The University of Sydney’s Student Representative Council (SRC) last week passed a motion endorsing the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the state of Israel and has called to end to all ties with the Israeli Technion Institute of Technology, located in Haifa.
The SRC said in a statement that it is “endorsing Associate Professor Jake Lynch’s academic boycott of Israel”, the Australian Jewish News (AJN) reported.
Lynch, a prominent BDS supporter, first came under fire last year for refusing to assist an Israeli professor, who works to build bridges between Israelis and Arabs, in his application for a fellowship on the basis that he was Israeli.
The SRC also accused the Technion of being “uniquely and directly implicated in war crimes”.
The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) has called for the SRC to rescind the “divisive and counterproductive” motion.
National chairperson Andrew Goldberg denounced the resolution as “an attempt to force the extremist, anti-Israel BDS policy onto the entire student body without a mandate and without any real debate among students on campus”, AJN reported.
“The SRC has let down the students it should be representing by indulging in empty posturing on foreign policy issues which they do not understand and have grossly oversimplified,” he said.
“Ironically, the Technion university happens to have a significant percentage of Arab faculty and students, which makes boycotting it illogical,” added NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff, according to AJN.
A spokesperson for the university’s vice-chancellor said the university does not support the SRC motion. “The University of Sydney does not consider the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy appropriate and it is not University of Sydney policy.”
President of the Technion Society of Australia, Ken Lander, said the motion “demonstrates that the SRC is out of touch with the realities of the world”.