Sydney University student council votes for academic boycott of Israel

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – The student council of a major university in Sydney called for an academic boycott of Israel.

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Sydney University’s Student Representative Council voted last week in favor of a boycott of Israeli institutions. “All academic co-operation [is] to be cut with Technion University in Haifa,” part of the resolution read.

In a heated debate, supporters of the motion claimed the Technion was associated with the Israel Defense Forces as well as weapons manufacturers.

Andrew Goldberg, national chairperson of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, said the resolution was “an attempt to force the extremist, anti-Israel BDS policy onto the entire student body without a mandate.”

In a counter-campaign, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students this week launched a petition to rescind the motion on, branding the student representative council’s resolution “a stain on The University of Sydney’s history.”

The petition said: “The Technion is at the forefront of the world in medicine, sciences, engineering and technology. Universities in Australia should be promoting exchange with such institutions, with the shared view of bettering the world.”

Zionist Federation of Australia president Philip Chester said the campaign had been compared to those at Cornell University in America and McGill University in Canada. “However, neither institution caved in to such pressures by terminating its relationship with the Technion,” he said.

Sydney University’s Andrew Potter said: “The vice-chancellor and the university welcome student debate and opinion but disagree with the SRC on this issue.”

Meanwhile, plans to open a Max Brenner chocolate shop at the University of New South Wales, also in Sydney, have been attacked by Students for Palestine, which launched a campaign this week against the Israeli-owned chain, The Australian newspaper reported

They claim Max Brenner is complicit in “war crimes” because it is owned by the Strauss Group, which produces goods for the Israeli military.

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