Race hate a key is­sue in cam­pus elec­tions

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY NATHAN JEFFAY

CAN­DI­DATES FOR the top job in Jewish stu­dent pol­i­tics are mak­ing their fi­nal ap­peals to their elec­torate.

The con­test for the chair of the Union of Jewish Stu­dents is usu­ally a two-horse race, but this time there are four, all fi­nal-year stu­dents cam­paign­ing on im­prov­ing Is­rael’s im­age and fight­ing an­tisemitism on cam­pus.

They are can­vass­ing via per­sonal web­sites, YouTube videos and Face­book groups, as well as tra­di­tional flyer cam­paigns.

Manch­ester Univer­sity’s Adam Pike, 22, prom­ises to front “a new strat­egy to chal­lenge Is­rael’s crit­ics by the whole Jewish com­mu­nity”.

With “stu­dents among the most ac­tive and pas­sion­ate, deal­ing with th­ese is­sues each day, work­ing with opin­ion-for­m­ers of the fu­ture, they should be on the front line”. He views cur­rent ef­forts through­out the com­mu­nity as “ad hoc” and calls for a “thought-out, three- to five-year strat­e­gy­deal­ing­with Is­rael’s im­age”. On a stu­dent level, this would in­clude trips to Is­rael aimed at a non-Jewish au­di­ence, as pro-Pales­tinian trips are prov­ing very suc­cess­ful and “we are los­ing, if we have not al­ready lost, hearts and minds on cam­pus to them”.

Har­ri­son Co­hen, 20, at UCL, wants to make UJS truer to its pol­icy on an­tisemitism, say­ing: “Zero tol­er­ance to an­tisemitism is some­thing that UJS pro­motes, but some­thing it still needs to achieve.”

Adam Levy, 21, at Manch­ester Univer­sity, wants a stronger union more pre­pared to com­bat an­tisemitism “through what­ever route, whether mo­tions in meet­ings, le­gal av­enues, or by in­creas­ing un­der­stand­ing through more in­ter­faith work”.

He says that UJS must press stu­dent unions harder, as they some­times turn a blind eye to an­tisemitism. “In Manch­ester, there has been an­tisemitic chant­ing and noth­ing was done.”

Bris­tol Univer­sity stu­dent Etan Small­man, 21, be­lieves UJS cam­paign­ing is al­ready “at the top of its game” and wants to broaden its fo­cus. He prom­ises a week of so­cial-ac­tion projects in as­so­ci­a­tion with Jewish and non-Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­creased cam­paign­ing on Dar­fur.

The can­di­dates are di­vided on ways to boost mem­ber­ship. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Co­hen, the union is stuck in the “mid­dle ground” of Bri­tish Jewry “and alien­at­ing the more re­li­gious and the more sec­u­lar”. He says it needs to run more niche events for stu­dents from vary­ing back­grounds.

Mr Levy thinks UJS events are low im­pact, on grounds of qual­ity rather than fo­cus. “The rea­son that UJS is smaller than it should be is that for a while it has not been as good as it should be. This should be changed by im­prov­ing the qual­ity of events and ser­vices we of­fer.”

Mr Pike wants UJS to pull in more peo­ple by run­ning a ca­reers ser­vice, set­ting up in­tern­ships and keep­ing data­bases of schol­ar­ships. Mr Small­man pledges to ad­dress UJS’s “real im­age prob­lem” and cater for ma­ture stu­dents, who are “al­most com­pletely ne­glected”.

Hus­tings and vot­ing will take place at road­shows na­tion­wide over the com­ing week, with the win­ner an­nounced shortly af­ter­wards.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.