Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia iStock

The student union at the University of Melbourne has endorsed the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) for the second time this year, sparking condemnation from Jewish students and advocacy groups.

The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) passed the motion 13-3 at a Monday meeting. The resolution accused Israel of “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing,” according to the Algemeiner.

In April, a previous BDS resolution passed by the UMSU that was described as “extreme” was rejected by the University of Melbourne, and then later withdrawn in May.

The new rewritten motion was accused of being antisemitic, with UMSU member Justin Riazaty, 22, retaining a law firm and writing a letter to the UMSU’s legal representatives calling for them not to put the motion to a vote, and describing it as “entirely disrespectful and indeed antisemitic” and “inconsistent with the purposes of the union,” The Age reported.

Riazaty, who is not Jewish, described on Friday the resolution as a “declaration of war against Jewish students and supporters of Zionism.” He added that any irregularities surrounding the resolution could be taken up in court.

After the original motion passed in April, the UMSU said in a statement: “The University of Melbourne Student Union is a self-governing body and operates as a separate entity to the University.”

The spokesperson said that the motion did not represent the position of the university and that the university did endorse or support it.

That measure was also blasted by the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) as “blatantly antisemitic” and “outrageous as it misrepresents Jewish students’ beliefs, misconstrues Zionism and incites hate."