PROMINENT leftist group Socialist Alternative (SA) has been deregistered as a club at Monash University for discriminating against Jews at one of its recent events.
The Clubs and Societies board at Monash made the decision at a meeting on Tuesday that SA can no longer book venues at the university and will not receive any student funds. It is also barred from running a stall at O-week and is unable to have its status as a university club reinstated for 12 months.
Sarah Garnham, a spokeswoman for the Socialist Alternative at Monash University, said the decision was a “complete attack on freedom of speech”.
She said the Jewish students were not welcome at the pro-Palestinian meeting, but said SA did not physically stop them from attending.
“We insisted that we were holding a pro-Palestinian meeting and that anyone who comes to the meeting support Palestine. That is the basis on which we were deregistered,” Garnham told The AJN.
She claimed that one of the Jewish students, who wanted to enter the meeting had “violently abused one of the people in the meeting in relation to their views”. Garnham went on to conflate Jewish students with Nazis, asking whether AUJS would allow “skinheads” to attend its meetings.
Garnham claimed the attempt to enter the meeting was “a set-up from the start by violent Zionists and right-wingers connected to the Liberal Party and connected to Christopher Pyne”.
“Zionists all over the country have been attacking Socialist Alternative.
“I see the deregistration as a political attack on our club and it has nothing to do with the facts. There is a national campaign against the Socialist Alternative, and more generally pro-Palestinian activists, that is being spearheaded by AUJS and helped along by the Young Liberals.”
AUJS political affairs director Matthew Lesh said he welcomed the decision to deregister the club.
“There has been substantial activity against Jewish students on campus,” Lesh said.
“The Monash Association has taken our concerns seriously and dealt with them.”
AUJS’s fight on campus in support of Israel will continue at Monash University today (Thursday) when it seeks to quash a motion before the Monash Student Council (MSC) which calls for it to “actively engage in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement”.
The motion seeks to bar the MSC from engaging in discussions about Israel that do not involve “the maintenance of the Monash Student Association’s participation in the BDS campaign”.
Socialist Alternative protestors taking part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in July. Photo: AAP Image/Newzulu/Mitchell Burke