Sydney uni SRC endorses academic boycott of Israel

Australian Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Sydney released the statement below on April 12, after the Student Representative Council voted to support an academic boycott of Israel.


The Student Representative Council (SRC) at the University of Sydney passed a motion this week endorsing Associate Professor Jake Lynch’s academic boycott of Israel.

The statement, which the SRC voted to sign and publish, said: “Israel is a state that systematically defies international law. It has occupied Palestinian territories in defiance of the UN Security Council for over 40 years, expanding settlements which are regarded as illegal by the international community.

“Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is a non-violent and effective strategy to help end Israeli impunity and move towards the realisation of the Palestinians' rights. The Hebrew University is clearly implicated in the illegal occupation as its Mount Scopus campus occupies land in East Jerusalem which is internationally recognised as being on the Palestinian side of the Green Line.”

Technion University is involved in manufacturing [remotely piloted] aerial vehicles and the building of [an] illegal separation wall annexing Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The statement said: “Technion ... is an Israeli university uniquely and directly implicated in war crimes. [Its] research history includes the development of the remote control D9 bulldozer used to demolish Palestinian homes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and it has strong links to Elbit Systems — the company that produces technology for the apartheid wall declared illegal by the International Court of Justice.”

NSW Labor MP Lynda Voltz said it is appropriate for the SRC, given its strong tradition of supporting oppressed people and justice, to support academic staff in calling for an end to ties with Technion.

“Israel continues to ignore the United Nations. It builds illegal settlements on the land of the Palestinian people, destroys their houses, builds a wall around their homes and blockades the port of Gaza to punish the 1.6 million men, women and children who live there,” she said.

“Israel does not listen to words or motions and continues to abuse human rights and to act in violation of international laws. As in South Africa, it is only through the peaceful actions of campaigns such as the BDS that any change will happen.”

The statement has been endorsed by Mary Kostakidis, the convener of the Sydney Peace Prize jury and co-winner of the University of Sydney Alumni Award for Community Achievement, and Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees who is the chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation.
Australian Students for Justice in Palestine executive Jennine Abdul Khalik said she commended the SRC for choosing to stand on the right side of history.

“Australian universities, including the University of Sydney, need to condemn Israeli apartheid and follow the example of academic institutions and student unions throughout North America, Europe, and South Africa that have endorsed BDS and boycotted and divested from Israel.”