Australian Jewish Groups Slam University of Melbourne Student Union Over Passage of ‘Venomous’ Pro-BDS Resolution

The University of Melbourne, in Melbourne, Australia.

August 15, 2022

The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) in Australia passed a resolution on Monday supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, accusing the Jewish state of perpetrating an “ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians,” The Jerusalem Post reported.

“The UMSU supports the self-determination of the Palestinian people and their right to engage in self-defense against their occupiers,” the motion — passed by a 13-3 margin, with one abstention — said, adding that it “deems the use of Zionism to justify the illegal occupation of Palestine as racist and colonial.”

The UMSU also designated Israel an “apartheid state,” citing allegations of “prominent human rights organizations” such as Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and Humans Rights Watch.

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) firmly condemned the UMSU decision, saying it “misrepresents Zionism and over-simplifies” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and would “lead to the targeting and harassment of Jewish students who want to embrace their identity.”

“We should feel safe to be proud Jews and Zionists on campus, however without nuanced conversations, respect and a desire to understand and learn, Jewish students feel unwelcome and isolated,” it added.

In a joint statement, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Zionist Federation of Australia, Jewish Community Council of Victoria, Zionism Victoria, and AUJS said, “It is disingenuous to suggest that this motion is simply about criticism of the Israeli government or support for the Palestinians. It effectively advocates the eradication of Israel as a state and thus denies the basic right of national self-determination of the Jewish people. The motion is imbued with racism and its language drips with venomous hatred.”

“When student representatives falsely deny the Jewish connection to Israel, they deny to Jewish students the right to their own identity,” the statement continued. “When they promote hatred of Israel so unrelentingly, they are telling Jewish students and faculty that they don’t belong on campus unless they willingly forego their own identity. Only one country is singled out. Only one ethnicity is vilified. This has real-world implications. Jewish students are facing increasing intimidation, including death threats, and a planned stabbing.”

.It concluded, “Motions like this do nothing for Palestinians, but they make life on campus more dangerous for Jews. We reject the lies in this motion. We reject the denial of Jewish connection to Israel, and we stand by Jewish students who face constant antisemitism and unrelenting hatred on campus because of who they are, and their family, ethnic, cultural, and religious connections to Israel.”