A Holocaust denier, campaigning with current SRC ticket ‘Vanguard’ has been confronted at USyd today.
The student, identified as Sukith Fernando, editor of far right-wing website ‘The Unshackled’ was seen telling students that he “did not know” whether the Holocaust, a systematic genocide designed to exterminate European Jewry, Romani, Slavs, homosexuals, black people and Jehovah’s Witnesses under Nazi rule, had actually occurred.
Students asked Fernando whether he was a “Holocaust denier”, Fernando responded that if “me saying I don’t what happened makes me a Holocaust denier, then I am a Holocaust denier”. Fernando also refused to denounce the idea that the Holocaust is an “international conspiracy”.
Pulp understands that SRC Presidential candidate Brendan Ma has denounced Fernando saying "there is absolutely no room for anti-semitism, holocaust denial or other forms of racism and discrimination on this campus. On behalf of the Vision for Interfaith ticket and members of the Vision team who are also part of the Jewish student community we condemn what Fernando has said and written." SRC ticket Vanguard have endorsed Ma for President.
Fernando’s inability to accept the Holocaust as an historical fact, comes after a swathe of anti-Semitic events across Australian university campuses, as well as a Holocaust denier disseminating literature endorsing Holocaust denier David Irving in semester 1 as reported by Pulp.
Vanguard for SRC campaign manager and USU Board Director, Hengjie Sun, told Pulp that Fernando had been expelled from the Vanguard ticket "effective immediately". Sun condemned Fernando's views, telling Pulp that there should be "zero tolerance of anti-Semitism, racism, Holocaust denial and any form of discrimination on campus". He also apologised to anyone impacted by Fernando's views on behalf of the Vanguard for SRC ticket.
Lara Sonnenschein confronted Fernando, and told Pulp that she "spoke to him today for approximately 20 minutes, where he confirmed and reiterated that he is a holocaust denier."
As a "Jewish student", Sonnenschein told Pulp that she found Fernando's views "abhorrent."
"Students deserve a safe campus and such people should be deplatformed as they make our campus unsafe. I believe that Vanguard for SRC should not be running in the student representative council elections", she told Pulp.
Political director for AUJS, Ariel Zohar told Pulp that he was "thankful the quick condemnation and cooperation by the student leaders of tickets running in the USYD student elections, where this disturbing revelation of ignorance of The Holocaust was shockingly on full display today."