Support for Jews on campus

Uni Melbourne rally for Jewish students and faculty

Organised by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), both students and faculty spoke about what it’s like for Jews on campus nowadays. 

Several hundred Melbourne Jews came together to support Jewish students at Melbourne University on Thursday.

The rally, held at University Square, was several hundred yards from the pro-Palestinian encampment at the University.

There was a substantial Police presence but no sign of any trouble.

Organised by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS), both students and faculty spoke about what it’s like for Jews on campus nowadays.

Steven Prawer, a professor of physics at the University of Melbourne and co-chair of the Australian Academic Alliance Against Antisemitism, told the crowd he has experienced anxiety and embarrassment over the past six months.

He said he was deeply embarrassed at the way the university has folded so easily in the case of academics who were scheduled to visit for academic exchange.

“The mere threat of disruption was enough for the cancellation of visits from Israeli academics, who were invited here as honoured guests. It seems that my anxiety is also shared by my colleagues who are scared by the threats” he said.

A Criminology student, Sarah Schwatrz, said a lecturer verbally supported a pro-Palestinian campus activity in class, and feels her complaint was not treated properly.

“As Jewish students, we no longer feel safe attending the university – we want nothing more than the same consideration and sensitive sensitivity that is regularly afforded to other groups. To my fellow students I urge you all to speak up; if we remain silent, we are letting them win” she said.

Holly Feldman, President of the Victorian branch of AUJs said “Just a few 100 meters away, we have seen protesters display hate speech and vilification at our university. We are already seeing vocal support for Hamas terrorists, glorification of violence against Jews, and radical nonstudent actors operating on our campuses across Australia”.

AUJS national president Noah Loven called on Australian universities to implement and enforce policies that clearly prohibit hate speech and not allow external extremist influences from infiltrating educational environments.

“Lastly, we demand increased support for Jewish students so they can ensure their physical and mental psychology psychological safety on campus, more security on campus” he said.

Thursday’s rally was publicly supported by the main Jewish roof bodies, the Zionist Federation, Zionism Victoria and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria.

read more: