The Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi has become a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
AEPi is the first college student organization to be a full member of the conference, an umbrella organization for more than 50 U.S. Jewish groups that focuses primarily on promoting pro-Israel positions. Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is an adjunct member of the conference.
The members’ vote to admit AEPi came after a unanimous recommendation by the Presidents Conference membership committee.
“This is recognition by the Conference member organizations of the need to engage future leaders of our community and to give them a voice in our deliberations,” Presidents Conference Chairman Robert Sugarman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein said in a statement Jan. 6.
The Conference of Presidents has come under fire on occasion from some of its own members for promoting overly hawkish views on Israel-related issues or taking positions that were not voted on by members.
The most recent such complaint came on Dec. 23, when Americans for Peace Now complained that a statement welcoming the Senate’s new Iran sanctions bill did not represent Presidents Conference consensus and should not have been sent out in the name of members.
J Street, a left-wing pro-Israel advocacy organization, has its own membership application pending before the Presidents Conference, according to Alan Elsner, J Street’s vice president for communications. J Street submitted its application last summer. — jta