Student unions divided over Palestine

February 28, 2009

While two student unions have recently passed motions in solidarity with Palestinians, ALP students withheld quorum at a Sydney university Student Representative Council meeting set to vote on a similar motion on February 18.

In response, the newly formed Students for Palestine has initiated a petition campaign calling for a student general meeting to allow Sydney university students to vote on the issue.

Towards the end of last year, Resistance members at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) were the first to move motions in support of the Palestinian people. The UWS Students Association voted to formally affiliate to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, launched in April 2004 by a group of Palestinian academics and intellectuals.

To date, the campaign has been endorsed by nearly 60 Palestinian organisations, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities Professors and Employees and the Palestinian NGO Network in the West Bank.

In February, the RMIT Student Union condemned "the Israeli government's recent war on the Palestinian people of the Gaza strip" and resolved to support an academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

A similar motion moved at the University of New South Wales was voted down by ALP students.

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