Media Statement: Urgent action to address antisemitism at Australian universities.

The increasing prevalence of antisemitism at Australian universities is extremely concerning.

Student surveys and anecdotal evidence both indicate that antisemitism was rising before the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks and has increased since the resulting Gaza war with many Jewish students experiencing exclusion and hostility.

Antisemitism has no place in our community, online spaces, or educational institutions. Every individual has the right to pursue their education in an environment free from discrimination, bigotry, and hatred.

We call on the government to do three things:

  • Appoint a special antisemitism envoy, as has occurred overseas, to engage with faith leaders, and other stakeholders, to understand the scope of the problem.
  • Conduct a judicial inquiry into antisemitism on campus to depoliticise an incredibly serious issue.
  • Support the recommendation of the University Accord report by conducting a study of racism on campus including a specific focus on antisemitism.

In support of our final proposal we have written to Education Minister Jason Clare, arguing that reliable research into the prevalence of antisemitism and all forms of racism is necessary to effectively address the scope of the problem.

Australia has a proud tradition of multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusivity. The rise of antisemitism in our universities contradicts our values.

Antisemitism is a unique problem that demands unique solutions, and we want to work with the government to help deliver an effective and enduring response.

 

Quotes Attributed to Allegra Spender, Independent Member for Wentworth:

“Since October 7, antisemitism on university campuses have reached alarming levels. I have spoken to many students who have recounted terrible instances of antisemitism. Many of them are no longer attending university and are hiding their Jewish identity”.

“We need a comprehensive plan to tackle antisemitism at universities and a robust and long-lasting response to this problem”.

“We can’t let the tragic war overseas create division in our country. Australia must continue to be a country which is welcoming of all people, regardless of faith, ethnic background, sexuality.

 

Quotes Attributed to Zoe Daniel, Independent Member for Goldstein:

“Jewish students, indeed, all Jewish people, deserve safety as they live, work and study in Australia. Antisemitism is against our character and values as a nation.

“The fact that it’s on the rise requires diligent research and data so that we can acknowledge it, address its drivers and find ways to combat it.

“Like many Australians I am horrified by the unfolding conflict in Gaza but those events should not be attributed to Jewish people in Australia, nor be used to ostracise Jewish students.”

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