Our Victories in the UK

Palestinian scholar Shahd Abusalama reinstated following suspension and investigation due to smear campaign. Click to read more

Shahd Abusalama faced a smear campaign and had her teaching erroneously suspended by Sheffield Hallam University in January 2022, as a result of unfounded complaints filed against her. With legal support from the ELSC, and numerous organisations and individuals who collectively campaigned against this unjust treatment, Shahd’s teaching was restored and the investigation against her was dropped in February 2022. Read more.

Barrister critical of Zionism on personal social media channel cleared from allegations of antisemitism. Click to read more

In January 2021, a barrister was subjected to two complaints sent to two different bodies related to their profession, over their social media post which qualified Zionism as a form of racism and colonialism that has created an apartheid regime. The barrister also asserted that holding Zionist views was incompatible with anti-racism. Both complainants alleged that the post was offensive and amounted to antisemitism. The ELSC provided legal assistance during the investigations and mobilized experts and partner organisations who submitted letters in support of the barrister. Both the complaints were considered as baseless and the investigations were closed.

Public employer reinstates student after walking back on rescinded offer for breach of IHRA definition of antisemitism. Click to read more

A student had been recruited by a public body in August 2021 but the job offer was subsequently rescinded because the employer deemed that some of their social media posts amounted to ‘unlawful antisemitism’ according to the examples provided by the IHRA definition of antisemitism. The posts expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people during the 2021 bombing of Gaza and criticism of Zionism. The ELSC argued that the dismissal was discriminatory and violated the student’s right to freedom of expression. As a result, the student was reappointed and fully remunerated, including for working time missed due to the revocation.

While on book tour, professor Somdeep Sen overcomes censorship attempt following defamatory allegations of antisemitism and use of the IHRA definition. Click to read more

In November 2021, Associate Professor at Roskilde University, Copenhagen, Dr. Somdeep Sen, was invited by the University of Glasgow to deliver a lecture about his new book “Decolonizing Palestine”. Prior to the event and following a complaint by the university’s Jewish society alleging antisemitism, the university required Dr. Sen to provide details of his talk ahead of time and warned him against speech that may breach UK anti-terrorism law or the IHRA definition of antisemitism. The ELSC advised the professor and worked with partners to submit letters of support raising concerns about academic freedom. Dr. Sen subsequently rejected the university’s invitation and the event took place at another location.

After investigation involving IHRA definition, dozens of antisemitism charges against academics advocating for Palestinian rights at the same university found unsubstantiated. Click to read more

In 2021, 15 university staff members were subjected to disciplinary investigations by their university in the span of only seven months. Anonymous complaints against them had been submitted, alleging that they had participated in antisemitic activity or shared antisemitic content online or in their academic literature. The complainants even used letters that some academics signed in support of fellow Palestinian rights defenders or merely liked or bookmarked content to back their claims of antisemitism. After a lengthy disciplinary process and with the support of the ELSC, the university cleared all academics of these allegations.

Academic fended off dismissal attempts following a smear campaign and accusations of breach of the IHRA definition by Campaign Against AntisemitismClick to read more

At the beginning of 2021, an academic and human rights campaigner faced smears by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA), a pro-Israel organisation which sent a complaint to the academic’s University for allegedly breaching the IHRA definition of antisemitism through the academic’s attendance at Palestinian rights protests. As a result of the ELSC’s legal support, the University eventually cleared the academic of the allegations, stating that the conduct in question constituted a ‘legitimate, legal and peaceful political protest, consistent with the University’s commitment to freedom of expression’.

Antisemitism complaint against anti-racist and pro-Palestine student activist based on IHRA definition dismissed by university. Click to read more

In 2021, a university investigated a student activist for alleged antisemitism for attending a Black Lives Matter protest, reposted literature by a prominent Palestinian poet and written social media posts critical of the Israeli army. When the ELSC demonstrated that there was a pattern of ongoing harassment and defamation of the student by the complainants, due to their activism for Palestinian rights, the university dismissed the complaint.

Student activists successfully counter unfounded complaints of antisemitism after being placed under investigation by university using IHRA definition. Click to read more

In response to anonymous complaints, 5 students student activists were placed under investigation in April-May 2021 by their university for social media posts condemning Israel’s human rights abuses and Zionism, and supporting Palestinian rights. The complainants maintained that the posts breached the IHRA definition, therefore amounting to antisemitism, and claimed that this risked bringing the university into disrepute. The ELSC defended the students against the allegations and the university dismissed the complaints.

University finds no case after complaint filed against student who shared Human Rights Watch content on Israeli apartheid. Click to read more

In June 2021, a university received an anonymous complaint and opened an investigation into alleged antisemitism against a student who had posted on their social media a Human Rights Watch infographic about Israel’s system of apartheid in the West Bank. They referred to the latter as ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘reminiscent of South African apartheid’. Following legal support from the ELSC, the university found that there was no case to answer and dropped the investigation.

Society retracts bogus claims of antisemitism against student campaigner for Palestinian rights maligned in lead-up to students’ union elections at Leeds University. Click to read more

In February 2020, a Palestinian student at Leeds University and activist for Palestinian rights ran for election to the Students Union (LUU). A few days before the vote, the Jewish Society, a student society in the LUU, circulated an email accusing the student of antisemitism and supporting terrorism. The email was sent to all student societies except for the Palestine Society. Although the Jewish Society failed to provide any evidence for its claims, the student still lost the endorsement of many student societies and the subsequent election. With the support of the ELSC, the student submitted a complaint and an open solidarity letter was widely endorsed and circulated. After an investigation, the LUU ordered the Jewish Society to retract its slanderous statement and ensure that the persons responsible step down from their positions in the Society.

After academic is publicly smeared based on lecture content and subjected to antisemitism complaint, university declares allegations unfounded. Click to read more

In 2019, a student recorded snippets of a lecture taught by an academic and took pictures of the lecture slides. These were then handed over to anti-Palestinian media platforms such as the Jewish Chronicle, which proceeded to smear the professor as antisemitic and supportive of terrorism by distorting the professor’s words. A complaint was lodged against the academic, which opened an investigation. The ELSC provided legal assistance and the academic was cleared of all false allegations.

For confidentiality reasons, many names of the individuals and entities involved in the above cases are not disclosed.


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Shahd Abusalama and members of the ELSC team

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