Birmingham student elected next UJS president
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Birmingham student elected next UJS president

James Harris beat Etan Feingold by 361 votes and will take over from Esther Offenberg in June for the one-year Union of Jewish Students presidency

UJS' president elect James Harris
UJS' president elect James Harris

A Birmingham student has been elected as the next president of the Union of Jewish Students after only two candidates entered the race.

James Harris beat Etan Feingold by 361 votes and will take over from Israeli student Esther Offenberg in June for the one-year UJS presidency, promising to get Universities to pay the security costs of controversial Israeli speakers on campus.

A University of Birmingham student and Jewish Society president, Harris also said he wanted to engage more Jewish students in the union, during the organisation’s centenary year election.

His victory over Feingold, from the University of Nottingham, was announced on Sunday during the annual UJS Conference, in which recently-appointed peer and former Labour MP John Mann spoke about the importance of fighting antisemitism.

In his manifesto, Harris said he would lobby all Universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism and train every Student Union officer on antisemitism.

Harris comes from a Jewish family in London and went to Jewish primary and secondary schools. In 2017 he went to Birmingham, where the Jewish student population is so large Jews jokingly call it a “Jewniversity”.

Among those to congratulate Harris was London-based UJIA, whose director Robin Moss said he “looked forward to working with you to enhance and expand Israel Engagement provision for Jewish students,” adding: “We wish you the very best of luck in this important role.”

The Board of Deputies also congratulated Harris, saying it looked forward to working with him.

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