A motion seeking to brand the Union of Jewish Students as an exclusively Zionist organisation failed at the UJS annual conference held online this week.
Its proposer, Nottingham student Daniel Marcus, argued that the new International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism now made anti-Zionist viewpoints antisemitic, but his peers disagreed.
The motion sought to overturn a UJS policy agreed in 2017 which, reflecting a breadth of student thought on Israel, said “anti-Zionist views” must be represented at UJS events on Israel if some UJS members in attendance held them.
UJS’s constitution already commits it to promoting engagement with Israel, but Marcus said its 2017 policy “contradicts UJS’s historical and constitutional position”.
He argued that UJS “should not give a platform to anti-Zionist views” and “should commit to not participating in or promoting any forms of anti-Israel activism”, but the motion was considered on Tuesday and did not pass.
Elsewhere, Jewish students discussed mental health, transgender and non-binary rights, and combatting antisemitism, passing motions in support of a two-state solution, Israel’s right to defend itself and preventing terrorists lecturing on campus.
A UJS spokeswoman said the union “continues to hold Israel engagement at our very core,” adding: “To accuse UJS of abandoning any of its current values after one motion did not pass, is not just factually incorrect but woefully wrong.
“We are proud to facilitate hundreds of Israel related events on campus, to campaign against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and to stand up against the vilification of the State of Israel in all student spaces.”
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