UK Students “too cowed” to talk about Israel according to outspoken American rabbi

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

UK Students “too cowed” to talk about Israel according to outspoken American rabbi

Shmuley Boteach.

The Union of Jewish Students has hit back after an outspoken American rabbi claimed British Jewish students were too “cowed” to talk about Israel on campus.

It comes after Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, known for his right-wing views, said Jewish youngsters “had become so cowed by the omnipresent hostility and bullying on and off British campuses that they were afraid to engage in a dialogue about Israel”.

Russell Langer, UJS Campaigns Director, whole-heartedly denied the accusations, saying instead that British Jewish students were “extremely active” in the debate.

Boteach earlier said he had been invited to speak at King’s College, and was stopped in mid-flow, but those present said he was asked “at the last minute” to pop in for a social event, because he was next door, but that he took the stage for half an hour and “wouldn’t stop talking”.

The rabbi, who is advertising his latest book, was subsequently told – in an effort to get him off stage – that the Jewish Society (J-Soc) didn’t discuss Israel.

He later wrote an article in Jerusalem Post, arguing that “London has become ground zero for the anti-Semitic boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, which has found especially fertile ground on England’s college campuses”.

It provoked a furious reaction from UJS, with Langer saying: “Jewish students at many campuses in London have found that combatting the delegitimisation of Israel with separate Israel societies is the most effective method for their environment.”

He added: “Jewish students are extremely active at Kings in standing up for Israel and ensuring a balanced debate.”

Last year, during Israeli Apartheid Week, Jewish students across three London institutions, including Kings, ran the Piece 2 Peace campaign – an initiative that engaged over 4,000 students in dialogue around the conflict.

“We work closely with students across the country in determining the best way to fight the delegitimisation of Israel on each campus,” said Langer. “Israel engagement is a core value of ours.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: