by John Perazzo
How a young university student in California became a leading mouthpiece of campus anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semites are a dime a dozen on American university campuses nowadays. But Saleem Shehadeh, who graduated from the University of California at Davis in 2015, is a special case unto himself. During his undergraduate years, Shehadeh was heavily involved in the Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that aims to use public protest and economic pressure to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently discrediting and destroying Israel as a Jewish state. Toward that end, BDS strives to create the false impression that Israel is a habitual human-rights violator guilty of subjecting its Palestinian neighbors to brutal campaigns of “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “genocide.”
In support of BDS's views and objectives, Shehadeh served as the organizing chair of divestment on the UC Davis campus. He was also a member of the local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a highly influential organization whose propaganda commonly echoes much of what is said by Hamas jihadists. Indeed, SJP's principal founder, Professor Hatem Bazian, has quoted approvingly from a famous Islamic hadith which calls for the violent slaughter of Jews and which appears in Hamas's founding charter.
During his college years, Saleem Shehadeh was a senator with the Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD), the university's student government. In April 2014, he was the lead author of an ASUCD resolution that called upon the university to divest whatever financial holdings it possessed in “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories.” One of the targeted companies was Caterpillar, which, according to Shehadeh, “provides the Israeli army with bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian property.” Shehadeh made no mention of the fact that those demolitions were aimed exclusively at the homes and weapons-making facilities of Hamas terrorists and other jihadists. But hey, why quibble over details?
When an evenly divided student senate subsequently failed to approve Shehadeh's divestment resolution, Shehadeh co-authored an opinion piece lamenting that the ASUCD had effectively given “a stamp of approval” to “the University of California’s decision to invest in … companies that profit from the demolition of Palestinian-civilian structures, the ongoing Israeli settlement and colonization of Palestinian land, the detention and torture of Palestinian political prisoners, and the construction of the apartheid wall that runs through occupied Palestinian territory.”
In January 2015, Shehadeh co-authored a second divestment resolution. This one was passed by the student senate, but a month later a six-person panel of the University's Court of Associated Students overturned the resolution, calling it “primarily a political document” that was insufficiently related to the promotion of “student welfare.” In May 2015, a local chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine – of which Shehadeh was a member – responded by proposing yet another divestment resolution, this time emphasizing that “enabling Israel’s occupation of Palestine compromises the integrity of students’ education.” To Shehadeh's delight, ASUCD passed the resolution without a single dissenting vote.
Following his years at UC Davis, Shehadeh pursued graduate studies at San Francisco State University. There, he was awarded an Edward Said Scholarship, named in honor of the late Palestinian-American literary theorist who once served as a member of the Palestinian National Council, a terrorist entity that endorses the obliteration of Israel. Said maintained that Westerners, by virtue of being non-Muslims, have always been plagued by a deep-seated prejudice against Muslims. As Gatestone Institute Senior Fellow Denis MacEoin observes: “[F]or Said and his followers, the world is divided between Western guilt and Eastern victimhood. What is missing from Said's work is any attempt to deal with the long history of Islamic empires, the conquest of, and permanent rule over, non-Muslim states and peoples … Said leaves us with the impression that all prejudice is only on the part of the West.”
But such a distorted worldview is precisely what floats Saleem Shehadeh's boat. Upon receiving his Edward Said Scholarship, Shehadeh lauded the late professor's “brilliant legacy” and boasted that his own (Shehadeh's) work at San Francisco State was focused heavily on “studying Palestinian identity consciousness.”
Just what the world needs: more identity consciousness, more tribalism, more perpetual grievance mongering.
Shehadeh's ceaseless discontent was on full display three weeks ago, when he penned a lengthy article smearing “pro-Israel groups” at U.S. colleges for having the temerity to speak out against anti-Semitism on their campuses. The piece was published by none other than Mondoweiss.net, a terrorist-support website that – like the BDS movement – routinely depicts Israel as an “apartheid” state which is guilty of “genocide,” “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and “crimes against humanity.” Mondoweiss also has some noteworthy ties to the far-left Nation magazine, likewise notorious for its pro-terrorist, anti-Israel perspectives.
Young people like Saleem Shehadeh proudly wear their own historical ignorance and Jew-hatred as badges of honor, and they are now beginning to emerge as the leading anti-Semites of tomorrow.
John Perazzo is the managing editor of DiscoverTheNetworks.org.
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