University of Melbourne says antisemitic motion is not the position of the university
Statement from the University of Melbourne:
The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) is a self-governing body and operates as a separate entity to the University. This anti-Semitic motion, narrowly passed in a vote by 16 members of the UMSU Students’ Council, 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.
Jewish students and staff are valued members of our University, along with our Jewish alumni and friends. We are proud of our relationships with the Jewish community in Australia and across the world, and our academic partnerships with Israeli universities and scholars.
Similarly, academic freedom and freedom of speech are core values of the University of Melbourne as outlined in our Freedom of Speech Policy, which applies to students, staff and visitors of the University. We expect all members of our community to exercise these rights respectfully.
Statement from the ECAJ:
We welcome the University’s acknowledgement that the UMSU resolution is indeed antisemitic, and that the resolution “is not the position of the University of Melbourne; nor is it one that is endorsed or supported by the University”. It is also heartening to note that the University has expressed pride in its academic partnerships with Israeli universities and scholars. This is a direct repudiation of the content of the resolution, and of BDS more generally.
The University has also confirmed its commitment to ensuring that Jewish students, like all other students, feel welcome and safe from discrimination or racism. This too is welcome, but if it is to be anything more than paying lip-service to a basic obligation then the University needs to take stronger action and formally endorse the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.
The UMSU resolution is not merely a one-off case of campus antisemitism. It is symptomatic of a concerted campaign by BDS supporters to insinuate its hate-filled discourse about Israel into campus culture. We have seen far too many instances like this one where such discourse segues into antisemitism and is accompanied by abuse and harassment of Jewish students.