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.
Huge Mazel Tov to the new President-Elect of UJS 2020-2021 James Harris who won by 361 votes! UJS is excited looking forward to him implementing key points from his manifesto, click here to read
James manifesto:https://t.co/hfm6nMgZIY pic.twitter.com/XzlTwiVepl
— Union of Jewish Students (@UJS_UK) December 8, 2019