Together with the Board, we recently relaunched the Fair Play Campaign Group (FPCG), our centralised response to Anti-Zionism. This could not have been timelier. In a naíve and retrograde step the Co-op has extended its boycott of settlement produce to include four Israeli companies. Our efforts ensured that a planned fuller boycott was scuppered, however the new policy is extremely problematic and discriminatory. To oppose settlement boycotts is not about supporting settlement policy. It’s about recognising the agenda and sinister alliances of those promoting BDS, and its impact upon our community. The cancellation of Israeli expert Motti Crystal’s invitation to an event organised by a Manchester NHS Trust after pressure from UNISON is another stark example of this. When the TUC adopted a settlement boycott policy we warned about such discrimination. This incident justifies our concerns. Via FPCG we will ensure that it doesn’t set a precedent. Similarly, I am delighted that JLC members will play a key role in welcoming Israel’s Habima theatre group to the Globe during the Cultural Olympiad, despite attempts to prevent the performance.
The past month has seen two important changes to communal architecture. The merger of Jewish Care and JAMI to create a single communal mental health service will provide greater efficiencies and improved service delivery. I congratulate all of those who worked to achieve this. The successful conclusion of the merger between Nightingale and Hammerson has also created a key synergy in which the South and North London care homes will maintain distinct identities whilst benefiting from shared governance and central services in the new merged entity Nightingale Hammerson. JLC member Harvey Rosenblatt and his team are to be congratulated on this achievement. Facilitating the development of central strategies whilst delivering economies of scale is one of the core objectives of the of the members of the JLC. As Jewish Care CEO Simon Morris points out, such initiatives will deliver much more for our community than simply the sum of their parts.
I am pleased to announce the launch of our Community Chest. This initiative will support central services that have no natural funding base, despite providing services deemed essential to communal sustainability. We have two initial priorities, leadership development and education strategy. More details can be found on the recently relaunched JLC website.