Australian University Urged to Distance Itself From Pro-BDS ‘Israel Hate Fest’ Being Hosted by Peace Studies Department
Australia’s University of Sydney has been called on to distance itself from a pro-BDS conference to be hosted later this month by the school’s Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, The Australian reported.
The two-day conference has the support of the Sydney University Staff for BDS and at least 10 other groups, but Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the Jewish community’s Anti-Defamation Commission, repeatedly called it a “blatantly anti-Israel hate-fest.”
“Misusing tax dollars to officially sponsor and put out the welcome mat to a one-sided propaganda gathering that is predicated on an immoral black-listing and boycotting of a state and its people, and which violates the principles of free speech and the unrestrained exchange of ideas so fundamental to university life, is shocking,” said Abramovich, according to The Australian.
Some thirty papers will be presented at the program by speakers from Australia, North America, Europe and Asia, according to the conference website, with topics covering anti-Israel student activism, “the Israel lobby” and how to respond to criticism of or “legal attacks” on the boycott movement.
Vic Alhadeff — the chief executive for the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies — reportedly criticized conference organizers for scheduling a discussion session on Jewish-Palestinian relations for a Saturday. Alhadeff saw “irony” in the program “automatically excluding [Shabbat] observant Jews and demonstrating how tokenistic any attempts to understand the Jewish community actually are.”
The conference will also feature a plenary address by Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
According to The Australian, a University of Sydney spokeswoman said BDS was “not a university-endorsed policy.”
In April, Sydney was one of five Australian universities at which Holocaust denial literature and fliers calling for the murder of Jews were distributed.