Australasian Union of Jewish Students

AUJS statement on attack on free speech at the University of Sydney

AUJS statement on attack on free speech at the University of Sydney

AUJS condemns vicious attack on free speech and intimidation of Jewish Students by student protestors led by Professor Jake Lynch.

By Aujs / March 11, 2015

At 1pm on 11 March 2015 at the University of Sydney, Colonel Richard Kemp gave a public lecture on the ethics of Military Tactics in recent conflicts to a large audience, amongst there were many Jewish students, before being aggressively interrupted by a group of students and professors.

Colonel Richard Kemp is viewed as one of the most internationally respected military analysts, after being commander of British Army forces in Afghanistan. He is well known for his analysis on the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, where he acknowledged the Israel Defence Force’s ethical military tactics to avoid civilian casualties.

The Colonel had been talking about militant groups in Ireland and Afghanistan when a group of students stormed into the lecture theatre and started shouting from megaphones “Richard Kemp, you can’t hide, you support genocide”, and proceeded to interrupt the event, aggressively resisting security when asked to leave.

“AUJS thoroughly condemns the highly aggressive tactics used by the purportedly ‘pro-Palestinian’ protestors to intimidate audience members and impede on their right to listen to a public lecture given by a highly respected expert, who happens to disagree with their view of the world”, AUJS National Political Director, Julian Kowal said.

“This aggressive attack on the academic pursuit of knowledge and information, as well as free speech, was undoubtedly intended to intimidate the largely Jewish student audience and make them feel unwelcome at the University of Sydney”

The group of protestors had been led in part by Professor Jake Lynch, the Director of the University of Sydney Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, who actively participated in the protest, shouting in the faces of Jewish students, obstructing the campus security’s ability to remove the protestors and filming the Jewish students in attendance without their consent. Professor Jake Lynch is an outspoken BDS advocate.

“AUJS calls on the University of Sydney to have all options available in deciding how to discipline Professor Jake Lynch for intimidating Jewish students by hurling verbal abuse and filming them after he was repeatedly asked to stop.

”Many of the Jewish students were traumatised by the highly confronting and violent experience, and will feel unsafe to attend future public lectures and events with the fear of further abuse.”


Photo: David Sokol.

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