Is the Union of Jewish Students ‘Zionist’ or not?

President says the group “represents a proud Zionist voice” despite group having earlier voted against describing it as Zionist


The head of the Union of Jewish Students says the group “represents a proud Zionist voice” despite members voting down a motion describing it as “Zionist” earlier this month.

“There has been much comment made about a motion that was discussed at conference but did not pass by a narrow margin,” UJS president James Harris acknowledged Tuesday. 

However he maintained that UJS “opposes anti-Israel rhetoric on campus, combats BDS in all its forms, and represents a proud Zionist voice, one which supports Israel as a Jewish and a democratic state.”

The motion, put forward by Daniel Marcus in Nottingham and seconded by Gregory Kraftman in Birmingham, proposed to include Zionism as a core belief of the organisation.

It defined anti-Zionism as the “belief that the state of Israel has no right to exist” and described its promotion as “politically and morally objectionable”.

Mr Harris, whose successor Nina Freedman is due to take up her role in June, also said motions which do not pass make “no change to UJS policy”. 

He added that the union “holds Israel engagement at our very core, being one of our four core values. “

Another motion put forward proposed to recognise the Palestinian people’s "inalienable and collective right" to self-determination.

The proposal, which was passed, cited the union’s repeated support for a two-state solution to the conflict.

“All peoples have the right to self-determination. UJS supports this right for the Jewish people, as with the Palestinian people. 

“This is also why UJS was amongst the first major communal organisations to call for a two-state solution, another policy which we adopted and reaffirmed our support for this year," Mr Harris said. 

UJS, which passed an anti-BDS motion last year, has led campaigns against the rise of antisemitism and called on UK universities to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Jewish racism.

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