SOAS Jewish students prevented from defining Anti-Semitism by SU

It was in an amendment passed by student union

An amendment passed by SOAS student union has removed Jewish students the right to define anti-semitism.

The amendment was on an emergency motion called the Equality for Jewish Students Act, designed to safeguard Jewish students and allow them to fully integrate with the SOAS student community.

The amendment scrapped a clause which stated: “Jewish students should be given the right to self-determination and be able to define what constitutes hatred against their group like all other minority groups.”

The motion was proposed by President of the SOAS Jewish Society, Avrahum Sanger. In a Facebook post following the removal of the clause, he expressed ‘outrage’ by the fact that the motion was discussed mainly by non-Jewish students. He has since said that SOAS has created ‘one rule for them [Jewish students] and another for every other minority group.”

SOAS SU has consistently refused to recognise the existence of the state of Israel. Many students have vocalised their support for the removal of NUS Vice-President, Richard Brooks. Brooks, who is Jewish, has been heavily criticised for his participation in an UJS trip to Israel and his willingness to work alongside the Israeli embassy.

SOAS have since encouraged students to use a definition of Anti-Semitism proposed originally by Professor David Feldman from the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

Speaking to The Algemeiner, Sanger said: “[the motion confronts] issues that concern the welfare of Jewish students or make it difficult for them to both practice their religion and fully participate in university.”It ensures the provision of Kosher food on campus, access to multi-faith prayer rooms and the rescheduling of events that conflict with Jewish holidays.

A first year SOAS student who asked to remain anonymous, criticised SOAS for it’s heavy-handed approach towards Jewish students and the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

Speaking to The Tab, he said: ‘SOAS should reflect the opinion of all students, the issue with Israel is it’s such an exceptionally complex issue that considerable debate must be had before we can endorse any one stance.’

In a press statement, SOAS Students Union said: “SOAS Students’ Union is delighted that the motion entitled ‘Equality for Jewish Students Act’ was passed almost unanimously at a very well attended Union General Meeting on Tuesday night.

“Amendments to the motion included adding a definition of Anti-Semitism based on the definition put forward by Professor David Feldman from the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism. This amendment was put forward by a Jewish student who gave a clear argument as to why he felt it should be added.

“We look forward to working on the outcomes of the ‘Equality for Jewish Students Act’ motion in the months to come and continue in the proud tradition of anti-racist struggles here at SOAS. The student body at SOAS remains united in fighting against all forms of racism and bigotry including Anti-Semitism.”