UJS Conference motions: BDS, Booze 4 Jews and the future of UJS revealed

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UJS Conference motions: BDS, Booze 4 Jews and the future of UJS revealed

Below are the motions as voted on at UJS Conference 2013 on the 15th December.  Numbers of For/ Against/ Abstentions are listed with each motion.

Click here for our photo gallery from the UJS Conference![divider]

Motion: “The National Council structure of UJS needs updating to best support the activity of the Union” – Passed

Proposed by: Joe Tarsh, UJS President
Seconded by: Ella Rose, Raphi Diamond (Nottingham J-Soc & Manchester J-Soc)

How do you want it to happen?

Points 7 and 9 of the UJS constitution should be reworded as follows and the bye-laws should be updated to reflect this change.

7. National Executive Committee
7.1. The National Executive Committee shall consist of the following groups:
7.1.1. The Sabbatical Officers.
7.1.2. The National Council.
7.2. The Sabbatical Officers
7.2.1. The Sabbatical Officers shall be responsible for executing the policy of the Union.
7.2.2. The Sabbatical Officers shall report to the President.
7.2.3. The President shall be responsible for determining the structure and size of the Sabbatical Officers.
7.2.4. The President shall be responsible for appointing the Sabbatical Officers.
7.2.5. The Sabbatical Officers shall comprise staff responsible for, but not limited to: Campaigns Development
7.3 The National Council
7.3.1. The National Council shall be responsible for: scrutinising the decisions made by the President. ratifying amendments to the Bye-Laws.
7.3.2. The National Council shall consist of two groups: The Advisory Board. The National Portfolio Officers.
7.4 The Advisory Board.
7.4.1. The Advisory Board shall be made up of three students elected at conference for a term of one year.
7.4.2. The Advisory Board shall be responsible for advising the President on matters of policy and strategy.
7.5. The National Portfolio Officers.
7.5.1. Each National Portfolio Officer shall hold a specific portfolio in the union.
7.5.2. Each National Portfolio Officer shall be elected at conference for a term of one year.
7.5.3. There shall be a maximum of 6 National Portfolio Officers.
7.5.4. Conference may decide to elect up to 6 National Portfolio Officers the titles and responsibilities of which may be decided upon by a 2/3 majority vote.
7.5.5. The title and responsibilities of National Portfolio Officer positions may be adapted at conference by a 2/3 majority vote.

This policy will come into effect at conference 2014. The sabbatical officers and outgoing national council will decide upon the job roles of at least 4 national portfolio officer positions and at conference 2014 these positions will be put up for election.
The positions suggested for the new positions are as follows:
National Education Officer
•Will work with the UJS Sabbatical team to develop the overall education strategy of UJS.
•Will provide advice to all J-Soc committee members across the country that have a responsibility for education;
•Will develop and write educational programming and resources to be used by J-Socs;
National Social Action Officer
•Will work with the UJS Sabbatical team to develop the overall social action strategy of the union.
•Will provide advice to all J-Soc committee members across the country that have a responsibility for social action;
•Will promote the social action initiatives of UJS to J-Socs and to individual members.
National Liberation Officer
•Will represent the needs of the UJS liberation networks on the National Council.
•Will work closely with the UJS Liberation Networks and the UJS Sabbatical team to develop the overall liberation strategy of the union.
National Publications Officer
•Will work closely with the UJS communications manager to produce a regular newsletter for the union.
•Will edit, with the UJS communications manager, a new UJS magazine that will be produced either quarterly, termly or bi-annually.
•Will work closely with the other members of the National Executive Committee on publications.

For: 62 // Against 0 // Abstentions 0 [divider_top]

Motion: “UJS National Committee members should be mandated to lobby J-Socs to effectively counter the BDS movement on Campus” – Passed

Proposed by: Jonathan Hunter, Oxford J-Soc
Seconded by: Sami Steinbock, King’s College London J-Soc

What is your idea?

We note that there has very recently been a ‘craze’ among radical elements of various Student Unions to mandate their student representatives to lobby University authorities to boycott the State of Israel. Such motions have been proposed at many University Student Unions – and overwhelmingly include an endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement.

How do you want it to happen? 

We understand the aforementioned motions endorse an academic and cultural boycott. We are greatly disturbed by the thought that our universities, dedicated to the pursuit of truth and knowledge, could be called on to ban cooperation with the universities and cultural groups of any other country. We regard this as an outrageous assault on intellectual and academic freedom. We also believe that these discriminatory measures only isolate those elements of Israeli society most supportive of peace.

Furthermore such motions pave the way for dangerously politicised atmospheres on campus. A motion to boycott Israel effectively tells Israeli students and faculty that they are not welcome at their University, simply because of their nationality. It creates a poisonous and divisive atmosphere, which can make Jewish students in particular feel very uncomfortable. We welcome healthy debate and note that boycotts constitute systematic attempts to shut down constructive dialogue.  The UJS has a responsibility to protect the interests of Jewish students – who are undoubtedly harmed by the obsession of the BDS movement; as the troubles some JSocs face have recently demonstrated.

We therefore resolve that UJS National Council members should be mandated to encourage and advise JSocs to effectively counter the BDS movement on Campus, if and when necessary. JSocs should be given appropriate assistance to counter BDS motions at their Student Unions on the grounds that this movement have the potential to challenge the continuing functioning of JSocs. In sum, countering the BDS movement in public discourse become an official policy of the UJS for the upcoming annual governing cycle.

We also note that the BDS movement features people and sentiments which some consider to be anti-Semitic.

For: 39 // Against: 21 // Abstentions: 9 [divider_top]

Motion: “Booze 4 Jews Should be Funded by UJS” – Fails

Proposed by: Mark Larah, Manchester JSoc
Seconded by: Arthur Caplin, Manchester JSoc

What is the idea?

“Booze 4 Jews” events run by JSocs will henceforth be eligible for UJS funding. As some of the largest gatherings of Jewish students, run by students, it is in UJS’s interest to have a part in these events. The amount to which funding shall be given is to be in accordance with the funding guidelines for similar JSoc events.

How do you want it to happen?

The amount of funding per person should be worked out fairly, similar to the existing funding guidelines. JSocs should then be able to claim for B4J on budget forms, and in return should fully publicise it as an event sponsored by UJS.

For: 1 // Against: 59 // Abstentions: 2  [divider_top]

Motion: “J-Socs should have a relationship with Israel as a Concrete Policy” – Passed

Proposed by: Elliot Miller, UCL
Seconded by: Nathan Abraham, Greenwich University

What is the idea?

To put the UJS principle (or core-value) of having a relationship with Israel into concrete policy. All Jsocs should have a conversation about Israel.

For the purposes of this motion we consider Israel – as 3000+ year part of our history and identity and not simply a 65 year modern state.

How do you want it to happen?

The Union has a duty to defend the State of Israel’s right to exist, regardless of whether individual members support a particular Israeli government and its decisions. The former to be recognized as a basic aspect of the Union, the latter to remain open to dynamic discussion. This is not about being reactive and only defending Israel in times of crisis; it will enable a space to be created for dialogue including critiques of policy and difference in political opinion, anyone can participate!

It is for each Jsoc to decide how to bring this conversation to their campus, but this motion expresses the will of UJS conference that JSocs make that happen.

UJS national council was where Israel engagement was added to UJS core values. By voting for this motion UJS conference is ratifying that decision.
For: 39 // Against: 16 // Abstentions: 12  [divider_top]

Motion: “UJS should commit to accessibility training” – Passed

Proposed by: Hannah Brady, King’s College London
Seconded by: Melissa Leigh, Manchester J-Soc

What is the idea?

1) The UJS commits to providing compulsory accessibilities training for all J-Soc committee members and UJS Team members.
2) The UJS commits to ensuring that UJS national events comply with accessibility training advice.
3) That J-Socs should be rewarded for their commitment to making their events as accessible and inclusive as possible.

How do you want it to happen?

1) A professional accessibilities training session to be attended by all J-Soc Presidents and Events Officers, whether this be an independent event or part of Summit on an annual basis.

2) The UJS Team attend an annual professional accessibility training session so that they are fully aware of how to make their events as accessible as possible.

3) A UJS Guide to Accessibility and Inclusivity be written and published by the UJS in collaboration with the Liberation Network conveners. This should be provided to all Committee Members of J-Socs so that they can ensure all events are in line with its advice.

4) That J-Socs or individuals which have committed most positively and effectively to Liberation values of Accessibility and Inclusivity should be honoured at the annual UJS Awards.

For: 63 // 0 // 0 [divider_top]

Motion: “UJS should re-issue and maintain its no-platform policy in regard to individuals who support Holocaust denial” – Passed

Proposed by: Louis Trup
Seconded by: Sami Steinbock

What is the idea?

We note that Holocaust denial has been spread on Campuses across the UK – in particular the phenomenon of ‘Holocaust revisionism’ is becoming disturbingly prominent. David Irving, a notable ‘Holocaust revisionist’ has been invited to speak at many campuses over the last 6 years. We further note that the LSE SU recently passed a no-platform policy for Holocaust deniers, recognising their prominence on London campuses. This is particularly encouraging given that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz; the date of Holocaust Memorial Day in the United Kingdom.

How do you want it to happen?

We do not believe Holocaust denial is not a form of ‘genteel’ historical revisionism – as many such as Professor David Cesarani and Anthony Julius have said in public, this phenomenon may easily be perceived as neo-Nazi propaganda, a mask for anti-Semitism hiding behind a shamelessly hypocritical ‘defence of free speech.’

We therefore believe that Holocaust education is vital for a multitude of self-explanatory reasons; and the work of the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) and Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is truly invaluable.

To further such aims, the UJS National Council be mandated to condemn any individual and/or institution politicising Holocaust Memorial Day in a way which causes offense to many.  Secondly, campaigning against Holocaust denial and promoting Holocaust education should become an official policy of the UJS for the upcoming annual policy cycle, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation in 2015.

The UJS should re-issue and maintain its no-platform policy in regard to individuals who spout Holocaust denial. Additionally, the UJS National Committee lobby relevant Student Unions to foster and encourage Holocaust education on campus. As part of these efforts, the UJS National Council should lobby and encourage JSocs around the country to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation in 2015. Continuing to work with organisations such as HET and HMD is invaluable for these efforts.

For: 63 // 0 // 0 [divider_top]

Motion: “Make every effort to separate Israel Advocacy from J-Socs” – Fails

Proposed by: Saul Gaunt, Brighton JSoc
Seconded by: Jonny Flowers, Loughborough

What is the idea?

That there is a spectrum of political views within every J-Soc. Something that the UJS have been at the forefront of pioneering throughout its history.  That Israel advocacy is a hugely important aspect of judaism for many and the substantial crossover between those active in the J-Soc and Israel Campaigns. But this does not change that on campus, the two becoming synonymous does more harm than good.

That there is too much discrepancy between J-Socs currently, with some becoming neutral and others with a campaigns position, UJS as an umbrella body needs to implement one stance on all J-Socs. That no Jew should be alienated from their J-Soc for any reason be it political or  otherwise.  That having J-Socs in charge of Israel campaigns creates anti-Semitism. Particularly in  times of high political tension in the middle east, when those who are anti-Israel may see the Jewish community at large as a target.

How do you want it to happen?

That J-Socs remain neutral on issues to do with Israel when it comes to campaigns, so that the best interests of Jewish Students is protected.
That as in being implemented in Brighton and Sussex. An Israel society is being set up which will act independently from the J-Soc and its activities. If they choose they can maintain links with the UJS, but any events or publicity highlighted as affiliated to the Israel society not the J-Soc.

Allow J-Socs to remain apolitical so that they can remain a religious cultural society instead of a political one.

For: 11 // Against: 50 // Abstention: 4  [divider_top]

Motion: “UJS should partner with European Jewish student unions to combat anti-Semitism on the Continent & oppose the BNP” – Passed

Proposed by: Sami Steinbock, KCL
Seconded by: Jonathan Hunter, Oxford J-Soc
What is the idea?

We note that the recession has seen the disturbing resurgence in support for the European far-right. The Greek Golden Dawn Party, the French National Front, the Hungarian Jobbik Party, the Austrian Freedom Party and the British National Party now command significant numbers of seats in political assemblies; especially the European Parliament, which many see as rather disturbing.

How do you want it to happen?

We further note the aforementioned parties are allegedly racist, homophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic. These supposedly disturbing political organisations pose significant threats to European Jewish communities and the rights of Jewish students; especially in Hungary, where anti-Semitism has increase excessively, and the Jobbik Party now commands 43 seats in the National Parliament.

We therefore resolve that UJS work with sister European Jewish Student Unions – such as the Ukrainian Union of Jewish Students, the French Union of Students and the Belgian Union of Jewish Students and any other relevant body to – defend the right of Jewish communities on the continent, protect the interest of Jewish students who are threatened by the rise of fascism, and combat the alleged neo-Nazism represented by Jobbik et al.
We should also continue to combat the BNP in our very own country (using any appropriate means) – which only last election, disturbingly received over 500,000 votes.

For: 52 // Against: 0 // Abstentions: 2 [divider_top]

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