Incident at the University of New South Wales

October 30, 2013 by J-Wire
Read on for article

Jake Campbell, a member of the AUJS National Executive, has complained of a recent incident of antisemitism during student council elections at the University of New South Wales.

Jake Campbell

Jake Campbell

Two students campaigning for the ‘Voice’ ticket danced around Mr Campbell while making Nazi salutes and singing ‘Springtime for Hitler’. Both campaigners, one of whom was standing for election, have since issued unequivocal public apologies. The elected councillor has also offered his resignation to the student council. Mr Campbell has accepted the apologies of both campaigners and accepts that they did not intend to offend him or the Jewish community, but that their conduct was nonetheless antisemitic.

The song ‘Springtime for Hitler’ is taken from Mel Brooks’ 1968 musical film The Producers. When viewed in its proper context, the song forms a part of a historically significant film & stage production, written by a Jewish filmmaker. However, this does not excuse the conduct of the campaigners, whose crude rendition of the song, accompanied by dancing and Nazi salutes, was extremely offensive and humiliating to Mr Campbell and a discredit to multicultural Australia in 2013.

In the aftermath of apologies being issued by the two campaigners, a number of students and friends of the two campaigners have spoken out against Jake for taking offence, defending the conduct of their friends and blaming Jake for going public with the incident.

This belittles the seriousness of the incident and has led to even more serious antisemitic comments online.

The Holocaust remains one of the great moral evils of our time and, with Holocaust survivors ageing rapidly, we bear a responsibility to ensure it is not forgotten, denied or belittled in any way. There cannot possibly be any acceptable circumstances for a Jewish student to be subjected to Nazi salutes in public. This incident, on the same day as a Jewish family were brutally assaulted and hospitalised by antisemitic thugs while walking home from a Shabbat dinner, underlines that racism and bigotry still exist in Australia, and that antisemitism poses a very real threat to Jewish Australians.

AUJS commends the two campaigners for handling the situation in a mature and responsible fashion. What concerns us more than the original incident, however, is the reaction of their friends. It is not acceptable to remonstrate against a victim of antisemitism for making his hurt public. It sends a dangerous message to students to justify such racially insensitive conduct, and it is surprising that this conduct has come from a progressive political ticket, to which Jewish students and AUJS members belonged and campaigned for. AUJS is committed to fighting all incidents of antisemitism, racism and bigotry against students. We welcome the apologies of these students and encourage them and all students who cannot recognise its offensiveness to visit their local Holocaust museum to gain a better understanding of its enduring significance. AUJS is willing to assist any students who wish to do so.

Comments

One Response to “Incident at the University of New South Wales”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    I wonder what these students are actually studying at the University of NSW? The Humanities comprising literature and history should be a staple requisite for any course these days to countermand the prevailing ignorance and lack of empathy in so many. Not that studying the arts guarantees anything … but at least therein lies a chance. You shouldn’t have had to endure their obscene and infantile acts, Jake Campbell, and good on you for making it public. Not to have done so would have left you feeling diminished and disempowered.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

    Rules on posting comments