AUJS wins a motion on antisemitism at the National Union of Students conference

December 15, 2017 Agencies
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Antisemitism is often dismissed as a phenomenon of the past in public debate and academic discourse. Too often, people mistakenly assume that anti-Semitism is merely historical.

This was the opening of AUJS’s preamble to the students’ body motion at the National Union of Students conference.

The preamble continued: “Shockingly, the opposite is true. 2017 saw a 9.5% rise in recorded anti-Semitic incidents and a huge increase in anti-Semitic activity occurring on campus.

The systematic Holocaust Denial campaign which saw the distribution of leaflets across nearly every campus in Australian is but one example. In 2017, Jewish students were attacked for simply wearing religious clothing, campuses were vandalised with swastikas and horrific statements and accusations were made against Jewish students participating in campus elections.

In an increasingly hostile campus environment, it is hard for Jewish students to feel safe and protected. Therefore, it is vital that the National Union of Students, the peak representative body of Australia’s tertiary students, acknowledges and takes action to prevent rising anti-Semitism, both on a campus and within its own institution, similar to NUS UK.


1. NUS condemns anti-Semitism in all its forms as defined by the globally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition. This is the working definition used by the Australian and many international Jewish Community bodies. It states that:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”.

  1. NUS commits to working with the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), as the peak representative body for Australasian Jewish students, to ensure NUS activist spaces, events, protests and ethno-cultural spaces are inclusive and welcoming of Jewish voices and perspectives, without any pre-qualifications necessary for Jewish students to attend and/or feel included.


  1. NUS will endeavour to provide Kosher food as an option at all NUS functions/events.


  1. NUS will assist AUJS in making representations to universities for special consideration and exam requirements due to Jewish holidays and Sabbath services, and ensure appropriate prayer room and religious centre facilities are available to those in need.

    3. The NUS National EthnoCultural Officer will work with AUJS to run a campaign/survey, focusing on the effects of anti-Semitism on Australian campuses. This was run with tremendous success by the UK NUS in 2016-2017 and revealed some horrifying statistics.

4. NUS will formally recognise and publicise January 27, as designated by the United Nations General Assembly, as International Holocaust Remembrance Day; and work with AUJS in either partnering or sharing material designed to educate and commemorate the horrors of the Holocaust.
The motion was carried.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry congratulated the National Union of Students (NUS) for passing an historic resolution at its National Conference today which explicitly “condemns antisemitism in all its forms as defined by the… International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)”.

In a statement ECAJ said: “The IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism includes, among other things, “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel”, making “stereotypical allegations about Jews controlling the media, economy, government and other societal institutions,” “denying the Jewish people their right of self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavor”, and “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”

The text of the resolution passed by the NUS National Conference and the course of action prescribed by the resolution to counter antisemitism on Australian campuses, is entirely sensible, uncontroversial and in keeping with the legal and moral duty of Australian public institutions to operate free from racial discrimination.

This resolution was long overdue. The ECAJ and our campus-based affiliate, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), have for a considerable time warned of an increasingly toxic atmosphere on Australian campuses for Jewish students, both as a result of resurgent neo- Nazi/far-right antisemitism and persistent far-left antisemitism.

The resolution was passed with the support of student groups affiliated to both factions of the Australian Labor Party, the Liberal Party of Australia, and all independent and unaffiliated delegates.

It is shameful that the Trotskyist group, Socialist Alternative, abstained on the motion. Its representatives have acted in the worst traditions of Marxist dogmatism, giving a higher priority to adhering to the “correct” party line than to following the dictates of conscience and upholding the anti-racist principles for which they supposedly stand. This makes a mockery of their professed commitment to human rights and social justice and lays bare a deep prejudice and contempt for their Jewish fellow students, and Jewish Australians generally. Such double standards have become typical of contemporary far-left discourse and activism. Instead of slavishly following the example of Trotskyist groups overseas, it would be refreshing to see these young minds doing what university students are supposed to do, by learning to think for themselves.

We express the sincere hope that the leaders of Socialist Alternative will take stock of the fact that they alone have chosen to dismiss the concerns of Jewish Australian students about racism and exclusion on campus, and have effectively rejected the right of an historically oppressed community to identify what racism against it consists of.

We commend the delegates at the National Conference of the National Union of Students who voted conscionably and responsibly to act against antisemitism in all its grotesque forms, and look forward to seeing real action against antisemitism and other forms of racism by the student community.”


One Response to “AUJS wins a motion on antisemitism at the National Union of Students conference”
  1. john nemesh says:

    we should publicly expose, print and highlight the names of thr Socialist Alternative members who would not vote against anti semitism.
    The gloves should once again be taken off–as they were in the mid 70s

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