Blog

Nicola Richards: Midlands update - July 2017

Since March, the Midlands has seen both a Mayoral Election and a General Election and it has been great to work with the community to meet with Candidates and to engage the community in the run up to the election.

Unfortunately, due to the terrible attack in Manchester during the campaign, the hustings organised for Birmingham Jewish Community was cancelled. It was great to have support from all parties to attend the event to speak, and the community were looking forward to asking questions of their candidates. 

I continue to look forward to more meetings with Members of Parliament and with Andy Street, the new Mayor of the West Midlands. Next week, I am attending the LGA (Local Government Association) Conference in Birmingham with Simon Johnson and Local Government Friends of Israel. I will be attending meetings with Local Council Leaders and Chief Executives and providing the briefing of the community I have prepared.

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Judith Flacks: Campaigns update - July 2017

6 Day War: 50 Years On

The JLC together with the Board of Deputies ran a successful social media campaign ‘6 Day War: 50 Years On’ to provide a commemoration of the Six Day War on behalf of the UK Jewish community. It aimed to be an educational tool to explain the War’s dominant features; unprecedented threat faced by Israel, military victory, and relief. This initiative considered the contemporary experience of those living through the crisis – including from the perspective of British Jews.

A series of bulletins from mid-May to mid-June, were posted on Facebook and Twitter accounts which set out what was happening 50 years ago that day, in the run up to and including the Six Day War. In addition, the JLC hosted a series of blogs from various community CEOs and activists describing the impact of the Six Day War. You can read our JLC Blog Series: Six Day War: 50 Years On here, and read more details of the campaign here and read

Balfour 100

In the coming week, you will be able to upload your own events to the Balfour 100 website. Keep an eye out on our social media for the link to do this and you’ll be able to use the website to advertise and promote your own Balfour 100 celebration.

The Balfour 100 Community Fund has seen a high number of applications, which you can read about here. Applications have come in from communities all over the UK and Ireland, and the Balfour 100 steering committee is extremely pleased about the volume of plans in place around the country to mark the centenary.

We believe in Israel, together with the Zionist Federation hosted a Balfour activist conference on Sunday 25th June, attracting 250 activists who came together to learn about everything from the history of the declaration to how we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Declaration this year.

Refugee week:

To mark the start of Refugee week in June, the Chief Rabbi visited World Jewish Relief’s projects supporting refugees in Yorkshire. The programme offers one-to-one support for Syrian refugees to overcome barriers to employment and prepare them for the UK job market. 

The Chief Rabbi and Mrs Mirvis spent a day meeting refugees from Syria who have been brought to safety in the UK by the British government and are beginning new lives here. 

You can read more about the Chief Rabbi’s visit and the work World Jewish Relief do to support refugees here.

You can also read more about the Jewish community’s response to the refugee crisis and volunteering opportunities here

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Peter Speirs - Scotland update: July 2017

Much has changed since the last time I wrote an e-update about Scotland. Most obviously, there has been a General Election. We have gone from 56 of Scotland’s 59 MPs being from the SNP in 2015, to 35 in 2017. The Conservatives went from 1 MP to 13, Labour from 1 to 7 MPS, and the Liberal Democrats from 1 to 4.

What these results show is that Scottish politics is in a state of flux. It was a shame to see some friends of the community lose their seats – most notably, Kirsten Oswald in East Renfrewshire. Kirsten worked hard to get to know the Jewish community in Scotland. The new MP for the area, Paul Masterton, has already shown that he is committed to working closely with the local Jewish community, and I look forward to developing that relationship in the coming months.

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Michaela Vyse: Yorkshire & East Coast - July 2017

The announcement of the general election came at the same time as starting the role in Yorkshire and the East coast. Alongside the Leeds Jewish Rep Council, we created a committee of lay leaders in which to assist with political engagement. During the election campaign period we met with 30 candidates from across 18 seats and attended 6 hustings and 1 community event in Bradford to meet with candidates.

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Russell Langer: 2017 General Election Analysis

You could be forgiven for asking what has changed following the seven week election campaign. It is certainly no footnote that the Government has lost their majority and now depends on the DUP to win vital votes but it now appears that the Prime Minister is safe for the meantime and it seems to be business as normal.

When the Prime Minister looked destined for a landslide victory there were expectations that the election would be swiftly followed by a dramatic cabinet reshuffle and drama on the Labour benches with either a change in leader or possibly a split if Jeremy Corbyn refused to go. Instead we find ourselves with a relatively unchanged cabinet and Corbyn stronger than ever.

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What does the DUP agreement with the Conservative Party mean for our community?

Who are the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and what does their entrance onto the political scene mean for our community? Watch JLC Chief Executive Simon Johnson discuss this with Board of Deputies grassroots consultant and Chairman of Northern Ireland Friends of Israel Steven Jaffe.

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Dave Shaw: We have to be honest about the homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that exists in some parts of the Jewish community

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Some counsel for the Council on diversity and inclusion

KeshetUK is delighted to have the opportunity to share some ideas and insights with JLC members during Pride month. Whilst this is a time of celebration and inclusion within and beyond the Jewish community, recent events remind us that there is a lot more that can be done to create safe, welcoming and inclusive communities. 

It is just over one year since 49 people were murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. We’ve seen homophobic hate vandalising a Jewish community space.

KeshetUK is the charity striving to ensure that LGBT+ people and their families are present, safe and able to participate fully in Jewish life. We our work with synagogues, schools, youth movements, university campuses and other community organisations across the religious and political spectrum.

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Blog Series: Six Day War: 50 Years On

Tamir Oren, Executive Director, Stand With Us UK

Will the Last One Out, Please Turn Off the Light

Understanding the Six-Day War

"We are sitting right now on the ridge and we are seeing the Old City. Shortly we are going to go into the Old City of Jerusalem that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City... The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!”.

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Blog Series: Six Day War: 50 Years On

Gillian Merron, Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

The weeks leading up to the Six Day War in 1967 were not only anxious and traumatic for those living in Israel, but as conflict became increasingly inevitable, they were also tense times for the UK Jewish community.

Those old enough to remember the developing crisis in the Middle East will recall a genuine fear of Israeli defeat as Egyptian forces massed in the Sinai, ousting UN peacekeepers and closing the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping.

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Blog Series: Six Day War: 50 Years On

Ethan Schwartz, Digital Campaigner & Press Officer, Yachad 

The Six Day War has a powerful place in the collective memory of the Jewish community; a miraculous victory that ensured Israel’s survival, aided by hundreds of young Jews from the UK and around the world who answered Israel’s call for help. But in commemorating the war, 50 years on, we should not lose sight of what has happened since. From the first days after victory, the debate over what to do about the land and people now under Israeli control, and, by extension, what sort of society Israel should be, raged – and the key questions in many ways remain unanswered. Yet in the five decades since, a purportedly temporary occupation of the West Bank has become a permanent system which infringes on the basic rights of millions of Palestinians every day, and which threatens Israel’s future. 

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