A STUDENT newspaper in Sydney has been slammed for featuring a female suicide bomber who killed dozens of Israeli soldiers on its front page.
Honi Soit, which is produced by the University of Sydney’s student women’s collective, printed a large picture of Hamida al-Taher with a rifle in her hand on the cover of its women’s edition.
The issue, printed a fortnight ago, was dedicated to the struggle against “Israeli colonisation” and labelled al-Taher — who killed more than 50 people when she blew herself up in a notorious attack Southern Lebanon in 1985 — a “martyr”.
The pro-Palestine activist was a member of Syria’s Arab Socialist Ba’ath party.
Now, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) has hit back at the newspaper and called for a public apology over the front cover, and another front cover on April 16 which depicted a lit petrol bomb alongside words supporting a boycott of Israel.
“These editions of Honi Soit display a blatant disdain for Israeli victims of violence, an attitude that has left Jewish students feeling deeply alienated,” AUJS said in a statement.
“This attitude has no place at this university … AUJS calls on the teams who produced the special editions to issue a public apology and affirm their commitment to nonviolent paths to peace.”
The AUJS added the front pages were “deliberately alluding to and endorsing violence as a legitimate form of protest”. The organisation said it had raised a complaint with the University of Sydney.
However, Women’s officers Madeline Ward and Jessica Syed, who produced the al-Tahir cover, defended their actions in an online Honi Soit article.
“We were aware that Hamida al-Taher car-bombed an Israeli military encampment … (but) her actions occurred in the context of the Israeli invasion and occupation of Lebanon, i.e.: a war,” they wrote.
“We believe in and support the right for people to resist occupation and oppression, and that Hamida’s actions are far less shocking than the fact Israel murdered over 58 peaceful Palestinian protesters, the youngest of which being an eight-month-old baby.”
The newspaper’s president Imogen Grant reacted by saying AUJS was trying to stifle free speech. Meanwhile, Jazzlyn Breen and Ray Prout, titled “Queer officers” at the student women’s collective, defended their molotov cocktail cover graphic, adding that AUJS took it the wrong way.
“The molotov cocktail was very obviously in relation to the violent history of the queer liberation movement against the continued oppression which has targeted queer identifying people throughout modern history,” they said in a combined statement for Honi Soit.
Campuses are getting worse and worse.
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