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Berkeley Jewish Student Union Rejects J Street Affiliate

October 16, 2013 By:
JTA
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Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators at an Apartheid Week event at the University of California, Berkeley, in February 2012. (Photo by James Buck)
CALIFORNIA — The Jewish Student Union at the University of California, Berkeley, rejected J Street U for membership for the second time since 2011.
 
According to the campus newspaper, the Daily Californian, the rejection at a meeting Oct. 9 focused on J Street U’s hosting of members of Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli soldiers who chronicle what they say are abuses they witnessed during their military service.
 
Daphna Torbati, the Jewish Student Union president, said the group disparages Israeli troops, while representatives of J Street U said Breaking the Silence and groups like it facilitate a broader conversation over how best to support Israel.
 
J Street U, the campus affiliate of J Street — which advocates an end to Israeli settlements and an assertive U.S. role in brokering Israeli-Palestinian peace — lost the vote 8-2; there were two abstentions.
 
According to the Daily Californian, J Street U had endeavored to work together with the Jewish Student Union since its first rejection. J Street U helped to push back last April against a Student Senate vote to recommend divestment from companies that deal with Israel’s military.

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