On Wednesday, the University of Sydney and UNSW branches of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) both passed motions calling on members to “participate in active solidarity with Palestinian members, including in ongoing demonstrations.”
The USyd motion passed with 78% of members in favour, while 9% were against and 12% abstained.
The motions decried “Israel’s violent ethnic cleansing and settler-colonialism” and “call[ed] attention to” appeals for “academics worldwide to boycott Israeli universities until such time as…basic prerequisites for justice were achieved.”
The USyd motion noted that 70 members of staff had pledged to “not engage in any professional association with Israeli academic, research or government institutions…until Israel complies with international law and elementary principles of human rights.”
The USyd motion called on “other branches of the NTEU to also express support for the Palestinians in their struggle for justice and equality.”
While the USyd motion stopped short of endorsing a position on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), the UNSW NTEU branch resolved that the branch “will consider a formal endorsement of BDS at the conclusion of the upcoming EA round.”
Dr Nick Riemer, a member of the USyd NTEU branch, told Honi that the motion “was an important statement that opposing apartheid, ethnic cleansing and war crimes is union business.”
“Civil society and unions are standing with Palestine all around the world. It was only appropriate that Sydney University unionists play their part, and it was very encouraging to see the motion being both recommended by the Branch Committee and overwhelmingly passed by members.”
Meanwhile, Adam Levy, the President of the USyd branch of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, told Honi that “the real intent [of the motions] is not to do anything constructive to further a just resolution of the conflict but rather to demonise Israel and Israelis with simplistic slogans and a wilful blindness.”
“Supporters of these resolutions continue to wage a campaign that has done nothing to help bring peace to the region — and everything to carry water for terrorist organisations like Hamas.”
Both motions can be read in full here.