Chair's Message: March 2013

We continue to coordinate communal efforts to press the Liberal Democrats on the antisemitic remarks of David Ward MP. Lord Ahmed’s comments blaming his own criminal activities on a Jewish conspiracy are of similar concern. We applaud the Labour Party for taking swift action but it is difficult to reconcile his continuing membership of the Party with his blatant antisemitic remarks.

The campaign to promote discriminatory anti-Israel boycotts in the UK continues. We have prioritised the fight-back against this and have scored a number of important successes. Our ongoing support for the legal cases of Ronnie Fraser and Moty Crystal is evidence of real commitment in this regard. The news that Clackmannanshire in Scotland has become the third local authority in the region to pass a potential boycott resolution represents a deterioration. The idea of a small local council like Clackmannanshire
running its own foreign policy is laughable. However the support for the motion from mainstream Labour Councillors crosses the party's own red lines and I have no doubt that they will take this up with their local representatives.

Our community-wide campaign to have Hizballah proscribed across the EU continued with JLC Head of Policy & Research Claudia Mendoza's powerful Jewish News op-ed, jointly prepared with CST now being widely-circulated. The report from the Bulgarian Government highlighted the extent to which this organisation is now prepared to commit acts of terror on EU soil. The case for EU-wide action is unavoidable.

I recently held another of our highly successful programme of MP lunch briefings. Each of these sessions, hosted by Mike Freer MP, enable us to engage with a group of (cross-party) Members of Parliament who are not normally involved in regular communal interaction, by virtue of their constituencies not incorporating major Jewish centres of population. The lunches enable us to give MPs a brief overview of current imperatives and concerns in each sector of communal life and always provoke lively debate and discussion.

The Community Chest Allocations Board met last month. I was particularly excited that we were able to confirm a grant for a three year period to Moishe House London. The Board felt this to be an exciting project deserving of central communal support, to enable them to place themselves on a firm financial footing. Moishe House epitomises the values of our Communal Vitality agenda and is a firm platform for reaching out to young Jews who are not generally part of mainstream Jewish life.

Finally, I urge you to respond to the community-wide mobilisation now taking place for the ‘Closer to Israel’ Parade on 2nd June. You can engage via your schools, shuls, youth movements or pretty much any major communal institution. You can keep in touch with the details via the website or by using the twitter hashtag #c2israel.