The World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) turned Zionist last week, when delegates to the WUJS congress here unanimously adopted a series of pro-Zionist resolutions for the first time in 10 years. The decisions were taken at the congress’ concluding session.
Among the resolutions was one supporting the “Jerusalem Program” which underlines the centrality of Israel. Other resolutions paralleled major principles of the Zionist movement, including a call upon world governments to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel and to transfer their embassies to Jerusalem; a condemnation of anti-Semitism; and support of the Israel government’s policies and the Camp David agreements. The organization also decided to transfer its central offices from London to Jerusalem “because Jerusalem and not London is the center of the Jewish nation and Zionism.”
In previous years, WUJS had exhibited a distinct leftist anti-Zionist orientation, and its “Arab Program” had equated the rights of the Palestinians to those of the Jews in Israel.
BASIS FOR NEW ORIENTATION
Simha Yakabowitz, the head of the North American Jewish Students Network, the umbrella organization of North American Jewish student groups, said that the congress’ new Zionist orientation was simply a reflection of the consequences of Jewish activism on North American campuses.
While most of American Jewish students do not care about Judaism, Zionism or Israel, he said, “of those who do, the vast majority are Zionists and this was not properly reflected in the WUJS Executive Councils until this year.” Yakabowitz further said that the WUJS Executive of the past decade “represented an ideology of the 1960s.”
However, Eli Hauben, chairman of the Israel National Union of Students, said the dramatic change of orientation was due to the Incorporation of WUJS members as observers in the World Zionist Congress.
The congress was attended by hundreds of Jewish student activists from abroad and from Israel. At its concluding session, the delegates elected Alfredo Traponsky, 25, who came on aliya from Uruguay in 1972, as its new chairman. Traponsky’s election was also seen as evidence of the organization’s new Zionist orientation since he represents the Maccabi Hotzair youth movement.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.