Student body joins boycott of Israel
- THE AUSTRALIAN
- JULY 23, 2014
A MELBOURNE University student association has voted for an academic and artistic boycott of Israel, as the global boycott, divestment, sanctions campaign gains ground on Australian campuses.
The move was sparked by Israel’s offensive against the Palestinian Hamas movement in Gaza, but also by the publicity which surrounded the abortive lawsuit launched by Israeli legal activist group Shurat HaDin against Sydney University academic Jake Lynch.
On Monday the council of the 1200-strong Victorian College of the Arts Student Association passed a resolution to join the BDS campaign, in a unanimous vote.
The council described the BDS movement initiated by Palestinian civil society organisations as “a nonviolent tactic to marginalise the apartheid state of Israel”. “The VCA Student Association calls on all VCA students and the VCA not to participate in conferences or artistic collaborations with institutions of the Israeli state or institutions that collaborate with Israel,” a council statement said.
The co-ordinator of the student association, James Crafti, said he came from a Jewish family, but he and another Jewish member on the student council had decided they could not tolerate the actions of Israel. He said Professor Lynch, who last week won a court battle over his support for BDS, had “inspired a lot of us” to join the movement.
The executive director of the Executive Council for Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, said the students’ resolution was “far more damning of the handful of activists who pushed it through than of Israel”.
“It ignores the rocket attacks against Israeli cities, and tunnel intrusions into Israeli territory by Hamas to attack civilians in pursuit of its genocidal charter; Hamas’s cynical use of its own civilians as human shields; and the fact that it is Israel which has accepted the ceasefire proposals brokered by Egypt and endorsed by the Arab League, and Hamas which has rejected them.”