Antisemitism by Student Union

Melbourne University

Melbourne University

The Zionist voice of Progressive Judaism for Australia (ARZA) supports the UPJ, prominent Jewish leaders and organisations in condemning the Student Union of Melbourne University for outrageously supporting the anti-Israel BDS movement and demanding an academic boycott to cut ties with Israeli institutions, researchers, and academics.

This, in the very week we remember and celebrate the United Nations passing of the resolution of May 14, 1948, establishing the Jewish State in Eretz-Israel. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State was irrevocable, providing for the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.

Attempting to deny this right by supporting the BDS movement against Israel is itself anti-Semitic, racist, and hateful and denies the Jewish people the right to self-determination afforded to other peoples.

Those who know Melbourne University for the institution it is and the fine reputation it enjoys also regard this action as shameful. The Student Union should be held to account for the harm they have now caused.

Fortunately, Melbourne University has spoken out about this matter in a public statement whereby they said in summary:

This anti-Semitic motion… is not the position of the University of Melbourne, nor is it one that is endorsed or supported by the University. “The University of Melbourne is deeply committed to the values of inclusion and respect, and all members of our community must feel welcome and safe from discrimination or racism. Any form of anti-Semitism is antithetical to who we are and what we stand for. Tackling it and its damaging effects is a responsibility of all members of our community.”

ARZA congratulates Melbourne University for the forthright way it has called out anti-Semitism on campus and recognised the need for respect and for its community to feel welcome and safe.

Perhaps the university should investigate the level of funding received by the Student Union and given its shameful behaviour whether its funding should be re-evaluated.

Additionally, given the Australian Government has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition of anti-Semitism, it would make clear the attitude of Melbourne University and all other Australian universities if they too adopted this definition.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the Australian Zionist Youth Council and Netzer for bringing Australian Zionist youth groups together to respond and reject what they described as this “anti-Semitic and deeply hurtful motion to our community”.

It is wonderful to hear that the Federal Mazkira of Netzer Australia, Noa Abrahams, is working with AUJS at Melbourne University to identify actions on campus to further respond to this distressing matter. We are extremely proud of the leadership being shown by our Jewish youth.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President