There are three candidates vying to be the next President of the Union of Jewish Students. Zionish sent them each ten questions on the key – and not so key – political issues they may face. In the last of our profiles, here are the responses from Bristol student Hannah Rose:
Zionism: the national liberation movement of the Jewish people or racist settler-colonialism?
Zionism is our national liberation movement, it is our right to self-determination fulfilled, and the expression of 2000 years of yearning for our return to the Jewish homeland. In the diaspora, our Zionism means we should be invested in Israel’s values and its future, and to me, that means we should fight for the State of Israel to live up to its founders’ ideals as a Jewish and democratic state, and we should support all those in Israel campaigning for peace and a two-state solution.
How would your views on the Israel-Palestine conflict translate into policy as UJS President?
I want to open up our Israel conversations to a wide range of Zionist perspectives. The Jewish community can often be an echo chamber, but no two Zionist identities are the same, and we need to be making space for a range of opinions on left and right in order to all work together for peace.
How should Jewish students in the UK react to the rise of the nationalist right?
Nowhere has racism and antisemitism been more devastating than on the nationalist right. We should be unequivocal in our stance that racism and any form of discrimination are unwelcome in our society and against our values. As a Jewish community, and a student community, we need to do more to stand by other minority identities against discrimination, not just in the spirit of Martin Niemoller’s poem ‘First they came for the Communists’, but because fighting racism is simply the right thing to do.
Which Jewish political figure – dead or alive – best represents your politics?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – a strong Jewish woman who stands up for her liberal values and who is a trailblazer for women in the legal world.
Should JSocs do Israel events?
I think JSocs should be careful not to take polarising stances on Israeli politics so as not to isolate Jewish students, but it is important to remember that 93% of British Jews feel that their belief in the State of Israel is central to their Jewish identity. Given this, it would be wrong to completely cut Israel out of JSocs as for so many Jewish students their Jewish and Zionist identities are inseparable. We should be able to discuss Zionism and Israel in UJS without enforcing a narrow point of view. Having said that, no two J-Socs are the same, so what may work in Bristol, for example, may not work in London.
How should UJS engage with the BDS movement?
Jewish students have re-affirmed the same two motions with overwhelming majorities year after year at UJS Conference. One is to support two states for two people, and the other is to combat BDS on campus, as Jewish students see BDS as trojan horse for antisemitism and as a threat to their Jewish identity. I fully believe in both of these motions and support UJS democracy too, and so I will stand strong with Jewish students on these issues.
Does the Labour left, and its student equivalent, have an antisemitism problem?
Unequivocally, the Labour Party does have a problem with antisemitism that hasn’t yet been solved. I’m proud to have been a part of UJS’ response to far-left antisemitism over the past few years, and together we have fought hard against some incredibly problematic figures in the student movement and won. However, there is always more work to be done, and we must continue to stand strong and call out antisemitism wherever we find it, on the left or on the right.
Who would you have voted for in the 2016 US election? Primary candidates allowed.
Hillary Clinton. She was the most qualified candidate, with the most realistic vision for a progressive America.
Let’s say you become UJS President, and are given £10,000 for a political project or campaign. What would you do?
I believe meaningful and effective Holocaust education is one of the most important issues of our time. With the rise of the far-right across the world and deepening refugee crises in both Europe and Myanmar, we have a collective responsibility to take action and ensure our message is heard by all. I worked this summer with the Holocaust Educational Trust, and I’ve seen what we can achieve, but also how much there is left to be done. I look forward to seeing the success of UJS’ campaign Our Living Memory and building on it next year if elected.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Theresa May, Donald Trump. Shag, marry, kill?
Kill Donald Trump, marry Theresa May, and leave Bibi at home with his wife.