and the Palestinians had to pay for it.”
“[T]he university has obligations under the government’s ‘Prevent’ counter-extremism strategy…naturally, Ms. Shwaikh can be held accountable for any crimes she has committed,” the CAA spokesperson said, noting that the student’s position as an Exeter instructor adds to the concern.
The CAA said it will pursue the matter vigorously, “until we are satisfied that the university and the guild have dealt exhaustively with this matter and done all that is necessary to protect their students.”
A Guild spokesperson told The Algemeiner that the group “is opposed to all forms of antisemitism and is investigating this [matter] thoroughly. If students have concerns, we encourage them to contact us so that we can address them.” The spokesperson also directed The Algemeiner to its statement on antisemitism, which says: “We believe in dialogue, debate and open discussion but we will never compromise our values when it comes to ridding our community of discrimination wherever and whenever it happens.”
The Guild refused to say whether Shwaikh will be be forced to end her bid for the vice presidency.
According to the CAA, Shwaikh’s campaign has received the endorsement of Malia Bouattia — president of the National Union of Students, who has called the University of Birmingham a “Zionist outpost,” and downplayed antisemitism on campus. Bouattia reportedly commended Shwaikh for her “commitment for justice” and her “record on international peace and justice.”
Mark Kiner, a member of Exeter’s Jewish Society, told The Algemeiner, “Overall, the university is extremely safe for both Jews and Israelis. A few bad apples shouldn’t poison its reputation.”
As The Algemeiner reported, in September 2016, Exeter investigated the appearance on campus of t-shirts glorifying the Holocaust and white supremacy.
Antisemitic activity reportedly rose dramatically on UK campuses last year, with assaults on Jewish students and faculty nearly doubling from 2015.