April 23, 2016

Birmingham Uni JSoc & the World Zionist Organisation: how are they related?

Well it's not easy to find on line but it can be done in three steps.  Look:

1.  Here's the Union of Jewish Students' (UJS) website.  And here's a useful infographic taken from it:


Check out JSoc number 35.  It's Birmingham University Jewish Society.

2.  Here's the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) website showing the UJS to be one of its "Permanent Executive Unions"

3.  And here's the WUJS website partner page showing the World Zionist Organisation as a partner and revealing that the WUJS "holds various capacities within the WZO".  See the blurb:
The World Zionist Organization is committed to promoting the Zionist idea and enterprise as vital and positive elements of contemporary Jewish life, in accordance with the principles articulated in the Jerusalem Program.  WUJS holds various capacities within the WZO, sitting on their Board of Directors as well as various internal committees.
So, there we have it.  Disappointing then that in two days there were two Guardian articles (here and here) misrepresenting the Birmingham University Jewish Society not simply as a generalist group of Jews but as the Jewish community at Birmingham University.  This was in the context of the smear campaign against NUS President elect, Malia Bouattia, who had mentioned the Jewish society (JSoc) as being among the UK's largest and the fact that it is led by Zionists.

See The Guardian's Nadia Khomami:
But her campaign was controversial due to her past anti-Zionist activism, including comments in an article where she described the University of Birmingham – with its large Jewish community – as being “something of a Zionist outpost”, and made separate claims about “Zionist-led media outlets”
And The Guardian's Richard Adams:
Bouattia’s campaign was controversial due to her past comments describing the University of Birmingham – with its large Jewish community – as being “something of a Zionist outpost”, and made separate claims about “Zionist-led media outlets”.
Malia Bouattia has insisted that she was referring to Zionist activists as the following quote makes clear:
The University of Birmingham is something of a Zionist outpost in British Higher Education. It also has the largest JSoc in the country whose leadership is dominated by Zionist activists. 
Actually by stressing that the JSoc "leadership is dominated by Zionist activists" Bouattia allowed for the fact that some of the JSoc members may not be Zionists themselves.  She certainly wasn't conflating a Zionist organisation with the "Jewish community" as Zionists themselves tend to and as The Guardian did, twice!.

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