Australia school wrong to sack lecturer over swastika on Israeli flag, judge rules

i24NEWS

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A protester waves a Palestinian flag during a demonstration against Israel at the Town Hall in Sydney, Australia, on May 15, 2021.
BIANCA DE MARCHI / AFPA protester waves a Palestinian flag during a demonstration against Israel at the Town Hall in Sydney, Australia, on May 15, 2021.

Tim Anderson, a far-left 'anti-imperialist,' is a known backer of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

The University of Sydney should not have fired a controversial academic who superimposed a swastika over an Israeli flag, as he did so under the protection of intellectual freedom, Australia's federal court judge ruled on Friday.

Federal court justice Tom Thawley found Tim Anderson’s comments were made under the protection of intellectual freedom and the university's decision to terminate him represented a breach of his contract.

Anderson, a far-left "anti-imperialist," was a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Economy when he was sacked in 2019 by the university where he worked from 1988 until February 2019. 

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The many controversies during his tenure included statements to the effect that an Australian journalist was a “traitor” due to authoring a story on the Armenian genocide and that former United States senator John McCain was a “key U.S. war criminal.”

Anderson was also part of a delegation that traveled to Syria in 2013, meeting with regime figures including the country's dictatorial leader Bashar al-Assad. He then said that Australian outlets were guilty of spreading “deceitful war propaganda” in support of a "terrorist war" against the "legitimate" Assad regime.

On this occasion, he superimposed a swastika over an Israeli flag in a slideshow presentation on media coverage of the Palestinian conflict.

The University of Sydney issued two separate warnings to Anderson – in 2017 and 2018 – before finally terminating him the following year.

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