Call for UJS campaigns director to go

Dan Sheldon

Dan Sheldon

An online petition has been launched calling on the Union of Jewish Students to sack its campaigns director.

It follows a clash between Dan Sheldon and Zionist Federation co-vice-chairman Jonathan Hoffman during a debate hosted by Leeds JSoc on Monday.

The pair discussed different approaches to Israel advocacy, but the atmosphere soured after Mr Sheldon accused Mr Hoffman of supporting the English Defence League, a claim he denies. .

The UJS campaigns director said Mr Hoffman was "happy to demonstrate side-by-side with members of the EDL Jewish Division" during counter - protests against opponents of the Ahava store in Covent Garden.

Mr Sheldon also accused him of "shouting about Hamas terrorism, calling everyone a liar, and disrupting meetings".

But he concluded by "extending the hand of friendship" and asking Mr Hoffman to work with Jewish students to defend Israel.

The claims brought anger from Mr Hoffman's supporters and arguments have continued throughout the week on a series of blogs.

More than two dozen people had signed the petition by Friday afternoon.

A number had added comments calling Mr Sheldon a "stain on UJS" and pledging to remove financial support from the student group unless he is sacked.

One person, signing the petition in the name Mazal Abraham, wrote: "My family have supported UJS financially in the past at various fundraising events. I am sad and embarrassed to see that Dan Sheldon is still employed by the UJS and will urge my family to stop any future donations...until they do the right thing and remove Dan Sheldon from their organisation. Utter disgrace."

Mr Hoffman added his signature and thanked "those willing to stand with me".

UJS president Dan Grabiner said: "It is disappointing that there have been calls for Dan Sheldon to resign.

"Instead of trying to undermine Jewish student leaders, we support and encourage those behind this petition to join UJS in standing up against those who seek to spread hatred in our universities."

Last updated: 2:07pm, November 4 2011