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SRC Passes Motions on Palestine and Anti-Semitism

On 19 and 20 March, respectively, the St Andrews Students’ Association’s Student Representative Council (SRC) passed two motions that relate to the present conflict in Gaza. One regarding their position on Israel’s activity in Gaza, and one on antisemitism.  

The motion that passed on 19 March — entitled Motion on Palestine— recognises the ongoing violence in Gaza and the West Bank by Israel, including the number of people who have been killed, and recognises the ongoing humanitarian crisis in addition to acknowledging the present barriers to higher education that students in Gaza are facing. 

The SRC went on to draw parallels between the Palestinian apartheid and the South African apartheid. This motion underlined the significance of Students’ Associations during the South African apartheid and emphasised the desire to be a body for change. Further, the motion outlines the Association’s desire to empathise with Palestinian academic spaces under attack as a university. 

The Motion on Palestine agreed with the evidence presented at the International Court of Justice charging Israel with genocide and, as a result, called on Principal Dame Sally Mapstone to apologise for previous comments made to Rector Stella Maris, which denied the implication that Israel has not committed acts of genocide in Gaza. The SRC reaffirmed its commitment to protecting freedom of speech for all academics and students in addition to protecting the right to protest, which has recently been threatened by the UK Government’s proposed ban on the flying of Palestinian flags. 

The motion concluded by reiterating the University’s goals to assist in achieving a ceasefire in Gaza, to oppose the UK Government’s support of Israel, to support Palestinian academics in any way, to create a programme to rebuild Palestinian educational spaces once a ceasefire has been achieved, and offer increased scholarships to Palestinian students. 

On 20 March, a motion entitled Combating Antisemitism discussed the alarming rates of hate crimes committed against Jewish people across the UK. It acknowledged the intersecting issue of the present conflict in Gaza with the rise in antisemitic hate incidents, especially because two-thirds of antisemitic incidents in the UK happened after the 7 October attack. 

The motion further noted that in St Andrews, Jewish students have experienced a rise in antisemitism since 7 October. It went on to outline that the University of St Andrews has not adopted the somewhat controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism, but instead reviews it along with other sources, such as The Jerusalem Declaration. 

As a result of these worrying trends, the SRC resolved to provide resources to help students understand and combat antisemitism, give all sabbatical officers mandatory antisemitism training, and cultivate a good relationship with the Jewish Society and members of the Jewish community in St Andrews by promoting Jewish culture and Jewish voices. 

Image by the University of St Andrews


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