Election to Student Government of ‘Proud to Be Called a Terrorist’ Tweeter Stems From Apathy to Antisemitism on Exeter Campus, Says Member of UK University’s Jewish Society
A member of the Jewish Society at the University of Exeter in Britain told The Algemeiner that apathy about antisemitism on campus allowed for the election to student government of a woman who tweeted, “I’m so proud to be called terrorist [sic].”
Anya Osen said that she is not sure how many of those who voted for Malaka Shwaikh to fill the role of vice president of the Students’ Guild knew about her social media comments, but believes that “at best they are unaware, and at worst they don’t care.”
Osen said that only after she published an article about Shwaikh on Wednesday in the UK Jewish News did many of her fellow students say they were hearing about the new VP’s inflammatory rhetoric for the first time.
While an investigation into Shwaikh is allegedly being conducted by the university and the Students’ Guild, Osen said she is doubtful much will come of it.
She pointed to Shwaikh’s recent invitation to speak at a campus rally against fascism and antisemitism as an example of the school’s ongoing indifference. “I was absolutely astonished to see she was there,” Osen exclaimed, adding that people typically aren’t invited to discuss countering a pernicious phenomenon that they are under investigation for taking part in.
Osen added that while the administration is probably cognizant of antisemitism on campus, it only gets involved “when the press finds out.” For example, she said, the university only released a statement condemning a swastika found at the school after the graffiti received national attention.
“Even then, the administration only claimed that it was a sick joke, which frankly doesn’t go far enough in my opinion,” Osen said. “As far as I can tell they have taken no action against the perpetrators.”
As The Algemeiner reported, 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.”
Since Shwaikh’s social media activity was brought to light, she has taken to Twitter to denounce what she termed “harassment” of Palestinian students.
Antisemitic activity reportedly rose dramatically on UK campuses last year, with assaults on Jewish students and faculty nearly doubling from 2015.