A debate on “ethno cultural policy” at the National Union of Students (NUS) Conference on Wednesday nearly ended in violence after it was hijacked by an aggressive group of far-left student delegates.
A conservative Palestinian student, a member of the Liberal club, was due to speak against the motion, but was prevented from doing so when some of the far-Left delegates stormed the stage, stole the microphone from his hand and moved a gagging motion against his right to speak. A number of NUS Delegates have also charged that proponents of the motion used gross racist language during the course of the melee.
“The supporters of the motion yelled the words ‘Jew’ and ‘Ashkenazi Jews’ as terms of abuse”, AUJS National Political Affairs Director, Julian Kowal said. “Their speech and behaviour was indistinguishable from that of the antisemitic fascist student unions of an earlier era.”
“ Overt Anti-Semitism could not be expressed in more simple terms than using the term “Jew” with the intention to defame or insult another individual.” AUJS is deeply concerned that the NUS conference is a space in which students feel comfortable to use “Jew” as an insult.
According to Kowal, Jewish students have been harassed, abused and assaulted numerous times at several Australian campuses in recent years. He named the University of Sydney as one of the worst for Jewish students. “We are simply not free to express our opinions if we support Israel, or even to wear clothing that identifies us as Jewish - some Jewish students have been abused, identifiable only by their religious head-covering”, he said.
“We report all assaults and incidents of harassment and intimidation, and the University authorities have admitted that they have a problem with racism and intolerance of so-called 'non-radical' views on campus, but they have done nothing to address this poisonous culture. There is a growing feeling of isolation amongst Jewish students.
"This motion is just the tip of the iceberg.” Kowal lashed the supporters of the motion as “people who cannot handle contradiction”. He accused them of “having a simplistic, reductionist mindset”.
“The fact that they had to resort to violent behaviour and overt racism, and censored a student from speaking in order to get their motion passed, shows that they are cowards who are afraid of the truth.
University authorities should not allow anybody, especially these fanatics, to behave as self-appointed censors and arbiters of ‘correct opinion’ on campus.”.