120 people, predominantly students from across the country joined StandWithUs UK for their 5th Annual Israel in Focus conference – celebrating five years of the organisation’s pro-Israel campus activism in the UK.
The conference saw a gathering of over 80 students from all different backgrounds, faiths and political persuasions. Student leaders attending ranged from activists in Unite the Union to members of Conservative Future. In addition to committed and active Jewish students, at least a third of all participants were not Jewish. ‘It was a powerful reminder of the broad array of support which the cause of Israel commands on campus,’ said Jonathan Hunter, our UK Campus Director.
Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub, a long-time supporter of StandWithUs, opened the conference by saluting the resolve and dedication of the participants. Other speakers included Baroness Ruth Deech, academic Professor David Stone, journalist Jeremy Harvardi – and the keynote address was delivered by Spiked Online editor, Brendan O’Neill, who discussed the character of anti-Semitic undercurrents in anti-Zionist discourse.
The rest of the day featured a range of interactive and peer-led advocacy training sessions – including a master-class in street debating by Sussex Friends of Israel’s Facebook phenomenon, Simon Cobbs.
“We were thrilled by the attendance and the calibre of the attendees. This is an extremely promising start for what will be tough times ahead on Campus. StandWithUs will be working with all our student activists and volunteers, standing with Israel no matter what”, said Irene Naftalin, StandWithUs Community Director.