Jews in fear of hardline uni groups

RADICAL left-wing groups at Melbourne universities are exploiting tensions in the Middle East to promote anti-Semitism and recruit members, according to Jewish student groups.

"There's a real feeling of threat," said Deon Kamien, Victorian president of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students.

He said Jewish students for the first time felt targeted as Jews, rather than supporters of Israel. "When they walk past socialist stalls (on campus) they feel very uncomfortable, especially when called 'a f---ing Jew'," Mr Kamien said.

He said Students Against War and Racism gave out leaflets at Monash University recently that said Zionists were murderers and racists and "will not be tolerated on this campus".

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Official religious groups on campus say Middle Eastern tensions have not been apparent in Australia. The national heads of Muslim, Jewish, Catholic and Baha'i student groups released a joint statement when conflict broke out in Lebanon.

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Melbourne University Student Union president Jessie Giles said anti-war activists walked a fine line between attacking Israel's actions as a state, which was legitimate, and making students feel awkward over religion, which was not.

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