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Foreign Secretary discusses antisemitism, Israel and Brexit with Jewish leaders

The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council today held a meeting with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, to discuss topics including tackling antisemitism, promoting peace and security for Israel and the wider Middle East, safeguarding Jewish interests in the context of Brexit, protecting religious freedoms and ensuring that the right lessons are learnt from the Holocaust.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:

“It was a pleasure to host members of the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council at the Foreign Office. Now, more than ever, we must do more to fight the scourge of antisemitism and all racism. I look forward to continuing to work closely together in the future.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl and Jewish Leadership Council Vice Chair Debra Fox said:

“We were very pleased to meet the new Foreign Secretary and congratulate him on his appointment to this crucial role. We very much look forward to working with him on our shared objectives of tackling antisemitism; promoting peace and security for Israel and her neighbours; and ensuring that Israel gets a fair hearing in international institutions.”

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Jewish Leadership Council hosts Annual Peers Tea

On Wednesday 4th September 2019, the Jewish Leadership Council sponsored a Rosh Hashanah Tea for over 40 Jewish Peers and friends in the House of Lords, co-hosted by Lord Palmer OBE, Baroness Neuberger DBE, Lord Mendelsohn and Baroness Altmann CBE.

Peers heard speeches from JLC Vice Presidents Baroness Altmann and Baroness Julia Neuberger as well as the Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev. A d’var Torah given by Rabbi Jeremy Gordon of New London Synagogue.

Overlooking the River Thames, and enjoying some honey cake was the perfect way to welcome the Jewish New Year whilst thanking members of the Upper House in between key votes on Brexit.

Jewish Leadership Council Chair, Jonathan Goldstein said:

“We were delighted to welcome so many friends in the House of Lords to thank them for their ongoing work on behalf of our Jewish communities.”

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“I will stand up to the threat of antisemitism” says new Home Secretary Priti Patel following meeting with Jewish community leaders

Jewish community organisations today held a meeting with Home Secretary Priti Patel, organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to discuss topics including tackling antisemitism, countering extremism and safeguarding Jewish interests in the context of Brexit.

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl led the delegation, which comprised colleagues from the Community Security Trust and the Jewish Leadership Council.

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Universities Minister Jo Johnson discusses antisemitism and religious freedoms with Jewish groups

Jewish community organisations this week held a meeting with Universities Minister Jo Johnson, arranged by the Board of Deputies, to discuss topics including antisemitism and freedom of speech, religious freedom issues and ways in which the new government will be able to support Jewish students and academics.

Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman led the delegation, which comprised colleagues from the Union of Jewish Students, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Community Security Trust, and University Jewish Chaplaincy.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:

“I am pleased to have met with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other members from Jewish representative groups today to discuss Jewish students and academics’ experience in higher education.

“I have listened to the concerns and challenges Jewish students face and I am clear that there is no place within higher education for any form of hatred or discrimination - including antisemitism. That is why the Government is working with the Office for Students and UUK to take action to ensure everyone can thrive at university.” 

Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman, UJS President Esther Offenberg, the JLC’s Claudia Mendoza, CST’s Jonny Newton and Jewish Chaplaincy representative Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler said:

“The Jewish community is pleased to welcome Minister Jo Johnson back to the role of Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.

“We would like to thank the Minister for meeting with us, and for the opportunity to discuss key areas of importance for Jewish students, academics, and the wider community.

“The Minister’s previous work in the role on the issues of antisemitism and freedom of speech on campus reassures us that under this government, Jewish life on campus will thrive in a safe and welcoming environment for all. We look forward to working with the Minister addressing our shared priorities.”

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JLC Chair Writes to the Shadow Cabinet Ahead of Meeting on Antisemitism

Ahead of the Shadow Cabinet meeting on antisemitism (22/07/19), Jonathan Goldstein has written to all Shadow Cabinet Ministers.

You can read the letter here.

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JLC Responds to the Appointment of Heather Mendick

In response to the Labour Party appointing Heather Mendick as a liaison to the Jewish community, JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein said:

“It is beyond parody that the Labour Party has hired JVL’s Heather Mendick to attempt to build the relationship with the Jewish community.

“From her dismissal of the IHRA definition of antisemitism, to her support for Chris Williamson, to her accusation that antisemitism was being “weaponised against the Left”, makes her appointment pitiful.

“When we met with Jeremy Corbyn last year we made it perfectly clear what was needed to rebuild trust. He has proven that he is incapable of doing those things. This is a sinister move and we will not be engaging with Ms Mendick.”

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Joint Statement from the Board of Deputies, CST and Jewish Leadership Council on Labour candidate for the Peterborough by-election

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council and David Delew, Chief Executive of the Community Security Trust, said:

“The revelation that Labour’s Peterborough candidate Lisa Forbes liked a racist Facebook post accusing Theresa May of having a “Zionist Slave Masters agenda” as recently as April – and previously welcomed a post indulging the bizarre conspiracy theory that Mossad and the CIA are behind Daesh – brings in to question her suitability for public office.

Ms Forbes has now apologised, saying she had not seen these words, but this stretches the limits of credulity, especially given the high profile problems in Labour and the previous antisemitism scandals in Peterborough Labour circles, such as Alan Bull and last November’s resignation of two senior councillors, who said they had been pressured against when trying to complain about antisemitism.

Ms Forbes also says she will seek antisemitism training. This is somewhat ironic given her previous rejection of the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

We are fed up hearing that Labour opposes antisemitism while repeatedly hearing excuses that its members accidentally missed the racism that was staring them in the face.

Unless Labour disowns Lisa Forbes as a candidate, it will only confirm the Party’s shameful descent into the racist mess for which they are now being investigated by the EHRC.”

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Jewish community organisations send open letter to Labour calling for expulsion of Peter Willsman from the Labour Party

Jewish community organisations have sent a jointly signed letter to Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby calling for the immediate expulsion of Labour NEC member Peter Willsman from the Party.

In the letter signed by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust, Willsman is condemned for his  “antisemitic slur”  in “accusing religious leaders from across the Jewish community of not only being liars, but of acting as a fifth column for a foreign state. It plays directly to age old accusations of Jewish conspiracy, treachery and dual loyalty. It is racist by any measure. It is also, ironically, one of the behaviours described as antisemitic in the definition of antisemitism that Labour’s leadership very grudgingly adopted last year, but have still failed to include anywhere on the Party’s website.”

The letter also notes “how efficient Labour’s disciplinary processes can be when there is the will to make them so.”

It concludes by saying that “Pete Willsman must be immediately dismissed from Labour’s National Executive Committee and expelled from the Labour Party”

Read the letter here

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JLC comment on announcement of EHRC to formally investigate the Labour Party

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Theresa May and the Jewish community

Russell Langer, JLC Public Affairs Manager writes about Theresa May and the Jewish community

This article first appeared in the Jewish News 24/05/19 https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/theresa-may-and-the-jewish-community/

Theresa May and the Jewish community

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at UJIA charity dinner in London. Photo credit: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks at UJIA charity dinner in London. Photo credit: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

Theresa May’s time in Downing Street has certainly not been easy. Despite her early honeymoon, she was significantly weakened by losing her majority in the 2017 general election and it now looks like she will be remembered as the Prime Minister who unsuccessfully tried to enact Brexit.

However, she should also be remembered for her positive relations with the Jewish community. May has been engaged with the Jewish community continuously throughout her turbulent premiership. On the eve of her arrival at Downing Street she honoured her prior engagement to have dinner with the Chief Rabbi. Even as she was facing a no confidence vote by her own MPs, she came straight from a hostile marathon session in the chamber to deliver a speech to the Sara Conference on antisemitism and misogyny, and made sure she found time to address the Conservative Friends of Israel Lunch.

During her time as Home Secretary she worked closely with CST to ensure the community was adequately protected. It was here that she provided an annual grant of £13m for security at Jewish community institutions, a grant that has continued to this day and rose to £14m in 2019.

 

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