History: National Higher Education Union at Sydney University votes to boycott Israeli universities

History: National Higher Education Union at Sydney University votes to boycott Israeli universities

On Thursday (May 9), the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Sydney (USyd) met to vote on whether or not the university should cut its ties with Israeli institutions.

An overwhelming 93% of members voted in favor of an institutional academic boycott of Israel and a halt to all weapons-related research, becoming the first Australian university to do so.

As relentless attacks continue on Gaza, pressure is mounting for Australian universities to cut ties with Israeli institutions. Student solidarity camps have been in place since April, and open letters written by staff and students call on the university to end its relationships with institutions or companies involved in arming the defense forces Israelis.

More than 80 people attended the meeting in person, and 250 people attended the meeting via Zoom.

This historic vote is the university's largest union meeting since the enterprise agreement.

Jake Stubley, a political economy and sociology student at USyd, involved in Students Against War (SAW) since the beginning of the camps, has addressed City Hub after the vote.

“The passage of the vote is a monumental moment for the movement,” he said. “It shows how students who take progressive and strong positions, such as the campaign “ Cut the ties » throughout the semester and camp, can embolden workers when active connections are built. »

“This means that the union is now forced to take action to try to implement this boycott, which is one step closer to industrial action on campus, which would be crucial to cutting ties as we are demanding. »

“I think this could be an important precedent for students and staff at Australian universities. »

Earlier on Thursday, NTEU President Nick Riemer of the USyd chapter told ABC's Madeleine Hanger: “We are not calling for a boycott of academics who work in institutions and universities Israelis. We ask USyd to cut ties with Israeli universities on an institutional level.”

“This means that we oppose any collaboration at the institutional level between our universities and Israeli universities. »

The vote comes after students began protesting and setting up solidarity encampments on campus, with hundreds of students across the country joining forces.

“It’s incredibly meaningful,” said Students Against War in a post on Instagram.

“Union action like this is the antidote to boss repression. She represents the way forward for campus campaigning,” the statement continued.

“Now, let's continue to organize to boycott all institutions that aid and abet genocide. »

All eyes are now turning to other universities to see if they will also get involved in cutting ties with Israel, as student encampments across the country continue their protests.

Source: City Hub

ED translation for the Palestine Media Agency