Local councilors from North West learn about Jewish community at Manchester seminar
More than 40 councillors from across the North West of England learned about the Jewish community at a councillor seminar on Sunday organised by the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region.
There were a significant number of council leaders and cabinet members in attendance, including the Executive Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett. Many of the councillors were keen to learn more about the Jewish community, especially in light of tensions between the Labour Party and British Jews.
The seminar covered a wide range of issues including Jewish social care sector, Israel, education and the Strictly Orthodox Jewish community with sector leaders from different parts of the Jewish community talking through the areas of expertise.
Among other speakers were Chief Executive of the Nicky Alliance Day Centre, Michelle Wiseman, the Principal of Broughton Jewish Primary School, Rabbi Yehuda Perlman and the Director of We Believe in Israel, Luke Akehurst and the Director of Community Services at The Fed, Bernie Garner.
Board of Deputies Senior Vice President Dr Sheila Gewolb urged Manchester councillors to sign up to the organisation’s Jewish Manifesto for Local Government and support their Jewish constituents. She said: “These are anxious times for the Jewish community in the UK, with growing antisemitism and political turmoil. You can help Jews in your area by signing up to the Jewish Manifesto and its 10 Local Commitments, by consulting your local Jewish representatives and listening to both the aspirations and the fears of your constituents.”
Marc Levy, North West External Affairs Manager, Jewish Leadership Council, said: “It is vital that our community engages with council leaders and local Councillors. I am pleased that so many Councillors have taken the time to learn more about the Jewish community by seeing first-hand the tremendous work being undertaken by so many of our member organisations. I look forward to continuing the discussion as to how we can work together over the coming months.”
Jay Charara, Vice Chair and Public Relations, Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region said: Considering the current political climate and the increase of antisemitism in British politics, we felt that it was important to engage with local and regional councillors from all parties in order to present a true and accurate picture of the Jewish community in Greater Manchester and wider region.”
JLC and Lead host International Women's Day event 2019
The JLC and Lead hosted an event on the 7th March to mark International Women’s Day (8th March) in Central London, aimed at professionals of all genders in the Jewish community to explore how we bring about effective change to the way we look at gender imbalances in the workplace.
The theme of the day was “Enabling change through Policy and Culture” to go alongside this year’s International Women’s Day theme of ‘Balance for Better’.
The aim of the day was to spark a robust conversation by probing the policies and culture of our communal organisations.
There were three panels throughout the day exploring different topics that working women in the community face.
Among the 60 attendees were CEOs, lay leaders and representatives from senior management and junior staff from a number of organisations across the community.
The JLC has taken a note of the many constructive suggestions that were made by panellists and participants and we will be looking at ways to move conversations from the day forward.
Claudia Mendoza, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Jewish Leadership Council said:
“We are pleased to be leading the way in creating the space for conversations on how we can better balance policy and culture for women in the workplace. This event was another step towards making our community a better place for women to work in.”
Michelle Janes, Executive Director, Lead said:
“Achieving the right balance between policy and culture can be critical in creating an environment to enable strong leadership development in our community. We want to see more diversity in positions of leadership and fewer situations where leadership is compromised due to gender or any other factor.”
The topics of all panels are described below alongside names of panellists and chairs:
- The hot-tub Kiddush-club phenomenon
A recent article from a Jewish media outlet described a scenario at a conference where a series of decisions for a company were taken during an after-hours, male only spa session. The next day, a female colleague found herself shut out from a number of processes and decisions because she had missed the ‘conversation in the hot-tub’. Similar scenarios are played out in arenas such kiddush clubs and golf courses. This workshop will explore the idea of the male-only space, and begin to explore the challenges this presents not just for the individuals who are shut out but for the organisation as a whole.
Panellists: Karen Pollock, Ray Simonson, Jo Greenaway
Chair: Louise Jacobs
- Care-giving: Whose responsibility is it?
Care-giving has traditionally been seen as a woman’s role, but there has been a move by the government in recent years to promote change through initiatives such as shared-parental leave. Challenges of flexible working arrangements, understanding bosses and better work-life balance are just some of the things that care-givers have to contend with. This workshop will look at the classic dichotomy between policy and culture, and how we move care-giving beyond being a women’s issue. It will begin to explore how workplaces in the Jewish community can support alternative arrangements.
Panellists: Gaby Pomeroy, Shelley Marsh, Adam Overlander-Kaye
Chair: Ruth Green
- #MeToo (in association with Jewish Women’s Aid)
The #MeToo movement has changed the debate on sexual harassment and re-ignited the conversation around rape, consent and sexism. The Jewish community is not immune from experiences of sexual harassment or sexism in the workplace. We invite Jewish Women’s Aid to lead a discussion on what this means for our community, its leadership and organisations, especially with respect to the implementation of specific policies and office culture.
Panellist: Jewish Women’s Aid, Rosa Doherty
Chair: Yael Simon
“When we met Mr Corbyn and his team last April we asked for his personal leadership on antisemitism and were explicitly told that he does not intervene in individual cases because it is all handled by the NEC. This latest revelation shows that cases were routinely referred to his office for their advice and direction. Whether it was a brazen untruth or an inept mishandling of a serious issue is almost irrelevant at this point. The conclusion is the same - the Labour leadership cannot be trusted on this issue and vindicates our request for a genuinely independent, mutually-agreed ombudsman to oversee Labour’s handling of antisemitism disciplinary cases.”
Jonathan Goldstein, Chair, Jewish Leadership Council
Marie Van Der Zyl, President, Board of Deputies
Mark Gardner, Deputy Chief Executive, CST
Constituency Labour Party (CLP) branches who debate motions which deny Labour’s problem with antisemitism do nothing more than encourage more antisemitism. These motions encourage Jew-baiting and are entirely unacceptable. Following many calls from Jewish Labour Party members, we call for any CLP who passes motions like ones we have seen in Sheffield Hallam and Hackney North to be immediately suspended. Any CLP which passes a motion denying the existence of antisemitism or suggesting that it a plot should have swift and firm action taken against it.
Councillors have voted unanimously to adopt a clear and strong stance against antisemitism.
We have agreed to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
Our Leader, Councillor Giles Archibald, who tabled a motion before Full Council, said: “I thought we had left this kind of racism behind a long time ago and I have been quite horrified and saddened by the evidence that antisemitism still exists.
“We must be unequivocal in expressing our distaste for antisemitism and I am delighted that councillors from all parties voted to pass the motion unanimously.
“Together, local politicians in South Lakeland are united in condemning antisemitism, wishing to make it perfectly clear that this kind of bigotry and racism has no place in British society.
“This motion sends a strong, cross-party message on this issue to Jewish communities and all who experience hate crime.”
Cllr Archibald’s motion was seconded by Cllr David Webster, Labour member for Ulverston East.
We voted to adopt the IHRA definition following consultation with the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC).
Marc Levy, North West regional manager at the JLC, said: “We are delighted that South Lakeland District Council has unanimously adopted the IHRA definition on antisemitism.
“Jewish communities know it is vital there is a clear and practical definition that will allow us to fight antisemitism in all its forms. I look forward to continuing to work with South Lakeland District Council as we continue to make strides in this area.”
Jewish community welcomes Government move to proscribe Hizballah in its entirety
Reacting to the announcement of the Government’s move to proscribe antisemitic, terrorist organisation Hizballah in its entirety, Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council and David Delew, Chief Executive of the Community Security Trust, said:
“We welcome the Home Secretary’s move to proscribe Hizballah in full. The Jewish community, including our organisations and leading community newspapers, have long led the call for this ban.
“Hizballah was responsible for the deaths of 85 people in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires and remains a threat to Jewish communities around the world, launching deadly attacks against civilians in Israel and Bulgaria and planning for attacks in other places such as Cyprus.
“The group’s genocidal intentions towards world Jewry were made clear in 1992 when they stated, “The war is on until Israel ceases to exist and the last Jew in the world has been eliminated”.
“The case against Hizballah has grown as the world has witnessed the terrorist organisation's widespread and active complicity in the wanton slaughter of civilians in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad and his allies.
“The previously held false distinction, between the ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings, was denied by even the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah, who said that, "The story of military wing and political wing is the work of the British".
“This has led to a situation where Hizballah supporters were free to parade the flags of this antisemitic terrorist organisation on the streets of London. following today’s announcement, we call on all of the relevant authorities to ensure that this will no longer be tolerated.
“The Government, and in particular the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary, have our thanks for their leadership on this issue and we encourage other countries to follow suit. We would hope that all political parties would back this measure to secure our community and the rest of the UK from the murderous, antisemitic terrorists of Hizballah. It is customary for terrorism proscriptions to be supported on a cross-party basis and we call on MPs and peers to back the motions in both Houses of Parliament this week.”
JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein said:
“I want to commend the courage of my friend Ian Austin. Today he took the brave and difficult step in leaving the Labour Party. Ian, the son of a Holocaust survivor, has been unflinching in his support against growing antisemitism in this country. He joins other MPs who resigned on Monday and Joan Ryan, another stalwart ally of our community, on Wednesday. The Labour Party has forced allies like Ian and Joan to choose between their British values and anti-racism and a narrow partisanship that promotes anti-Jewish racism. They are both on the right side of history in saying loudly and clearly that neither of them will continue to be bystanders to the hate emanating from the Labour leadership.”
In March 2018, following the publication of historical allegations concerning the activities and departure in 2013 of the previous Chief Executive, Jeremy Newmark, the Trustees of the Jewish Leadership Council (‘JLC’) appointed an Independent Review Panel (‘the Panel’) to investigate the matter. The Panel comprised Dawn Freedman, a retired judge, Derek Zissman, a former Vice Chairman of the professional services group KPMG, and Michael Scott, a solicitor at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. The members of the Panel subsequently appointed the independent forensic accountants Crowe UK LLP to assist with their review.
The Terms of Reference were agreed with the Charity Commission:
- To consider the decisions taken by the 2013 Trustees in relation to the allegations raised in the 2013 Internal Report and Mr Newmark’s resignation and whether all decisions were reasonable and were taken in the best interests of the JLC.
- To consider the question of the financial irregularities revealed by the 2013 Internal Report and consider if the JLC suffered a material loss in 2013.
- To undertake a review to ensure that the current internal financial processes of the JLC in 2018 are adequate and fit for purpose.
The Independent Review Panel’s report was delivered to both the Charity Commission and the Trustees of the Jewish Leadership Council on 31 January 2019.
Today, the JLC is publishing on its website the Panel’s Report together with the JLC’s response to the Panel’s recommendations; the JLC is also making available the statement received from Jeremy Newmark, the JLC’s former CEO.
Commenting, the JLC’s Chairman, Jonathan Goldstein, said:
“I would like to start by expressing our sincere gratitude to the whistle blower. Their bravery in highlighting serious concerns was a great service to the charity and the wider community.
I would also like to thank the Independent Panel for their time, expertise and care in undertaking this in-depth review to ensure that we fully understand what lessons can be learned.
The 2013 Trustees are outstanding leaders in our community, giving countless hours of their time and making significant contributions to the charity. Many of them created the JLC in order to help ensure the continuity in the UK, in this and future generations, of a vibrant and secure mainstream Jewish community. The Panel’s Report acknowledges that the 2013 Trustees always acted in what they believed were in the best interests of the charity.
The 2013 Trustees were let down by Jeremy Newmark. In him, they placed their trust in running the organisation.
Since the independent forensic accountants provided information that was not known to the 2013 Trustees, the JLC has now referred the matters raised in the Crowe Report relating to potentially questionable expenditure, to the police. The Trustees have also determined to put the JLC’s audit out to tender and is taking legal advice on other civil remedies that might be available to it.
The Panel has concluded that there were deficiencies in the charity’s processes in 2012 and 2013. We accept the findings of the Panel as well as the recommendations; all of which we are implementing in full or have already implemented.
The JLC has worked tirelessly to unite the community, to represent its concerns, and promote collaboration in order to provide solutions to the long term strategic challenges we face. Never has there been a greater need for this charity and the work it does.
We are resolutely committed to continue serving our community, and to engage with the Charity Commission so we always stand the strongest light of scrutiny.”
Report of the Independent Review Panel
To read the full Report of the Independent Review Panel please click here (pdf).
To read the JLC Response to the Panel's Recommendations - please click here (pdf).
To read a statement from Jeremy Newmark, former CEO of the JLC, please click here (pdf).
JLC Chair, Jonathan Goldstein, has written to Chris Williamson MP regarding his signing of the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment.
You can read the full letter here.
On 22nd January 2019, 35 representatives from 20 Jewish residential care home providers came together at the NEC in Birmingham to discuss the future of Jewish residential elderly care in the UK.
The conference was organised by the JLC Elderly Care Commission, which was established in 2017.