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May 1, 2015 1:40 pm

University of Sydney Staff Thinks Antisemitism Has a Place on Campus

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

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An anti-Israel protest in Sydney.

University of Sydney staff argued that supporters of the Islamic State be given a platform to “express” antisemitism, reported on Friday.

“I would say yes, we should ‘allow’ [individuals] to express their anti-Semitism — within bounds, of course,” wrote Philosophy Department lecturer Yarran Dylan Khang Hominh in an email chain among arts staff discussing freedom of speech.

His assertion was part of a larger debate over free speech on campus, after staff and student members of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions group faced disciplinary measures for disrupting a speech by retired British Army officer Richard Kemp.

One heckler, Professor Jake Lynch, was accused of antisemitism after he allegedly waved money in front of an elderly woman’s face, according to the report.

Following the protest, the BDS group continued to ruffle feathers on campus when it published an open letter on the freedom of expression on campus that criticized the university for canceling a speech by the spokesperson for an international Islamist group called Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is an outspoken backer of the Islamic State.

One of the authors of the open letter, Nick Riemer, insisted that banning Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Australian spokesman, who was scheduled to speak on September 11, may have been behind the heckling of speakers such as Kemp.

So when another professor, Dr. Wendy Lambourne of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies argued that a distinction must be drawn between the right to free speech and the right to free hate speech, BDS supporter Hominh insisted that actually individuals harboring antisemitic beliefs should be allowed to express their opinions.

Lynch and 12 other protesters, including five students, still face disciplinary charges.

Interestingly, an article on Hizb ut-Tahrir’s international website discusses when it is appropriate to suppress the freedom of expression, namely when speaking out against Islam.

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  • Anti-Semitism is only one branch of 19th Century German ‘racial science’. Racial theory had a lot to say about Africans and Asians. Should that also be taught on campus? Should there be lectures on ‘blood libels’? How about an illustrated lecture on Mohamet caricatures? The UK, USA, Canada and Australia share an Anglo-Saxon, Judaeo-Christian heritage that knows where to draw the line between free speech and hate speech. Islamists lack this tradition of common sense.

  • Mira Manoah

    Would this Yarran Hominh enjoy people protesting about his ethnic background, whatever it may be.

  • Moriah

    When the University allows open criticism of women, Black people, Muslims and homosexuals then maybe they could justify what suggesting.

  • adam

    Here is my opinion. Islam is a death cult, Mohammad is a pedophile and Allah is a fake pimp moongod. Hows that University of Sydney school of excrement.

  • Julian Clovelley

    There have been a number of articles relating to occurrences at universities in Algemeiner in recent months but I frequently find that they are alarmist rather than informative

    To anyone who is familiar with Sydney University there is an awareness that any number of different matters can be occurring at any given moment, in any building or open space, in what is a very large campus. The vast majority of students and staff on campus, if they are not there for lectures, library use, tutorials, research etc are most likely to be found eating sandwiches in the sun, or in one of the cafeterias, or the bar, or playing sport. or engaging in an extra curricular cultural activity such as theatre productions

    In addition, as with any other university, there will be vibrant email conversations taking place at every level. If you cherry pick what is happening at any given moment you can convey any number of unrepresentative images of “what is really going on”. In most cases really nothing but the usual sound and fury signifying not a lot.

    What these articles in Algemeiner seem to be trying to convey is a level of activity that simply doesn’t exist in the cosmos of the vast majority of students. Universities are meant to be places where ideas are aired and discussed – supported and ridiculed even. Add to that “so what?”

    I note in one account of this particular chain that one professor expressed a somewhat helpful summing up of it all:

    “In my home country, over the past years young people from the extreme right (including students), some with clearly neo-Nazi predilections, successfully interrupted lectures and speeches by prominent left-wing and/or liberal speakers.
    There is no room, at the University, for administrative censorship and speech control. There is no room for heckler’s veto either.”

    I would suggest that if these relatively minor incidents are to be reported at all they should be reported in far greater analytical and investigative detail rather than sensationalised. Sensational reporting gives significance to a matter that in most students minds was about as important as the cafeteria running out of tomato sauce or the bar out of Guinness

    Sydney Uni has a vast number of overseas students. Hardly surprising that there are meetings about anything. It also has a rather pleasant friendly atmosphere and excellent coffee

    • Dr. Steven Goldenberg

      Youth is a wonderful time of life. Every idea is new to them and exhilarating, but with time comes experience and knowledge. Our young friend Julian Clovelley will eventually learn you can’t yell fire in a theater no matter how small the voice or how large the theater.

    • Lianne

      I think most of us understand that any topic at any given time at any University but what we need to remember is that ‘free speech’ whether good intentions or not…is the expression of the individual…that may be the case, but if a group is prepared to openly ‘debate and criticise’ ‘what works or doesn;t work in their society’, or our society. Then I hope they are prepared for the opposition to give their views also. Be mindful that when in ‘Rome you do as the Romans do’…and old saying that I wouldn’t let go lightly. If we were to travel into other lands and tried to ‘freely express’ what we had on our minds…I wonder if it would be received as well by foreign cultures. As we have found out, it may mean a ‘beheading’…so I would think very carefully who is ‘friend and who is fo’, coming amongst us in our own countries. Whether in Universities or not.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    Freedom of expression should not be use like in this case to insult a minority. Especially after the event were Jews had been negate free speech and the Islamic-Palestinian’s had invite a supporter of terrorist group like ISIS to come to speak.
    Police should investigate if the group had broken Australian’s law and support Islamic terrorist.
    Anti Semitism is not freedom is a crime.

  • Caleb

    I was born there my family are Sydney sider’s
    Both my grandfathers lived through the wars
    And the Sydney of today is (not) what they went to war two
    Protect I hate the young of today thinking they can change
    It two this shit way of thinking bother war is coming and I have no
    Faith that this lot of dickheads can preval

  • Harvey Lloyd

    The small group of Islamist supporter racists worm their way into every university that they can and proclaim terrorist freedom. Sydney seems a strange place to find staff at a university supporting Islamist murderers and torturers as having the right to “free speech” when their agenda is to destroy any form of democracy and establish a caliphate across the world under brutal Shariah law which certain students proclaim is coming to the democracies. We’ll see them all in hell first. Freedom and democracy are the only sane and healthy way of life and dissent, not brutal hate speech is always welcome. Shame on the Sydney professors in a free country desiring a voice for murderers.