U. of Melbourne’s student union passes virulently anti-Israel resolution

BDS resolution was resubmitted after being scrapped in May.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Australian Jewish leaders reacted with anger after the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) passed a harshly worded anti-Israel resolution on Monday.

The resolution described Israel as an “apartheid colonial state,” and accused Israel of the “ethnic cleansing of more than 350+ Palestinian villages and towns” and of seeking to forcibly expel and “massacre” Palestinians in Gaza. It also called for an academic boycott of the Jewish state and for the University of Melbourne to divest itself from businesses “complicit in and profiting from the Israeli apartheid.”

“UMSU calls on the university to participate in an academic boycott and cut ties with Israeli institutions, researchers, and academics to be in harmony with the Palestinian call for boycott, as a contribution towards upholding international law and furthering the struggle for freedom, justice and equality Divestment Actions and support,” the resolution said.

The resolution was passed by the student representative board by a vote of 13-3 with one abstention.

A similar resolution passed by the UMSU in April was scrapped in May amid a Jewish outcry and threats of litigation.

The university administration distanced itself from that resolution, calling it “antisemitic” and contrary to “who we are and what we stand for,” and insisted it would not comply with calls for an academic boycott.

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It’s not clear why the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution was resubmitted. The wording was nearly identical, though the new version was updated to include a reference to the recent Operation Breaking Dawn, a 66-hour war between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The UMSU was condemned by a number of Australian Jewish organizations in a joint statement, which said the resolution “is imbued with hatred and its language drips with venomous hatred.”

The statement point noted, “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.”

It also stressed that “motions like this do nothing for Palestinians, but they make life on campus more dangerous for Jews.”

Law student Justin Riazaty, who is not Jewish and who threatened legal action over the earlier resolution, told NCA Newswire he intends to proceed with litigation. The 22-year-old said the resolution violates Australia’s Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.

One Israeli student told NCA he no longer feels safe on campus and hides his Jewish and Israeli identity.