WITH the Union of Jewish Students conference taking place on Sunday, ADAM CAILLER takes a look at a few of the more interesting motions due to be discussed.
MOTIONS at the UJS Conference fall into three categories — campus, community and UJS and J-Socs.
This year’s agenda is littered with anti-Zionist motions from former presidential candidate Eran Cohen — one of which is to ensure the “inclusion of non-Zionist, anti-Zionist and Zi-curious Jewish students and their ideas”.
Mr Cohen wants to ensure that students who are questioning the “traditional’ Zionist narrative are increasing and, according to UJS statistics, one in four Jewish students are “comfortable or very comfortable” with BDS.
He added: “Currently, at UJS events discussing Israel, it is assumed that all Jewish students are Zionist and all the speakers are Zionist.
“Furthermore, non-Zionist students are often shamed for the views and made to feel unwelcome in J-Socs and other Jewish spaces.
“In order to be an inclusive union, UJS needs to ensure that all students are represented at all levels of the organisation and made to feel welcome in JSocs.”
Another motion — UJ23 — states that UJS should “commemorate the Naqba” (what the Palestinians describe as the ‘catastrophe’ of the formation of the State of Israel).
This has been proposed by presidential candidate Annie Cohen, seconded by Mr Cohen.
Some of the more serious and better natured motions included a motion to see more women in leadership roles, providing access to cheaper kosher food and working with youth movements to create young leaders for the future.
But the motion that stands outis UJ19 — Internal Review of UJS. Put forward by Bristol J-Soc member Sally Patterson, seconded by presidential candidate Hannah Rose, the motion is calling for a root and branch review of the organisations.
The motion reads: “Commitment to diversity and ‘cross-communalism’ have been inadequate over the past few years.
“Lack of inclusivity appears to be structurally ingrained within campus life.
“Progressive students in particular remain unwilling, and in some cases discouraged, from attending J-Soc and UJS events.
“Furthermore, Jewish students who define into specific liberation groups, including LGBT+ and disabled students, continue to have limited access to support or targeted initiatives within UJS — unfortunately many students are not engaging with Jewish life on campus.”
It adds: “Although UJS may have increased its commitment to diversity and inclusivity in recent years, this is not filtering down to campus level.
“This motion, therefore, calls on UJS to conduct an internal review on the effectiveness of the organisation to deliver a truly cross-communal union.”
Voting for the new president ends at midday today.