MEDIA RELEASE: University of Sydney dismissal of academic, Tim Anderson

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University of Sydney dismissal of academic, Tim Anderson

13 February 2019

The University of Sydney has dismissed controversial academic Tim Anderson following the suspension of his employment in December 2018. The decision was reportedly made last Friday by an employment review panel which voted for Anderson’s dismissal by a 2-1 majority. Anderson has announced that he intends to legally challenge his dismissal.

Anderson was found to have circulated lecture materials to his students in 2018 which, according to a letter from the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Stephen Garton, contained an “altered image of the Israeli flag” featuring a “cropped swastika.” The materials were allegedly used in a course on ‘Human Rights and Development’.

Commenting on the dismissal, ECAJ co-CEO Peter Wertheim said:

The University did the right thing both in terms of principle and its own interests. Anderson has been an enthusiastic apologist for the regimes in Syria and North Korea which have systematically murdered their own people, while likening Israel, a genuine western democracy, with Nazi Germany. These sorts of statements fall squarely within the working definition of antisemitism adopted by the 31 democratic nations of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).”

Mr Wertheim noted that the IHRA working definition gives examples that “may serve as illustrations” of antisemitic statements, including:

Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

According to Mr Wertheim, much of the material distributed by Anderson concerning Israel and international affairs amounts to “little more than propaganda”.

This material has been presented with a gossamer-thin veneer of what passes for ‘scholarship’ among the University’s small number of anti-Israel academics, in an attempt to make it seem respectable to the public and impressionable students. Anderson is entitled to his own outlandish views, but he does not have the right to impose them on students, or to compromise the reputation of the University and its wider academic community for maintaining high intellectual standards.

Peter Wertheim AM | co-CEO
ph: 02 8353 8500 | m: 0408 160 904 | fax 02 9361 5888
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