We bring together the major British Jewish organisations to work for the good of the Jewish community

Latest updates

JLC appoints new Director of Community Strategy

Wednesday 15th May 2019

JLC announces David Davidi-Brown as the new Director of Community Strategy

The JLC is pleased to announce David Davidi-Brown as the new Director of Community Strategy.

In this newly created position, David will be responsible for leading the JLC’s projects addressing the long term strategic needs of the Jewish community.

The work of the department of Community Strategy is kindly supported by the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

David will oversee the implementation of the recommendations from the JLC’s Elderly Care Commission, and work with the Community Wellbeing Task Force on the pilot programme to support children and young people’s mental health. He will work closely with JLC members in helping to ensure the sustainability of the Jewish Charitable sector. David will also lead on other strategic projects looking at the UK Jewish community’s long term needs.

David was previously the CEO of the Union of Jewish Students, a role he held until earlier this year. He has also had experience working at UJIA and JHub, and has volunteered for a number of other charities.

David will begin working at the JLC on the 2nd July 2019.

Simon Johnson, Chief Executive, Jewish Leadership Council said:

“We are delighted to welcome David to the team and are excited that we have attracted a professional of his calibre to the role. David brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience within the community, and is certain to add a great deal of value to the work of the JLC.”

David Davidi-Brown said:

“I am thrilled to be joining the wonderful team at the JLC and look forward to making my contribution to UK Jewry. I am eager to listen and learn as, together, we strengthen and sustain work engaging and supporting younger and older members of our community; expand the vital work promoting positive mental health and wellbeing; and explore the opportunities arising from our values driven desire to cooperate and collaborate.”

The New Political Lexicon

Simon Johnson, Chief Executive, Jewish Leadership Council

This article first appeared in the Jewish Telegraph on 03/05/19

 

When academics and political students come to study the events of 2016-2019, they will find it a source of fascinating political precedent.

But they will also find that a number of phrases have entered the political lexicon, some of which will be long lasting, and some of which will become historical curiosities.

So, I thought I would look at some of the phrases that have entered the political language over the last three years. I think these are expressions, which will live long in the memory. I try to give a description and an origin of each of these phrases.

The phrases are set out in alphabetical order.

 

All forms of racism:                  

Something that a person on the Left has to oppose in addition to antisemitism. Originally intended as a way of playing down antisemitism as being just one thing that the Leader of the Labour Party fights against, it lived briefly in Labour Party press office statements at the start of the antisemitism crisis, until even they realised that it did not play well for them.

 

A militant opponent of racism:  

This is a direct quote from Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to the community in March 2018. It is one that is thrown back against Jeremy Corbyn each time that Labour has failed to tackle antisemitism. Often wrongly quoted, it is a perfect example of an auto-antonym, which is a phrase which has two contradictory meanings.

 

Backstop:                                

Originally, a position in the game of Rounders, this word has been hijacked to describe some mechanism to avoid a hard border between Northern and the Republic of Ireland. It will be chiefly remembered for the fact that nobody at all can understand or describe it.

 

Brexit Means Brexit:                 

Rarely can a political slogan have turned out to be so meaningless. In an attempt to simplify a complex situation, Theresa May’s phrase has become an empty phrase. Quite clearly Brexit might mean any number of things, and there are scores of versions of what Brexit might mean. It also became possible that Brexit might mean No Brexit.

 

Coalition of Chaos:                  

Intended as a campaign insult by the Conservatives to describe any combination of political parties in a Labour Minority Government, it has since become deeply ironic given the Government’s reliance on the DUP and how frequently the Government has been defeated. Having been used so often in election campaigns, I suspect it has now been consigned to history.

 

Enough is Enough:                         

A phrase which has been adopted first by the anti-gun lobby in the US and then by the Jewish community to refer to anti-Jewish racism in the Labour party. It can be used as a campaign slogan for anything that has been going on for too long. It signifies exasperation and the “last throw of the dice”. The Jewish claim to it is strongest, due to the fact that it is a neat translation of “Dayeinu”.

 

Indicative Vote:                        

A phrase from the House of Commons that has been gleefully seized upon by many Chairs of large meetings when they want to take a vote but not to be bound by the outcome! It means that you can have a long debate, take a vote and then completely ignore the result. This will become a genuine option and Chairs of meetings in all sorts of contexts will be offering it when they want to present a fig leaf of democracy and then get on and do whatever they wanted to do in the first place.

 

Meaningful Vote:                     

A phrase introduced by PM Theresa May to persuade Parliament that their views on her proposed Brexit deal would be taken seriously by the Government. Presumably, she wanted it not to be confused with an “Indicative Vote” (See above).  It does raise the question of what might be a “Meaningless vote”. It is to be assumed that, in creating the phrase, she did not mean to suggest that all other votes in Parliament were not meaningful. That would reveal her to have a very dim view of Parliamentary democracy.

 

Present but not involved:          

A perfect excuse available to anybody who finds themselves photographed somewhere inconvenient and wants to explain that they really had no idea or no support for what they had been caught red handed doing. The phrase was first used by Jeremy Corbyn in his fourth attempt to explain why he was pictured holding a wreath at the memorial to one of the Munich Olympic terrorists. His sophistry was trotted out by the Labour Party ever afterwards. Sadly, the excuse has been rather undermined by recent revelations that his trip there was funded by a group which is a front for Hamas in Europe and that he deliberately manipulated the costs so that he would not have to declare the trip. But the phrase has nonetheless stood the test of time.

 

Racist Bone in His Body:               

In that “He does not have a racist bone in his body”. A phrase used to excuse anyone who campaigns against racism from an accusation of antisemitism. It uses the metaphor of bones having emotions. It has become the defence of many on the left accused of racism. “I am a lifelong campaigner against racism/I am myself a victim of racism, and therefore I can not be guilty of racism”. Its’ use is intended to bring a conversation to an end.

 

Racist Endeavour:                          

One of the Examples in the IHRA definition, to describe how, depending on the context, a description of Israel might be held to be antisemitic. It was then seized upon by left- wing activists and pro-Corbyn supporters as an actual description of Israel as they sought to defend the Labour Party’s failure to adopt the IHRA definition.

 

0.1%                                        

Zero point One Per cent.  A number sufficiently small that nobody needs to worry about it. Used by the Labour Press Office to describe the percentage of Party members under investigation for antisemitism. In other words, “move along, nothing to see here, it’s so small as to be insignificant”. Recent revelations in the Sunday Times have proved that the number is actually far higher.

Latest blogs

JLC Public Affairs Manager Russell Langer - April 2019 Update

Parliament has been at the forefront of the Brexit drama over the last few months. Through repeated meaningful votes, indicative votes, and backbenchers taking control of the order paper from the Government, it is becoming a weekly drama to tune in and see the results from the latest “crunch” votes.

Ultimately, a UK out of the EU will affect many aspects of UK law and change the way we can build on existing relationships with countries outside of the EU. This is why the JLC and Board of Deputies produced a joint report last year on Brexit and the Jewish Community. In the report we detail our desire for a post-EU Britain to maintain a robust sanctions and anti-terror regime, continue to protect religious freedom on Shechita, and build an even stronger relationship with Israel. Do read the report if you haven’t already.

Since our last newsletter we saw the proscription of Hizballah in its entirety by the Home Office. This ended the situation in which the UK only proscribed the organisation’s military wing and not the political wing, a distinction that many believed to be false (including the organisation itself). The proscription was approved by both Houses of Parliament without a contested vote and welcomed by communal organisations.

In March we marked the one year anniversary of the Jewish community gathering in Parliament Square to say ‘Enough is Enough’ in response to antisemitism in the Labour Party. The anniversary came shortly after a group of Labour MPs left their party to form the Independent Group (TIG) and were shortly joined by three MPs from the Conservatives. Although Brexit formed a major part of this dramatic move, the Labour antisemitism scandal was clearly a major factor – especially for Jewish MP Luciana Berger.

Former Labour MP Ian Austin also left to sit as an independent (although not with TIG) and had some strong words to say in a debate on UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Speaking in the chamber he said, “It is profoundly shocking to me that a political party that I joined as a teenager to fight racism has become embroiled in a scandal like this. It has be dealt with much more seriously. The Labour party must respond properly to the reasonable requests made by the Jewish community more than a year ago, and must boot out the racists for good.” You can watch the speech here.

A long-term concern of the Jewish community has been the biased and unfair treatment of Israel at UN bodies. This has been particularly noticeable at the UN Human Rights Council where Israel is the only nation to be subject to its own permanent item on the agenda in which it is singled out for criticism. We were delighted to see the Government honour its pledge from last year to vote against all resolutions under the permanent item and the Foreign Secretary explained why in an article for the JC.

In Foreign Office questions, the Foreign Secretary was asked about the USA’s decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. In response he said, “We should never recognise the annexation of territory by force,” before adding “Israel is an ally and a shining example of democracy in a part of the world where that is not common. We want Israel to be a success, and we consider it to be a great friend, but on this we do not agree.”

It is also worth noting the departure of the Middle East Minister, Alistair Burt, who resigned to rebel against the government on a Brexit related vote. Burt was well respected across the House and was known for being on top of his brief while also taking a fair approach to the issues. The Asia Minister, Mark Field, is covering the Middle East portfolio until a replacement is appointed.

Lastly, elections will soon be upon us. Local elections will be taking place on Thursday 2nd May in many councils outside of London including Hertsmere, Bury, Salford, Trafford, Stockport, Gateshead, Watford, Three Rivers, and some wards in Epping Forest, so do make sure you vote if there is an election where you live. It is also increasingly likely that there will be European elections towards the end of May so it is as vital as ever that those eligible ensure they are registered to vote.

Parliament is now in recess but with elections around the corner and Brexit extended until Halloween, the UK’s political drama looks unlikely to end any time soon.

JLC North West Regional Manager Marc Levy - April Update

Last month, the Jewish Leadership Council, alongside the Board of Deputies and the Greater Manchester Jewish Representative Council hosted around 50 Councillors to discuss Jewish life in Manchester. This is the third time we have collectively run this seminar and it continues to gain strength and support.

It great to see so many Councillors attending with whom we have fostered relationships. Several of these councillors perform dual roles of representing their local wards whilst simultaneously employed as caseworkers in MPs offices. The event also served as an excellent opportunity to meet and forge links with new Councillors from across the region. There was a large contingent from outside the Jewish heartlands of Bury, Salford and Manchester. This was particularly pertinent to Ed Horwich who spoke about his work running the Jewish Small Communities Network.

The seminar is designed to address and not shy away from the issues that we have as a community.  The largest sessions were on the topics of antisemitism and Israel. The participants heard powerful testimony from Holocaust survivor Ruth Lachs. In addition, there were valued contributions by representatives from the Community Security Trust, Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and the Jewish Representative Council.

The session on Israel also started with powerful personal recollections from Niran Bassoon-Timan.  Niran is an Iraqi refugee who was forced to flee her home country for Israel in 1948. Hannah Rose, President of the Union of Jewish Students, spoke eloquently about how the unjust delegitimisation of Israel negatively affects young Jewish people. Luke Akehurst from We Believe in Israel discussed his work with Councillors including his regular delegations to Israel and Anthony Dennison discussed the work of North West Friends of Israel.

The other purpose of the seminar was to highlight the positive aspects of the Jewish community, such as the work of our social care providers and schools. Councillors were naturally impressed to hear about the work of The Fed, Nicky Alliance and Outreach. By hosting the event at King David School, participants could see first-hand how much the school is thriving. The Chair of Governors, Joshua Rowe, also discussed the vision and ethos of the school. 

For the first time at the seminar, there was a panel on the Charedi community in Manchester. It is clear to see that the community is thriving and growing rapidly.  It was therefore essential to give Councillors the opportunity to discuss the unique needs of this section of our community.

We say to the Labour Party that Enough is Enough. It is time to deal with antisemitism within the Labour Party that has grown in recent years. Click here for updates on our campaign.

Enough Is Enough on Labour Antisemitism