Berkeley Jewish student union rejects J Street affiliate

(JTA) — 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 Wednesday 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 –a pro-Israel group that 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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