CAM­PUS NOTE­BOOK

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - NATHAN JEFFAY

Stu­dents at Manch­ester Univer­sity Union have re­jected a move to make its twin­ning with a Pales­tinian univer­sity union con­di­tional on it con­demn­ing sui­cide bomb­ings. To the dis­may of J-Soc mem­bers, Manch­ester is twinned with Al-Na­jah Na­tional Univer­sity in Nablus, known for its ex­trem­ism. They brought a mo­tion for union vote propos­ing that the twin­ning should be valid only if Al-Na­jah con­demns ter­ror. Af­ter a marathon de­bate, the sug­ges­tion was thrown out by 700 votes to 372. Yair Zi­van, cam­paigns or­gan­iser at UJS, says: “It is shock­ing that Manch­ester stu­dents, in ef­fect, will not con­demn sui­cide bomb­ings.” As this was hap­pen­ing in Manch­ester, moves were afoot at Leeds Univer­sity Union — twinned with Bir Zeit Univer­sity — to fol­low the prece­dent of Manch­ester in erect­ing a plaque out­side its build­ing an­nounc­ing the Pales­tinian twin­ning to all-com­ers. It was to read as a long­winded polemic against Is­rael. This pro­posal fell at union coun­cil by nine votes to eight, leav­ing coun­cil­lor and J-Soc cam­paigns of­fi­cer Jack Codd “very happy, es­pe­cially given that such a plaque would have proved very di­vi­sive and made a lot of Jewish stu­dents feel very alien­ated on cam­pus”. Mean­while, the tiny Ex­eter J-Soc was plan­ning to op­pose “ve­he­mently” a mo­tion due for de­bate to­day to twin Ex­eter with Bir Zeit. Jonathan Josephs, Ex­eter’s J-Soc chair, de­scribed the res­o­lu­tion as “yet an­other cyn­i­cal at­tempt by the Friends of Pales­tine to de­monise Is­rael”. Back in Leeds, there was a rare surge in Is­rael’s pop­u­lar­ity on cam­pus. Be­fore the big Is­raelRus­sia game, Jewish stu­dents set up a beat-the-goalie com­pe­ti­tion out­side the union, and pa­raded plac­ards say­ing “Sup­port Is­rael to sup­port Eng­land”. They even got com­peti­tors to wear Is­raeli flag stick­ers for the week­end. Who said it is the beer that makes stu­dents act funny? Foot­ball can have a much stranger ef­fect.

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