Tuesday, 5 November 2013

letters 2/11 Sydney University's stance risks its reputation

Sydney University's stance risks its reputation

SYDNEY University vice-chancellor Michael Spence's backing of Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies director Jake Lynch's actions as "academic freedom" is pure sophistry and nonsense ("Inside Jerusalem's university of freedom", 1/11).
Stopping the Hebrew University's Dan Avnon's visit is obviously aimed at preventing Avnon from exercising the academic freedom needed to counter Lynch's misrepresentations.
The important principle is the search for truth and when support is given to those who would suppress it under the guise of academic freedom, truth and freedom suffer.
Spence and others are surely aware that no form of freedom is without
limits, which in this case can easily be identified and applied. He should cease his moral indignation and deal with the abuses of academic freedom rather than nurture them.
Keith Johnson, Alstonville, NSW
CONGRATULATIONS on your story about the Hebrew University and its outstanding reputation for tolerance in the face of offensive and ignorant comments and actions from people such as some academics at Sydney University.
As an alumni with the third generation of my family doing medicine there, I am sure that graduates are horrified at what is being tolerated from the alleged Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
As a medical student after World War II, much of our superb teaching was by Jewish consultants who had served with distinction. They were extraordinary men who left a wonderful legacy to the university.
Surely Sydney University's leaders can't continue to excuse the behaviour of people on the staff who are the antithesis of what we expect from those teaching the next generation.
Alan Hewson, Hamilton East, NSW
WHILE Sydney University's vice-chancellor stoutly avers the right of all his staff to speak on any subject, he should understand that misinformed or untenable arguments will destroy the credibility of his staff and erode respect for his university.
It strains credulity that Michael Spence's motive over the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel is simply in defence of academic freedom.
Michael McCabe, Southport, Qld
THE signs of a resurgence in anti-Semitism are deeply unsettling and have drawn a well-justified volley of letters to the editor. From the BDS movement on the one hand, wearing the rather threadbare cloak of pseudo respectability and exploiting everyone's right to freedom of expression (unless you manage a Max Brenner chocolate shop), to the more violent expressions of Jew baiting and hating in Bondi last weekend, anti-Semitism is making a comeback.
John McHarg, Baldivis, WA
GEORGE Fishman (Letters, 1/11) goes much too far saying "supporters of the BDS are a mask for hatred of Jews". The fact is there are many people like me who want to see Israel treat Palestinians in a humane and just way. Supporting the BDS is one small way of protesting against Israel, not the Jewish population.
Judy White, Rose Bay, NSW
THIS week the Greens condemned the anti-Semitic attack in Bondi. The Greens support a multicultural Australian society and we condemn all forms of racism and bigotry.
Suggestions (Letters, 31/10) that I am an anti-Semitism denier, or an anti-Semite are nonsense and offensive. I am critical of the Israeli government's human rights treatment of the Palestinian people but that does not make me anti-Semitic.
Apologists for Israeli treatment of Palestinians are resorting to false accusations of anti-Semitism in an attempt to silence those who are criticising human rights abuses.
Lee Rhiannon, Australian Greens senator for NSW, Surry Hills, NSW
- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/letters/sydney-universitys-stance-risks-its-reputation/story-fn558imw-1226751596785#sthash.mvGDyQ3F.dpuf

Last Post, November 2


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As a migrant, I have always said Australia is a tolerant and non-racist country.
But with Sydney University's attitude towards Israel and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, I am no longer so sure.
Iain Rae, River Heads, Qld
Perhaps Stuart Rees and Jake Lynch from the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University should study more peaceful ways to avoid conflict.
Arvid Taylor, Jewells, NSW

- See more at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/letters/last-post-november-2/story-fn558imw-1226751598609#mm-breached

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