Anti-Israel Motion by University of Sydney Student Gov’t Denounced by Australian Jewish Leaders
The student government at the University of Sydney on Thursday passed a motion declaring support for Palestinians “fighting back against daily repression and violence,” Australian media reported this week, days after another top university in the country distanced itself from an anti-Israel student measure passed there.
The Sydney motion, which accuses Israel of being an “apartheid” state that was “brutally established,” passed by 13 votes, with three students voting against it and three abstaining, according to the Australian Jewish News. It endorsed building a “fighting, radical Palestine solidarity movement in Australia, as our government is complicit in Israel’s genocide in Palestine,” and urged students to participate in a “Nakba solidarity demonstration” organized by the Palestine Action Group.
The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) told the Australian Jewish outlet J-Wire that the motion is an abdication by the undergraduate Student’s Representative Council (SRC) of “its own ethos to fight discrimination, putting Jewish and Israeli students at risk of hate speech and worse, and unethically aligned the entire SRC with the extreme propaganda of a single student group on a controversial issue.”
“The SRC condemnation of recent events in Jerusalem was based solely on Palestinian propaganda, painting a blatantly false picture of these events, and invoked gross double standards which can only damage the cause of Israeli-Palestinian Peace,” AIJAC said. “We call on the Council to rescind this discriminatory and completely improper motion.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim told The Australian Jewish News, “Once again, a non representative group of far-Left ideologues consisting mainly of Greens and Trotskyist students has rammed through an anti-Israel resolution at short notice,” citing the SRC’s passing a resolution in February that embraced a boycott of the Sydney Arts Festival.
“It seems that they are opposed to racism against everyone except Jews,” he said. “Their idea of what constitutes antisemitism flies in the face of what most Jewish people understand it to be, based on historical and personal experience. The university cannot simply wash its hands of this chronic problem.”
The SRC’s anti-Israel motion is the second to pass at an Australian student government body this month. Last Friday, the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) endorsed the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaign, calling for an “armed struggled” against the Jewish state. School administrators subsequently denounced the measure as “antisemitic,” affirming that it was not the position of the University of Melbourne.