Joint statement with ZFA, ECAJ, 5As, AUJS, NSWJBD

Official Statements

The Zionist Federation has released a joint statement with the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, the Australian Academic Alliance Against Antisemitism, and the Australia Israel & Jewish Affairs Council. The statement is in regards to the agreement the University of Sydney reached with encampment protesters.

We are appalled and deeply concerned by the agreement that was reached on June 21 by the University of Sydney and representatives of protesters who had camped on the University’s grounds for the previous eight weeks. Many of the protesters were from outside the University, yet they were allowed to menace the University community and disturb campus life without challenge. They have now been rewarded for doing so.

The University entered into an agreement with a group acting in concert with the extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation to participate in a working group to review the University’s investments and defence and security-related research activities. No other university in Australia has gone this far.

The University of Sydney agreement has been widely and rightly condemned as a capitulation by the University and celebrated by extremists.

A group working in concert with Hizb ut-Tahrir declared last Friday that “[Our] resilience has worked in our favour across many fronts, most particularly being the catalyst for the negotiations with the Uni.”

This agreement can only act as an incentive for further and more extreme disruption at the University in the future.

Leading national security experts, including Peter Jennings and Dennis Richardson, have rightly raised serious questions about the University’s capacity to conduct sensitive national security research in light of this agreement. Others have questioned the appropriateness of continued federal funding to the University of Sydney.

Based on our interactions to date, we have lost confidence in the capacity of the University to provide for the physical, cultural and psycho-social safety of Jewish students and staff members. This is not just our view.

We have been made aware that several academic staff, some of them leaders in their fields and employees of long standing, have already notified the University of their decision to leave the institution. We have also been informed that a number of Jewish students are now considering shifting to other Universities.

We have also rejected the University’s offer, extended to us after an agreement had been reached behind our backs, to participate in the proposed process to review the University’s investment and research activities. The process is in our view a sham and we will have nothing to do with it. We encourage all individuals and groups of standing likewise not to engage with or lend credibility to such a fundamentally flawed process.

We continue to explore all options to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff at the University of Sydney and stand ready to provide support and assistance to Jewish students and staff at the University, as well as those who now wish to leave the University.

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