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Jewish students at odds over Apartheid Week

Is it in decline, or still very much a pressing issue?

    Jewish students appear to disagree over the threat posed by Israel Apart­heid Week at UK universities.

    The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said it was “cautiously optimistic” over this year’s event, noting a “decline” in the number of activities planned.

    The annual programme of anti-Israel activism on campus began on Monday. Despite being marketed as a “week”, events actually take place over a two-month period.

    Liron Velleman, campaigns manager at UJS, said: “We’re cautiously optimistic that Israel Apartheid Week seems to be very quiet this year, with a small hand­ful of scattered events.

    “This is testament to the dedicated work of Jewish student activists, who’ve worked hard to promote productive, informed discussions on their campus­es in place of the divisive, alienating and intimidating tactics of IAW.”

    UJS said there were no specific cam­pus events it was concerned about, add­ing: “Our guidance to Jewish students is, as always, to be alert but not alarmed.”

    Tamara Berens, UK campus associ­ate for the pro-Israel CAMERA group, said that Palestinian Societies were “still hosting events with hundreds of stu­dents in attendance, where slander and demonisation of Israel is the norm.

    “While such anti-Israel events still occur, we must treat the issue as a press­ing one.”

    Apartheid Week activities are being held on university campuses in London (Soas), Exeter, Sheffield, Sussex, Leeds and Bristol, with further events taking place in Cheltenham, Coventry, Bright­on and Derry-Londonderry.

    Tamir Oren, executive director of the StandWithUs UK organisation, said it was running a nationwide Peace Week to counter anti-Israel activitism.

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