Following sad news of Brian Kerner’s passing last night, JLC Chair, Jonathan Goldstein pays tribute:
Brian was driven by a love and commitment to British Jews and Israel, but also a passion for getting things done efficiently. He would always dryly observe that there were thousands of Jewish organisations in Britain, all replicating each other's work. Brian's lifelong push for cooperation and collaboration led him to have a hand in the creation of many of the institutions of UK Jewish life.
As chair of the United Israel Appeal, Brian led the merger with Jewish Continuity that created the UJIA. At the start of the second Intifada, he brought together different Jewish and pro-Israel organisations in a Cross-Community Coordination Group (CCG) to plan for the crisis, and ended establishing and helping to lead BICOM. As chair of the CCG, Brian was also involved in setting up the JLC itself.
Brian was one of the first Jewish leaders to recognise the threat of the anti-Israel boycott movement. He founded the Fair Play Campaign, the Jewish world's first standing anti-boycott umbrella group, and acted as its Co Chairman.
Anyone who worked with Brian will also remember his sharp wit, his occasionally-risqué sense of humour and his love of Arsenal football club. Brian was a dedicated fundraiser who was always willing to lend support of his time, his resources, his connections and his passion.
The British Jewish community was immensely enriched by Brian's work, and is poorer for his passing. I wish his wife Sylvia and family comfort and pray that his memory will be a blessing.