University of Sydney vice-chancellor Mark Scott is right to condemn the anti-Israel stance of the institution’s Students’ Representative Council and to make it clear that “anti-Semitic language or behaviour on campus” will not be tolerated. Such attitudes have no place on any Australian campus, especially at the nation’s oldest university, which should be a beacon of erudition, enlightenment and scholarship.
On June 1 the SRC passed a motion endorsing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, and denouncing the “Israeli occupation of Palestine and its system of militarised apartheid and ethnic cleansing”. Championing the Palestinian cause was “ a basic anti-imperialist and anti-racist act”, the SRC claimed. “Such solidarity is vital in a country like Australia, which stridently supports Israel and is built on the oppression of First Nations communities.”
Anti-Semitism encroaching among some university students is a worrying trend. Last month the University of Melbourne’s student council urged that university’s leadership to cut ties with Israeli institutions, researchers and academics that support “Israeli oppression of Palestinians”. It also backed the BDS movement.