Sydney union will vote for an academic boycott of Israeli universities

Sydney union will vote for an academic boycott of Israeli universities
Image: Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) participate in a strike at the University of Sydney on March 31, 2023. (AAP Image/Flavio Brancaleone)

by RAQUEL BLANKEVOORT

 

At 1pm today, the USyd (University of Sydney) branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) will vote on a motion to adopt an academic boycott of Israeli universities.

This vote comes after pressure from the ongoing student encampments and their protests for the University of Sydney to cut ties with Israel.

Students at the encampments will be able to support the vote.

President of NTEU Nick Riemer from the USyd branch told ABC‘s Madeleine Hanger, “We are not calling for a boycott of academics who just happen to work at Israeli Institutions and universities. We are asking USyd to cut ties with Israeli universities institutionally.”

“That means we are opposing any institution-level collaboration between our universities and universities in Israel.”

This would include exchanges, fellowships, joint funding schemes and any other bilateral collaborations.

“We are also calling for the university not to collaborate in any way with the leaders of Israeli universities like the deans or presidents, because they have made themselves accountable for the university’s support for this permanent war on Palestine,” he continued.

He emphasised it would be an institutional boycott, not a boycott on individuals.

NTEU has over 27,000 members and offices on campuses at most universities. According to their website, they aim to provide a collective body of representatives to support a safe and secure employment environment for staff and students.

The Students Against War (S.A.W.) campaign posted on their Instagram page inviting all protesters to join them on campus grounds to encourage and support all staff to vote towards an academic boycott.

In a statement, S.A.W. said, “If this motion is passed, it will consolidate staff support of the demands students have established for the uni to cut ties with Israel through the encampments, and could potentially inspire motions to be passed in other branches of the NTEU.”

“A united fight of students and workers is the sort of fight we’ll need if we want to force this university to cut ties with Israel.”

Students began their encampment on the Quadrangle Lawn on the 23rd of April, gathering and protesting in solidarity and support of Palestinians affected by the war in Gaza. Since then, students across the country have established similar encampments all demanding their universities to cut ties with Israeli trades and universities.

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