Two in three Jewish uni students face anti-Semitism
The Australian, 14 August 2023
Almost two-thirds of Jewish university students say they have experienced anti-Semitism on campus, while some are avoiding going to university in person out of fear of vilification, a survey commissioned by peak Jewish bodies has revealed.
The nationwide survey by the Zionist Federation of Australia and the Australasian Union of Jewish Students found 64 per cent of Jewish students surveyed had experienced at least one incident of anti-Semitism during their time at university, which included Holocaust denialism.
Of the almost 600 students surveyed, more than half confirmed they had hidden their Jewish identify on campus to avoid anti-Semitism.
Only 14 per cent submitted complaints about anti-Semitic behaviour levelled against them.
“Avoiding campus at times, due to the anti-Semitic behaviour of others, was a reality for some. This preventive action was reported by 19 per cent of students surveyed,” the report stated.
AUJS NSW public affairs officer, Rachel Palmer, said the degree of anti-Semitism experienced by Jewish students was the worst she had seen in her five years at university.
She blamed the increase on the renewed focus on Israel and Palestine in the public debate.
Ms Palmer said there were also growing clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Jewish groups like AUJS on campuses across the country.
The survey results follow concerns in sections of the Jewish community about moves from Labor to strengthen official language against Israel.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong last week announced that the Albanese government would be “strengthening” its language and objections to settlements in Israel by affirming that these were “illegal under international law”.
The move was widely seen as an effort to limit the push from the Left of the party to force the Albanese government to recognise Palestine.
According to numerous Labor sources, the current language in the party’s platform on Palestine is not expected to change.
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils on Monday said while Senator Wong’s announcement was welcome, it “fell short” of the commitments made previously at the ALP National Conference that had called for Palestine to be recognised by the “next Labor government”.
“We urge the Australian government to continue down this path with the formal recognition of the Palestine state and calling on Israel to withdraw from all occupied territories,” AFIC president Rateb Jneid said.