The Zionist Federation of Australia welcomes Melbourne University’s student union rescinding its antisemitic motion, but warns of the hurt caused by this and similar motions.
ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “Rescinding the motion is an excellent first step to help heal the wounds the student union caused. We sincerely hope their reason for doing so is because they’ve recognised how bigoted the motion was, and not just because a student threatened legal action.”
However, Mr Leibler expressed concern over the effect of the original motion and the efforts by student unions at other universities to express ‘solidarity’.
He said, “To describe these motions as merely ‘criticising Israel’ is completely disingenuous. These motions redefine Judaism and call for Jews—and Jews alone—to be denied the right to self-determination. For those reasons, these motions are antisemitic and should be condemned.”
Mr Leibler continued, “These student unionists appear unaware or uncaring about the devastating impact their motions are having on Jewish wellbeing on campus. Zionism is Jewish self-determination and emotional connection to homeland. Every ethnic community in Australia has an emotional connection to their homeland. Jews are no different. The overwhelming majority of Jewish students on Australian campuses have an emotional connection to Israel—that is, they are Zionists. To describe Zionism as racism is a racist attempt to deny Jews the right to their own identity. It is extraordinary that in modern Australia one ethnicity is singled out and excluded. If any ethnicity other than Jews were singled out, the very students passing these resolutions would be up in arms in protest.”