University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council Votes to Support BDS


The following motion was passed by the University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council

Active Solidarity to Palestine and Support for BDS


University institutions are complicit in human rights violations against indigenous peoples across the globe, from here on Gadigal land, to Palestine. Violations can range from support and normalisation of the colonial state, discriminatory admittance policies, like systematically preventing racialised groups to attend university, but also through indoctrination and misinformation. Universities have a lot to answer for, and student unions have a duty to fight this fight and hold their universities accountable. 

As a settler-colony, Israel has created various systems and structures to take over Palestinian land: a military occupation to suppress resistance, ethnic cleansing to achieve demographic targets and land theft, and an apartheid system of governance to give privileges to one people while denying the rights of others. 

Palestinians have called for non-violent global solidarity action in the form of boycott, divestment, and sanctions upon the State of Israel, until it recognises the rights of Palestinian people to self-determination and fully complies with international law. As a student union, we must stand on the right side of history and demand justice and an immediate end to the oppression of Palestinians by the State of Israel. Palestinians have told us what they seek from us in global solidarity: boycott, divestment and sanctions; boycotts of institutions complicit in the settler-colonial project, divestment from corporations which profit from the injustice and calling for sanctions on the Apartheid state until it complies with international law. 

The Australian government proudly proclaimed their support for the boycott movement against Apartheid South Africa – so why won’t Australia support a BDS movement against Apartheid Israel? It’s been made clear time and time again that there are double standards which apply to Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination. These double standards are deeply rooted in islamophobia, anti-Arab racism and Western imperialist interests. 

In an attempt to silence criticism of Israel and intervene in grassroots mobilisation for Palestinian liberation, Zionist lobby groups have been pressuring universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, in which 7 of its 11 examples of conduct said to constitute antisemitism directly refer to conduct regarding Israel. Particularly problematic is the example alleging that it is antisemitic to deny “the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour”. This working definition has been used to suppress advocacy for Palestinian rights (for example, at universities).


  1. The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council recognises the complicity of universities across the globe in violations against indigenous peoples.

  2. The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people living under an Apartheid state.

  3. The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council supports the BDS movement in their calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions to achieve freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians.

  4. The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council rejects attempts to collapse Judaism and Zionism and reaffirms its position that anti-Zionism is anti-racism. 

  5. The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council opposes the institutional adoption of the IHRA working definition of Antisemitism as it has been used to silence and discipline pro-Palestinian advocacy and activism. 

  6. The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council rejects normalisation with the State of Israel.


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