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European Union of Jewish Students Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_of_Jewish_Students

The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) is an umbrella organization for 34 national Jewish student unions in Europe and the Post-Soviet states, representing over 200,000 Jewish students.

European Union of Jewish Students

International Memberships[edit]

EUJS is a constituent member of the European Youth Forum, the leading platform for more than 90 national youth councils and international NGOs, and is the only Jewish organization represented at that level. It is supported by the Council of Europe, the European Commission, all recognized Jewish organizations, and is a member of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS). EUJS is one of the largest international student organizations worldwide and the first Jewish Youth NGO to obtain the special Consultative Status to the ECOSOC of the United Nations. Its annual programming includes the largest annual event for Jewish youth in Europe Summer University, as well as international, inter-religious, inter-generational seminars, study sessions at the European Youth Centre, and cutting-edge work that puts it at the forefront of the European context.

Full members status is held to the European Youth Forum (YFJ) which operates within the Council of Europe and European Union areas and works closely with both these bodies.

History of EUJS[edit]

In February 1978 around a cold table in Grenoble, France, one hundred and fifty European Jewish Students developed and approved a constitution and created a plan of action meant to cover all aspects of modern European Jewish student life and so the European Union of Jewish Students was formed.[1]

Moving to Brussels in 1978, EUJS first opened an office ( near Porte de Namur ) and later in 1980 to its current premises at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Many European countries were pioneers in supporting and developing strong youth sectors, and the European Union is known for the voice, the influence and the power that it has traditionally given young people. This tradition has a long history. Beginning with Albert Einstein's election as the first President of the World Union of Jewish Students in 1925, European Jewish youth have long understood the importance of organized existence. The trials of war and a continent torn apart by hate have long promulgated a simmering force among those emerging as future political, social and cultural leaders.[2]

Reaching behind the Iron-Curtain[edit]

The struggle for participation in the World Youth Festival in Moscow was the beginning of a series of activities of efforts for Soviet Jewry. On November 17, 1985 Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met in Geneva, and around 75 Jewish students, amongst them students from the UK and the Netherlands, demonstrated in solidarity with the Soviet Jewry. Subsequently, in April 1986, the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) took place in Bern, Switzerland. EUJS used this occasion to organize—in cooperation with the Swiss Union of Jewish Students (SUJS)—a special Seder in honor of the Jews of the Soviet Union in the Bern Synagogue. This special Seder, held on the evening of Sunday 27 April, was a huge success and an important milestone. The student representatives from Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland were joined by several national delegates to the CSCE meeting. In addition to the activities staged in Bern, the EUJS encouraged its national member unions to lobby their respective foreign ministries throughout the CSCE meeting so as to raise the case of Soviet Jewry.

Crisis at Durban[edit]

A delegation of EUJS students, led by then President Joelle Fiss, joined the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) and the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban from August 26 until September 7 2001. The EUJS delegates were present at the Youth Summit, the NGO Forum and the Governmental Conference. As the EUJS delegation arrived, they realized to what extent their role as young Jews would counterbalance the accusations imposed on the Jewish people. The event—in addition to spurring EUJS delegates to action on site—led to EUJS signing a common declaration with the Roma student delegation, setting forth the possibility of a partnership to promote Holocaust education, and subsequently resulting in an EUJS-led seminar in Budapest in November 2003. During the Youth Summit at Durban, EUJS, together with WUJS and SAUJS put forward a proposal calling for an end of the violence on both sides of the Middle East conflict. The proposal condemned the use of violence and called for students to take an active role in advocating peace in the region. A group led by a delegation of Palestinians students voted down this proposal. During the governmental conference, EUJS met with political leaders such as Louis Michel, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Walter Schwimmer, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

The Austrian Far Right[edit]

In February 2000, the ultra-right Freedom Party FPÖ (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs), entered into a coalition government in Austria. Led by Jörg Haider, the party, praising Hitler's employment policy, was well known for his numerous anti-Semitic and xenophobic statements. EUJS organized a large demonstration in parallel to a leadership seminar that it was conducting at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The students walked in front of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe to the Austrian embassy where they lit candles and threw toothbrushes in the mailbox in order to remind Austrians how Jews had to clean the sidewalk with toothbrushes during the Anschluss.

Speaking out in Europe's capital[edit]

During one of the most violent periods of the second Intifada, Jews in Europe were under threat: synagogues were burning again, and Jews were feeling insecure and worried. Many Jewish organizations and communities came together and organized demonstrations against this dramatic rise in anti-Semitism. One of the most visible demonstrations was held in Brussels in April 2002. EUJS sent a delegation of students to represent the 180’000 young European Jews who were at the forefront of this fight in their universities, towns and countries.

Members[edit]

Country Name Abbrev.
 Italy Unione Giovani Ebrei d'Italia UGEI
 Austria Jüdische Österreichische Hochschülerinnen JÖH
 Luxembourg Union des Jeunes Gens Israélites de Luxembourg UJGIL
 Belgium Union des Étudiants Juifs de Belgique UEJB
 France Union des étudiants juifs de France UEJF
  Switzerland Swiss Union of Jewish Students SUJS
 United Kingdom Union of Jewish Students UJS
 Germany Jüdische Studierendenunion Deutschland JSUD

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Son of hero speaks at Niles West". www.jlichicago.com. Retrieved Sep 28, 2014.
  2. ^ "Course looks at effects of Holocaust". www.chabad.org. Retrieved Sep 28, 2014.

External links[edit]