Four Jewish students including a rabbi have secured the required nominations to stand in elections for the National Union of Students’ upcoming annual conference in Glasgow next month.
Birmingham graduate Jess Levy, Birkbeck student union leader Rabbi Eli Goldsobel and Bristol women’s officer Sally Patterson will be standing alongside Izzy Lenga, currently an NUS vice-president, who is running for re-election.
Lenga will be looking to renew her NUS Welfare portfolio, while Levy is running for vice-president of union development. Patterson and Goldsobel are gunning for the NUS National Executive Committee and the so-called ‘Block of 15’ voting positions.
In a tweet this week, Lenga said she was “super-pumped” to be seeking re-election, but the mood soured when – within three hours of announcing her candidacy, she posted messages from social media users wanting to know “whether or not you’ve spoken out about genocide in Palestine”.
In response, Lenga wrote: “It seems I am the only candidate so far that has been demanded to state my position on Israel/Palestine… I wonder why.” She added: “The day this doesn’t happen to Jewish candidates will be utterly miraculous.”
The Conference, which takes place in Glasgow 27-29 March, sees Goldsobel and Patterson pitted against 36 other candidates for positions on the union’s national executive committee.
Patterson, the daughter of Mitzvah Day founder and former Board of Deputies senior vice-president Laura Marks, is a politics and sociology student at Bristol and as chair of the Bristol Student Union’s Women’s Network follows in her mother’s footsteps, after Marks co-chaired Women in Jewish Leadership.
Meanwhile Goldsobel called for “revolution,” writing: “With experience as a Rabbi, a community person, a Law degree and with love for coexistence, I will use my ability and experience to help unify the NUS, making us, the Students, the most powerful voice in the country.”
A spokeswoman for the Union of Jewish Students alluded to much improved relations between NUS and Jewish students, after former president Malia Bouattia lost her re-election bid in April.
The fact that there are four Jewish students standing for election at NUS Conference 2018 really reflects a shift in student politics over the last year.”’