Survey finds two thirds of Jewish students face anti-Semitism, anti-Israel attacks at university
Daily Telegraph, 15 August 2023
Leftist groups on campuses across the country have been “ostracising” and harassing Jewish students, with a national survey revealing two thirds of Jews have faced anti-Semitism from their university peers – and staff.
Jewish university students are hiding their faith and not turning up to class to avoid being targeted and harassed, as controversy over the actions of the Israeli government erupts into anti-Semitism on campuses across the country.
A national survey has revealed nearly two thirds of Jewish students say they’ve experienced some form of anti-Semitism at uni, and one in five have avoided campus because of it.
A quarter of the 560 students surveyed by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) specifically said they’d been singled out or excluded over Israel, and 37 per cent said they’d seen Israel compared to Nazi Germany.
In their anonymous responses, students reported being excluded from or even abused by left-leaning clubs, and had even been targeted by university staff.
“The socialist movement has said things to me, including calling me a “dirty Zionist Jew” as someone who is clearly a religious student with kippah, tzitzit and a beard,” one wrote.
Alissa Foster, AUJS president, said anti-Israel sentiment on university campuses has spiralled into harassment of Jewish social clubs by pro-Palestinian activists and their allies.
“(Jewish students) are not welcome in progressive spaces on campus regardless of their actual political opinions … if you are associated with Israel, if you are Jewish, then you must support and condone racism,” she said.
“At a recent orientation week (at UNSW), there was actually a staff member of the university that came up to our stall, where we had the Star of David on one of our flags, and told us that it’s incredibly inappropriate that we’re displaying religious symbols up on campus, and that … Palestinian students are going to feel uncomfortable,” she said.
While 64 per cent of students nationally said they had experienced anti-Semitism on campus, the rate was higher still at some NSW institutions, including UNSW (68 per cent), Macquarie University (76 per cent), and the University of Sydney (77 per cent).
A spokesperson for UNSW confirmed there is no policy banning the display of religious iconography or flags on campus, and said the university “is concerned that a survey has indicated an anti-Semitism problem on campus”.
“Our university is a place where many different views and opinions are expressed and vigorously debated. We expect students, staff and the broader UNSW community to treat others with respect,” they said.
Macquarie University “is reviewing the findings” and “does not tolerate anti-Semitism, nor any form of harassment, bullying and discrimination”, while the University of Sydney is “very disturbed by these survey results”.
“Everyone should feel safe and welcome on our campuses, and we are very sorry to anyone who has had a different experience,” the USYD spokesperson said.
Zionist Federation of Australia director of public affairs Dr Bren Carlill said the results “are depressing, but not at all surprising” and that universities need to “sit up and take notice”.
“Israel can and should be criticised like any other country but when a Jewish student is singled out and discriminated against because of a country’s actions, that is crossing the line,” he said.