UMSU motion in support of Palestine

On 29 April 2022, the University of Melbourne Student Union passed a motion in support of Palestinians against the colonial oppression of Israel (see: apartheid in Israel). Unsurprisingly it was controversial, with Zionist lobby groups and the University of Melbourne’s own leadership condemning the students. The text of the motion is as follows:

9.4.1 UMSU stands with Palestine - BDS and Solidarity Policy

Preamble: In the late 1800s, Political Zionism was born to establish a Jewish home in Historic Palestine, disregarding the Indigenous Pal­es­t­in­ians living there. This colonial project has led to the establishment of the state of Israel, the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank through massacres, forced expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Pal­es­t­in­ians. Israel has been deemed as a settler colonial apartheid state. It continuously denies the native Pal­es­t­in­ians of their right to self-determination, freedom, dignity and equality. Inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the BDS call urges action to pressure Israel to comply with international law.

With the recent bombing of Gaza, Israel has carried out a police raid at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. Israeli forces have detained 500+ and injured 170+ Pal­es­t­in­ians in Jerusalem since the beginning of Ramadan. These Pal­es­t­in­ians were simply congregating and praying at the mosque, which is one of the few remaining public spaces for Pal­es­t­in­ians in Jerusalem.

Students in Palestine and around the world have been key participants in the fight against the illegal occupation of Palestine, protesting, organizing, and creating a discussion on respective campuses. Many student unions and associations across Europe, North America, and Australia have formally endorsed BDS or some version of solidarity, it’s long overdue for a clear and firm stance by UMSU on these crimes.

Policy, UMSU stances and actions: General Stance: UMSU stands against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and condemns the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Pal­es­t­in­ians

UMSU supports the self-determination of the Pal­es­t­in­ian people and their right to engage in armed struggle against their occupiers UMSU deems Zionism as a racist, colonial ideology

UMSU recognizes Pal­es­t­in­ians as the true owners of the territories and rejects Israel’s continued settlement expansion and annexation of Palestinian land

UMSU condemns the Australian government’s support for Israel and its ongoing crimes including occupation, settlement expansion and ethnic cleansing.

UMSU condemns any and all forms of anti-semitism against students of the Jewish faith UMSU recognises that Israel’s actions are not representative of the Jewish community. Similarly, Israel’s crimes are its responsibility alone and not that of Jewish people worldwide.

Academic Boycott: UMSU supports the academic boycott movement of Israeli institutions

UMSU calls on the university to participate in an academic boycott and cut ties with Israeli institutions, researchers, and academics that support the israeli oppression of Palestinians

Divestment Actions and support: UMSU calls on the university to divest from corporations implicit in the Israel apartheid Direct the CEO to update the UMSU ethical register and boycott companies that support and profit from the Israeli apartheid in line with the BDS Australia organization guidelines

UMSU publishes a statement prepared by the UMSU POC department and relevant student groups announcing this policy and its support for Pal­es­t­in­ian rights

To direct the General Secretary to update the UMSU stance booklet to reflect this policy and subsequent vote on it

To direct the President and POC officer to send a letter of support to the Australian center for international justice affirming UMSU’s support for Palestine on behalf of UMSU. We encourage officers and council to sign the following petition and show solidarity with Pal­es­t­in­ians

https://acij.org.au/australian-human-rights-community-solidarity-statement-with-palestinian-human-rights-organisations-defenders/(external link)

Mover: Hiba Adam
Seconder: Mohamed Hadi

Pretty much the only article I found that was sympathetic to the student union is this one from the Middle East Monitor: Citing Israeli apartheid, Melbourne University Students’ Union endorses BDS(external link)