Chair's Message: June 2013

It was an inspiration to see the streets of Central London and Trafalgar Square turned blue and white by members of our own and the pro-Israel non Jewish communities at our Closer to Israel at 65 parade and celebration earlier this month. The resounding words of Michael Gove were a timely reminder that despite the many challenges the bilateral relationship between Israel and the UK remains strong and that we live in a country where we can display pride in our identity as British Jews and Zionists in the public domain.

Together with JLC Vice-President Lord Fink, Lord Palmer and Lord Mitchell, I was delighted to host a cheesecake filled afternoon tea for Jewish peers in the House of Lords to celebrate Shavuot. This gave us an opportunity to stress the importance of key relationships and to celebrate the work and achievement of Jewish members of the upper house.  Baroness Neuberger addressed the gathering and passionately highlighted the contribution made by our community to UK civil society.

In previous editions of this newsletter we have outlined the work of the JLC in partnership with CST to encourage the Government to take a lead in pressing the EU to recognise Hizballah as a terrorist organisation. I am pleased to report that shortly after we arranged a communal delegation to Brussels focussed on this topic the UK made a formal request to the EU to proscribe Hizballah. There remains some way to go in delivering EU-wide consensus but I congratulate the Prime Minister for his courage in taking a lead. We must continue to work hard in order to overcome the threat that Hizballah continues to pose to Israel, the Jewish population and as we have already seen, to the EU itself.