Fifty student Israel activists have graduated from a leadership programme, preparing them to argue for the Jewish state’s case on campus.

Heralding from 20 universities and eight secondary schools across the UK, students were awarded certificates upon their graduation from the second year of StandWithUs UK’s Israel Leadership programme in Parliament.

Hosted by Lord Leslie Turnberg and Labour MP Joan Ryan on Thursday 15 March, the event saw Lord Stuart Polak, honourary president of Conservative Friends of Israel, Andrew Percy MP and Michael Freeman, Counsellor for Society and Civil Affairs from the Israel embassy, address the young Israel advocates.

The graduates went through a rigorous year-long process run by Israel advocacy group StandWithUs UK, learning about international law, Israel’s history and had media training from the Israeli embassy’s press attaché.

Students at the ceremony

During the programme, students promoted Israel on campus with events stalls as “falafel for facts”, and took part in “Peace Week UK” to oppose Israeli Apartheid Week.

They reached more than 3,000 students with speakers, such as the Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev who visited universities such as Warwick and Exeter.

Joan Ryan MP speaking at the event

At the event last week, Andrew Percy MP condemned hostility on university campuses against pro-Israel speakers and said we must “expose the hypocrisy” of those who try to shut down events hosted by Jewish and Israel societies.

The Conservative MP for Brigg and Goole added that attempts to censor freedom of speech “can’t be tolerated”, and that anti-Israel activists in the UK are a “bitter and angry hate-filled minority”.

Tamir Oren, StandWithUs UK Director of Public Affairs:’These students proved this year that they are willing to stand up against antisemitism and anti-Israel activities, make a stance and change the way Israel is perceived on campus. I have faith in them and am certain they will be able to make a difference as our new student-ambassadors’’.

Andrew Percy MP addressing the graduation ceremony