(London, UK -- March 1, 2023) -- StandWithUs UK is deeply concerned about the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) taking stances related to Israel which divide Jewish students. This includes their statement of November 2022 regarding the Israeli government and its 2022-23 motion which appears to legitimise certain BDS campaigns.
UJS is a vital organisation in the British Jewish community and has historically played a significant role in maintaining and enhancing Jewish life on campuses. However, we are alarmed by the growing trend where an increasing number of Jewish students who wish to express their connection to Israel and learn about its history feel intimidated and unsafe.
In this context, it is counterproductive to pass a motion suggesting that BDS efforts may be legitimate if they only target Israeli activities in Gaza and/or the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. All BDS campaigns, whether their short-term tactics are broad or narrow, are part of the same global movement that seeks to shut down Israeli-Palestinian cooperation, strip away Jewish rights to self-determination, and eliminate Israel. No initiative under the banner of BDS is legitimate or a step towards justice and peace.
More broadly, we urge UJS to focus on uniting Jewish students rather than taking stances that create more divisions related to Israel.
StandWithUs UK believes that the Jewish connection to Israel goes beyond politics and extends to its people, cultural diversity, religious traditions, and world-class contributions to multiple fields, including medicine, science, technology, archaeology, the arts, education and humanitarian relief. It is the one and only homeland of the Jewish people, and supporting the right of Israelis to live in peace and security does not equate to supporting a government or political party.
We hope that UJS will continue to strengthen and develop Jewish and Zionist identity and provide a safe and supportive home for all Jewish students, irrespective of their political views. This is our shared mission for the next generation.
About StandWithUs UK:
StandWithUs is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism. Founded in 2010, StandWithUs UK has become a recognised support system and leading resource for students on UK campuses. We empower and energise students and communities with leadership training and educational programmes on both school and university campuses. StandWithUs informs through social media, printed materials, digital platforms, film and newsletters. The StandWithUs flagship Emerson Fellowship programme seeks to raise students into future leaders, equipped to stand strong in the face of antisemitism and anti-Zionism. We believe in the right of the Jewish People to self-determination in their historic homeland of Israel. We educate the facts in an unbiased and holistic manner, with an open mind, reflecting on views from all sides of the political, social and humanitarian spectrum whilst promoting peace. StandWithUs UK believe the current discourse surrounding Israel on campus all too often crosses the line between legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies and the dangerous, mainstream, antisemitic rhetoric which stands contrary to the IHRA definition of antisemitism. We work to educate on that distinction, encourage civil discourse on legitimate criticism of Israel, and to fight antisemitism wherever it emerges.