AIJAC expresses disgust at extreme anti-Israel and antisemitic motion passed by the Council of the University of Melbourne Student Union
May 1, 2022 | Colin Rubenstein
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council expressed its disgust at an extreme anti-Israel and antisemitic motion passed by the Council of the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) on April 29.AIJAC Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein stated, “This deplorable motion uses language we would have expected to have come from Hamas or Hezbollah, as terrorist groups committed to the destruction of Israel, not from the student union of an esteemed centre of learning here in Australia. “Those behind the motion have created a fictitious, one-sided narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Palestinians are natives and any Jewish connection to the land is denied. Based upon that falsehood, as constructed, the motion is antithetical to all that institutions of higher learning are meant to stand for, and will do untold harm to the credibility of both UMSU and the University of Melbourne. “Moreover, in deeming Zionism as a ‘racist, colonial ideology’ and Israel as a ‘settler-colonial apartheid state,’ and a ‘colonial project’, yet demanding self-determination for Palestinians, this motion has clear antisemitic overtones. It denies Jews the right to self-determination in the Jewish homeland, where Jews have lived for thousands of years, yet demands that same right for others. The lip service in the motion to condemning antisemitism does nothing to change that reality. It is in fact ironic, given that antisemitism is inherent to the motion itself. “The motion’s narrative claims Israel ‘continuously denies the native Palestinians of their right to self-determination, freedom, dignity and equality,’ ignoring the numerous offers of statehood Israel has made to the Palestinian Authority that the PA has spurned, and that furthermore, all of Israel’s citizens, including Arabs, have equal, democratic rights. “It states Israel carried out a police raid at the Al Aqsa Mosque on Palestinians who were ‘simply congregating and praying’ – ignoring ample and widespread video evidence that demonstrates Palestinians were stockpiling rocks and fireworks in the mosque, and violently attacking Jewish worshippers nearby.” “The motion condemns Israel’s alleged ‘ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians’, even as the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has increased by more than four times since Israel gained control of those areas in 1967, and the Palestinian population of Jerusalem has increased both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the overall population. “The motion’s expressed support for the ‘right’ of the Palestinians to ‘engage in self-defence against their occupiers’ is clearly code for supporting terrorism against Israelis, mainly civilians.” “The motion demands a comprehensive boycott and divestment policy against Israeli institutions and academics in contravention of the spirit of free enquiry and academic freedom fundamental to universities as institutions, while the wider call to boycott the Jewish nation has disturbing historical parallels.” “In summary, this is a shameful motion that encourages extremism and terrorism, and has antisemitic overtones despite its hypocritical denials and disclaimers. It should have no place at all in this country, let alone in an institution of higher learning. “The vast majority of Jewish students will no doubt feel deeply betrayed that the student union that is meant to represent them could pass a motion that is so appalling and so antithetical to their core values. “I can’t help wondering if all those who supported this motion fully appreciated its insidious meaning and intent. The Council should rescind the motion at the first available opportunity. “The University Administration must disassociate itself from this calumny in the strongest possible terms and do all it can to ensure that this never happens again, as it represents a toxic stain not only upon UMSU, but on the University itself,” Dr Rubenstein concluded.