Zionism Victoria was shocked to learn that the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) voted this afternoon in favour of a resolution that “deems Zionism as a racist, colonial ideology”, refers to Israel’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians, calls for an “academic boycott of Israeli institutions”, urges the university to “cut ties with Israeli institutions, researchers and academics” and calls for divestment from corporations “complicit in … Israeli apartheid”.
The anti-Israel and anti-Zionist allegations in the motion are not only demonstrably false, they are also clearly antisemitic.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Working Definition (IHRA) of Antisemitism ¬gives as an example of antisemitism, “claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour”.
It also cites within the example, “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination”.
The IHRA definition is the most widely accepted definition of antisemitism within the international community, having been adopted and/or endorsed by at least 40 countries, including Australia, the US, the UK, France and Germany, countless international institutions and leaders, including the European Union and UN Secretary General, and numerous state/local governments, including the NSW Government, academic institutions and municipal authorities.
Just this week, the City of Glen Eira, home to the largest Jewish population in Australia, voted to adopt the IHRA definition.
The Victorian Opposition has also adopted it, and the Victorian Government is currently considering its adoption.
Condemning what he termed “a monstrously antisemitic resolution”, President of Zionism Victoria Yossi Goldfarb said, “It is ironic that the motion passed by the University of Melbourne Student Union states that it ‘condemns any and all forms of antisemitism,’ as the motion flies in the face of the examples of antisemitism cited by the most widely accepted and recognised definition of antisemitism within the international community.
“The resolution further calls for ‘the self-determination of the Palestinian people’, while seeking to deny that self-same right to self-determination to the Jewish people, again contravening the IHRA definition of antisemitism.”
Mr Goldfarb added, “Most critically, Zionism Victoria regrets the impact the passage of this motion will have on Jewish students at the University of Melbourne who, like all students, are entitled to regard their campus as a safe and secure environment, respectful of their culture, identity and beliefs.
“That being the case, we stand wholeheartedly in solidarity with the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), who are one of our affiliates, and who always fight valiantly not just for the rights, interests and welfare of their members, but for all minorities on campus.
“Together with other mainstream communal organisations, Zionism Victoria will do everything in its power to support AUJS’ efforts to rectify this unconscionable, and frankly antisemitic, resolution.”