Saturday 6th May. There was a lively protest outside Sheffield Town Hall in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. We were joined by Paul Blomfield, MP (till a week ago and current candidate) for Sheffield Central constituency . The prisoners are on hunger strike over such things as jailed children, family visits restricted to one a year, and administrative detention (jail with no trial). For more information go here.
Inspiring and Uplifting. These two words were repeated by many of the people present at the Scholarship Fund’s 10th anniversary event in Sheffield Town Hall, marking International Women”s Day 2017.
The town hall reception room was packed to hear the stories of the students who have received scholarships since 2007. The stories are moving and full of hope despite the reality of life in Gaza,
Please pass my deep feelings of love and gratitude to all in Britain connected to the Sheffield Scholarship Fund. You have opened a new window in the dark sky of living in Jabalia under occupation.Sama Wadi, Jabalia refugee camp, 2008
I really appreciate the efforts made by the women’s group in Sheffield to help and support Palestinian women. The scholarships show there’s justice in the world and they tell us that we deserve to live a decent life as in the rest of the world. Thank you from the depth of my heart. Maisaa Salah Abu Khadra, Bureij refugee camp, 2016
Thanks to the Lord Mayor, Cllr Denise Fox and the
Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr Anne Murphy for hosting the event and welcoming the Fund. The Lord Mayor’s words of support for the students and for the work of Fund was really appreciated.
Thanks to our speakers, Kholoud Ajarma and Musheir El Farra. Thanks to Sheffield Socialist Choir for opening the event with song.
The Scholarship Fund is aiming to raise £23k this year to bring the total sent out to Gaza of £100k in 10 years. Please support us to reach this target. Email for details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Possibly the worst thing a newspaper can do to a Muslim woman is to publish a picture of her under the headline “I am proud to be called a terrorist”. This is exactly what the Mail on line has done to Malaka Shwaikh.
Malaka is currrently at Exter University, studying under Ilan Pappe , a Jewish Israeli Professor; she is in no way anti-semitic. Before she moved from Sheffield, Malaka was a member of Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign. She is an intelligent articulate active anti-racist.
What has stirred the ire of the Pro Israeli and Zionist campaigners is that she is Palestinian, articulate and effective.
The full sentence she used was: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!” This was said in the context of Israel’s 2014 bloody onslaught on Gaza. The wilful ripping out of part of the sentence completely misrepresents her position.
The attack on Malaka is part of a coordinated attempt to discredit pro-Palestinian campaigners. Israel has become increasingly right wing and xenophobic. It is feted by white supremacists and Islamophobes. Its supporters desperately hope to drown out criticism of Israel’s illegal land theft by false allegations of terrorism and anti Semitism.
If the Daily Mail’s malevolent distortion is allowed to stand Malaka’s ability to travel, to return to Gaza, and live a normal life will be made near impossible. It will also embolden the Mail for further attacks.
The Mail Online, an offshoot of the Daily Mail, along with a some other on-line publications and abusive emails fanned by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, are currently alleging that Malaka, presently a Ph.D. student at Exeter University, under the supervision of the Israeli born Professor Ilan Pappe, is a supporter of terrorism and is antisemitic. Why, some might wonder, but clearly not the Mail or the Campaign Against Antisemtism, would an anti-Semite choose to study under a Jewish professor? There is clearly more to this story than what Malaka’s detractors would like people to believe.
The Mail Online launched the campaign against Malaka, stating in bold letters: ‘Palestinian student, 25, tweets “I am so proud to be called a terrorist’ sparking an anti-Semitism investigation at the University of Exeter.” The tweet, which had been hacked, was doctored. The full sentence reads: “If terrorism means protecting and defending my land, I am so proud to be called terrorist. What an honour for the Palestinians!” Moreover, this was said in the context of Israel’s 2014 bloody onslaught on Gaza. A reference by her to the Holocaust was similarly distorted by not reporting her tweet stating that it was a horrific crime.
But the full malevolence of distorting her tweets in order to suggest that their author is not only a terrorist sympathiser but an anti-Semite only becomes evident in the light of Malaka’s political
activism. As well as being a proud Palestinian committed to justice for her people, she is also a principled opponent of all forms of racism. She recently helped to organise a march at Exeter University to protest against swastikas and ‘Rights for Whites’ slogans daubed on walls in halls of residence.
The attack on Malaka is part of a coordinated attempt to discredit pro-Palestinian campaigners. Malaka, herself, had been subjected to earlier smear campaigns when she was a student at Sheffield University. As Israel has become increasingly rightwing and xenophobic, feted by white supremacists and Islamophobes, its supporters desperately seek to regain public sympathy by accusing its critics of anti-Semitism and terrorist sympathies. It will not work. Israel’s record is there for all to see and Palestinian activists and the solidarity movement will continue to grow in numbers and in effectiveness as they have over the past three decades.
We, in Sheffield, know Malaka well from the period that she spent in the city as a student. We condemn her vilification and fully support her stand against it.
Read Malaka’s full statement, read Mondoweiss article here: https://goo.gl/1XrB4k
Professor Ilan Pappe addresses an audience at Sheffield Hallam University on Monday 20th January. He makes the point that Trump may be more energetic in his anti Palestinian stance but essentially the pro Zionist approach taken by America is systemic and not dependent on a single person.
“I am proud of what we have done together” Mona El Farra in Gaza tells Julia South, our newsletter editor.
The Scholarship Fund is proud of what we have achieved in our first ten years, starting with three students in 2007 to supporting 39 in 2017-17. Our special 10th anniversary newsletter includes interviews with students who have graduated and how supporters of the Fund have raised money and awareness throughout the year.
With special thanks to Dr Mona El Farra and Wafaa El Derawi in Gaza and for Julia South in Sheffield for writing and editing the newsletter.
Hosted by the Lord Mayor, Denise Fox, with songs from Sheffield Socialist Choir, stories from our scholarship students, speeches from Sheffield PSC activist Musheir El Farra and Palestinian woman speaker Kholoud Al Ajarma on the power of women’s education.
All welcome to celebrate how Sheffield has shown its solidarity with Palestinian women students in Gaza, Palestine.