7 June 2024

Protesters rally for 'freedom' as ANU announces work on new policies to crack down on anti-Semitism

| James Coleman
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Gaza encampment at ANU

Pro-Palestinian protesters are resuming their actions today. Photo: Supplied.

Another pro-Palestinian rally is welling up at the Australian National University (ANU) today (7 June), this time in response to the expulsion of two students for what Vice-chancellor Genevieve Bell described as “significant violations of the code of conduct”.

Professor Bell and other ANU executives faced a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday evening for their handling of the pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus grounds – the second time in its history the university has been called to give evidence.

It was confirmed two students have been expelled and a further 10 students have faced disciplinary processes since 7 October, when Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation in Australia, attacked Israel, killing 1139 people and taking 251 hostages.

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Student Beatrice Tucker, who was suspended last month, is one of two students to be expelled from the ANU this week.

During an interview with ABC radio in late April, Beatrice was asked if they wanted to send a message to Hamas for its actions on 7 October.

“I actually say Hamas deserves our unconditional support,” they replied.

“Not because I agree with their strategy – complete disagreement with that – but the situation at hand is if you have no hope … nothing can justify what has been happening to the Palestinian people for 75 years.”

Beatrice Tucker

Beatrice Tucker was expelled from the ANU. Photo: Beatrice Tucker, Facebook.

Professor Bell did not elaborate on the details of the expulsions, and in a statement, the ANU said it “does not comment on specific disciplinary matters”.

“However, the university can confirm it has a number of disciplinary inquiries currently underway for alleged behaviour or speech that contravenes our values as a community and which go against our codes of conduct,” the statement read.

“ANU takes these matters seriously and provides procedural fairness and support for all students.”

tent city at ANU

The ANU Gaza Solidarity Encampment was previously located in a fire evacuation area in the Kambri precinct and was ordered to move. Photo: Supplied.

The Students and Staff Against War (SSAW) group, of which Beatrice was a member, described the action as an “unprecedented, severe punishment to students exercising their academic freedom”.

Member Finnian Colwell told Region an organisational meeting ahead of today’s rally drew a record number of students.

“There’s widespread support for students having free speech, so when people heard … this university was the first one in the country to expel a student while they’re engaging in pro-Palestinian activism – yeah, lots of people are outraged by that.

“Of course, there’ll be differing views on the merits of what a particular activist said at one time or another – the campus is a pretty big place.”

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The SSAW supports the same general message of the ANU Gaza Solidarity Encampment and is calling for the ANU to cut its ties with Israel.

“ANU is complicit in genocide,” Finnian said.

“It must drop all disciplinary action against students and cut its Northrop Grumman internship, end its exchange programme with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and end all links with the Australian Signals Directorate, which helps run Pine Gap.”

In response to questions from Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqui and independent Senator Lidia Thorpe during Thursday’s Senate hearing, ANU Deputy Vice-chancellor Lachlan Blackhall argued the ANU’s stocks were selected by an “external investment manager” who’s required to meet various “socially responsible investment” conditions.

“I would completely reject the notion that ANU is involved in genocide,” he said.

Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson said Jewish students on campus felt “great distress” because of encampment protesters’ alleged usage of the slogan “free Palestine from the river to the sea” and the word “intifada”, which refers to an uprising.

Ms Henderson also tabled photos of signs on the campus that read, “If you are not with Palestine, you are a psychopath” and “Zionism is terrorism”.

Professor Bell agreed these were hateful and said executives were working to create a policy on what could be posted on campus, as well as updating about 400 policies to combat anti-Semitism. She said students using “hurtful speech” had been told to stop.

“Academic freedom and freedom of speech are not absolute.”

Distinguished Professor Genevieve Bell

ANU vice-chancellor Genevieve Bell said the ANU is drafting new policies relating to what kind of posters can be shown on campus. Photo: Andrew Mears, ANU.

As for the student who appeared to perform Nazi gestures at a meeting of the ANU Student Association (ANUSA) at its general meeting on 8 May, Professor Bell said the university was “incredibly concerned”.

“We sent a formal note … to ANUSUA on 14 May basically asking them to show cause on how they are functioning. We are now in receipt of their first response to that, but we are working through to get to a different kind of outcome.”

Finnian told Region none of the signs mentioned in the hearing were connected to SSAW members, and organisers have provided several placards for students to use in today’s rally.

“I would say some of the characterisations of specific slogans as anti-Semitic were just nonsense,” he said.

“If you want to take anti-Semitism seriously, you shouldn’t be bandying around the word in the way some right-wing politicians have been.”

Region has made attempts to contact Beatrice Tucker.

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How did we get here?

UN resolutions from 40 years ago stating Israel has illegally occupied Palestinian lands.

The ICJ has ruled this year that Israel is committing plausible genocide.

The actions of Israel disgust me.

I am not anti-any group. I am pro-Palestinian people.

Ordinary people abandoned by our international governing bodies. Collectively we have failed fellow humans.

Capital Retro5:47 pm 08 Jun 24

You chose a bad alias to comment on the abuse of human rights, Franco.

Those who weep for those killed on October 7th, please also weep for all those Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children killed BEFORE October 7th.
Look up what it means when Israeli soldiers came in to ‘mow the lawn’
You will see Israel is guilty of terrorism.
The way to keep Israelis safe is to free Palestinians from apartheid rule. That is what From the River to the Sea means, Palestinians and Israelis and others free to live between the River and the Sea.
Shame on the Australian govt for claiming that it is an anti-semitic statement.

“Those who weep for those killed on October 7th, please also weep for all those Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children killed BEFORE October 7th.”
I, and many others, do. And we continue to weep for those innocent non-combatants who have been killed in this conflict since October 7th – be they Palestinian, Israeli or foreign aid workers.

It is disingenuous to call out Israeli “terrorism” and not call out Hamas terrorism. Just as there are innocent victims on both sides of this conflict, there are guilty protaginists on both sides.

Protesting agains the Genocide in Gaza is not anti-semitic, it is disingenuous to claim that it is and playing into Israels disinformation campaign.

The ICJ has ruled that Israel is committing a plausible genocide, it has nothing to do with the their jewish heritage

If it was the Israeli’s who were being killed in their 10s of thousands and we and our allies were supplying weapons we would be standing up for them.

The Genocide convention was created in response to the attempted Genocide on the Israelis, now the Israelis are imposing Genocide themselves and shutting down any opposition by accusing people of anti-semitism.

We came out for Ukraine, we stood against apartheid in South Africa, we stood up for the Women’s vote, we stood against the Viet Nam War, we said it was illegal to invade Iraq when there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction – history will remember.

“Protesting agains (sic) the Genocide in Gaza is not anti-semitic …”
I agree the IDF actions against non-combatant Palestinians is abhorrent.

However, stating “unconditional support” for Hamas, a terrorist organisation which killed almost 1,200 Israelis and foreigners and took of over 250 Israeli citizens, is unconscionable and deserving of exactly the outcome that Beatrice Tucker and her fellow expelled student got.

None of those worthy causes you cite involved supporting terrorism.

Capital Retro4:47 pm 07 Jun 24

This is likely to happen again if these ratbags are not controlled:


While I agree that the slaying of innocent Palestinians is abhorrent and support the protestors on it, I have no compassion for this muppet (Beatrice Tucker). There can be no rationale which justifies supporting Hamas – a terrorist organisation.

I used to think that universities were producing leaders of the future, but realise they are now producing useful idiots

Julie Lindner2:16 pm 07 Jun 24

Doesn’t everyone put their finger under their nose to stop them sneezing when they are in public? Israel under Bibi and his rabid right-wing members should also be called terrorist they are no better
than Hamas!

@Julie Lindner
The ICC has sought to bring war crimes charges against the leaders of both Hamas and Israeli, including Netanyahu.

I guess Ukraine should back off too, according to you. They’re fighting for their existence as is Israel

Futureproof, perhaps you should wait until Ukraine has invaded Russia before attempting to draw that bow.

Capital Retro9:39 pm 08 Jun 24

How can an “occupied territory” be invaded by the occupier?

The Workplace Coach1:52 pm 07 Jun 24

Well done Professor Bell and the ANU. Sends a strong message that people must be prepared to be held accountable for their privately held opinions when expressed publicly.

Max_Rockatansky12:07 pm 07 Jun 24

“I think that people need to have a conversation with their kids and their grandkids, with their next-door neighbours, just about how evil the current Greens party is, that they’re nothing about the environment, they’re all about radical causes, and somehow Adam Bandt, who I think is unfit to be in public office, he has led a party now that is central to what we’re seeing on campuses, and the distribution of hate and antisemitic messages online, the chanting of ‘river to the sea’ and ‘intifada’ etc, and people, as we’ve talked about before, in the Jewish community, are living in fear, and when people say that this is a repeat of the 1930s, every decent honourable Australian should stand up to make sure that it’s not.” Peter Dutton, The Ray Hadley Morning Show, 2GB, 6 June 2024.

Any political leader who proposes simply that their elected opponents are “evil” rather than arguing their case is as unfit for public office as might be those whom they oppose.

To be fair though, Dutton is well-versed on a Hadley audience.

How can you repeat this poison?
Though it shows up Dutton for using the Trump playbook, accusing your opposition of what you do.

Of course, it’s the people protesting against bombing hospitals and schools that are evil. Typical of Dutton and 2GB.

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