UC Berkeley’s Jewish Student Union Rejects J Street
JNS.org – The Jewish Student Union at the University of California, Berkley has denied membership to a college branch of the self-labeled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby group J Street, citing its violation of the student union’s bylaws through the hosting of speakers who demonize Israel.
J Street U’s membership was voted down 8-2, marking the second time the Jewish Student Union has rejected the group since 2011.
“A lot of people have said that they want the (Jewish Student Union) to stay a place they feel comfortable saying they love Israel,” Jewish Student Union President Daphna Torbati told the Daily Californian.
J Street’s hosting of the Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, which works with Israeli veterans that heavily criticize Israel’s military operations, has raised concern among Jewish students that such programming “unfairly disparages Israeli soldiers” and alienates students, UC Berkeley student leaders said.
Shayna Howitt, a spokesperson for J Street U, responded that the group is “not afraid to stand up and question how we can best support Israel, because we’re committed to the safety of Israel.”