Another year, another term and the antisemitism still raises its ugly head

March 9, 2018 by Hila Tsor
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Despite most universities only resuming semester one this week there has already been alarming reports of antisemitism and discrimination at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville Campus and La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus.

AUJS members

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) and National Union of Students (NUS) released a joint statement addressing the incidents and their responses – which is a continued collaboration to battle antisemitism.

The AUJS and NUS statement summaries the reports by the student newspapers Farrago and Bendigo Advertiser: “two men were handing out leaflets stating “it’s okay to be white,” at the University of Melbourne. The men allegedly called one student a “faggot” and spat in front of another student who identified herself as Jewish after being questioned about her ethnicity by the assailant. On the same day[…] signs from the neo-Nazi group ‘Antipodean Resistance’ were plastered across La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus. […] Antipodean Resistance posters were also recently found at Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus and Bendigo South East College.”

The statement emphasises that a united front will be taken by both organisations in order to fight further discrimination and asks other student unions and education institutions to take a stand alongside them.

In December 2017 AUJS executives attended the National Union of Students’ National Conference and successfully passed the resolution “We Must Act Against Antisemitism”. The resolution ensures that NUS condemns antisemitism and partners with AUJS to fight against discrimination.

AUJS National Political Affairs Director, Noa Bloch, explains the 2018 joint goals of AUJS and NUS through their partnership: “In 2018, AUJS and NUS will collaborate to ensure the globally recognised IHRA definition of antisemitism is adopted at campuses, across Australia […] AUJS and NUS look forward to implementing an educational campaign across universities to further awareness of antisemitism and discrimination. A comprehensive educational campaign is especially integral, in light of the deeply concerning reports of antisemitism and discrimination on university campuses during the first week of classes.”

One of AUJS’s four pillars is Activism, which affirms their commitment as a Jewish student organisation to be an active voice for Jewish students at university. AUJS’s key responsibility on campus is to ensure Jewish students feel safe – a goal which is shared by NUS.

The shared statement states that AUJS and NUS will liaison with university admin and student unions in order to create a tolerant campus environment for not only Jews but for all minority groups.

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