Last week the University of Melbourne Student Union passed a motion called ‘UMSU Stands with Palestine – BDS and Solidarity Policy’.  We are delighted by the students who initiated and voted for the statement, which is a landmark moment in student activism in Australia, and comes as part of a growing moment internationally, where more and more people – including Jews – are recognising that Israel is a racist, colonial apartheid state.

Was the motion perfect? No – just like any other political statement it has its flaws. But we can pick apart the minutiae and the expression, or we can have a good faith reading of the motion, and recognise that this is about Palestinian sovereignty and freedom. We can recognise that it’s about international solidarity. 

We reject the idea that Palestinians and their supporters are the cause of a lack of safety for Jews on campus. To the contrary, the University of Melbourne’s all too quick and over the top condemnation of the UMSU motion marginalises and abjectifies Palestinians making them all the more susceptible to racism and abuse.  

We note that Australian university campuses – given that they are inherently colonial institutions, built on stolen land and out of stolen wealth – are hostile places for Indigenous peoples, firstly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and secondly Indigenous peoples from around the world. 

The Palestinian struggle against Israeli colonialism is one part of a global struggle, fighting for an end to all colonialisms, imperialisms and the racism they generate. Antisemitism is one such racism, making any true struggle to end antisemitism a struggle in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Zionism does not and will never liberate Jews because it aims at uprooting us from diaspora; a dream for antisemites everywhere. It dispossesses Palestinians and offers a false form of liberation through violent ethnonationalism. 

Australian Zionist organisations and youth movements don’t speak for us –  their response to the UMSU motion has ranged from nonsensical to chauvinistic and solipsistic. Palestinians’ steadfast courage in the face of colonial dispossession sets the example for us to resist Zionism in our own families and communities. We’re creating different kinds of Jewish homes and communities; ones which are expansive, guided by justice and solidarity, and based in a true plurality of Jewish life and experience. We celebrate Jewishness in all its expressions and we celebrate the lives we lead amongst Jews and non-Jews around the world, where we should belong. We invite you to join us. We invite you to stand with us as we support Palestinians in their ongoing struggle for freedom. 

Quit your Zionist youth movements! Anti-Zionist Jews, wherever you are in your journey, you’ve got a home with us!

Loud Jew Collective

Jews Against the Occupation

Tzedek Collective

Jews Against Fascism