Updates

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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JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein thanks Theresa May for her service

“We thank the Prime Minister for her service to this country as well as her long-term support for the Jewish community. From her action against antisemitism as Home Secretary to her Government's protection of faith schools, the proscription of Hizballah and the strengthening of ties with Israel, the Prime Minister has been a true friend. We wish her the very best for the future.”

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JLC elects new trustees, Louise Jacobs, Laura Marks OBE and Keith Black

At its AGM last night, the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) confirmed the appointment of three new trustees. Those elected were Louise Jacobs, Chair of UJIA and Laura Marks OBE, Founder and Chair of Mitzvah Day. The Council also approved the appointment of Keith Black, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Regatta Group and a trustee of CST.

The election of Louise Jacobs and Laura Marks means that, for the first time, the JLC Board of Trustees will be gender balanced.

The JLC Board of Trustees continues to reflect its broad range of members. Louise, Laura and Keith bring a wealth of communal experience and expertise, which will enable the JLC to better act in the interest of the entire community.

The JLC deeply appreciates the time and dedication shown by Edward Misrahi and Bill Benjamin, who have now stood down from the JLC Board of Trustees.

 Jonathan Goldstein, Chair, Jewish Leadership Council said:

“I am delighted to welcome Louise, Laura and Keith to the JLC Board of Trustees. Each of them brings unique passion, energy and commitment to the table and I look forward to working with them on the behalf of our entire membership and our community. Significantly, this will also be the first time since its inception that the JLC’s board will have an equal number of women and men and I am proud the JLC can lead by example.”

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JLC appoints new Director of Community Strategy

Wednesday 15th May 2019

JLC announces David Davidi-Brown as the new Director of Community Strategy

The JLC is pleased to announce David Davidi-Brown as the new Director of Community Strategy.

In this newly created position, David will be responsible for leading the JLC’s projects addressing the long term strategic needs of the Jewish community.

The work of the department of Community Strategy is kindly supported by the Genesis Philanthropy Group.

David will oversee the implementation of the recommendations from the JLC’s Elderly Care Commission, and work with the Community Wellbeing Task Force on the pilot programme to support children and young people’s mental health. He will work closely with JLC members in helping to ensure the sustainability of the Jewish Charitable sector. David will also lead on other strategic projects looking at the UK Jewish community’s long term needs.

David was previously the CEO of the Union of Jewish Students, a role he held until earlier this year. He has also had experience working at UJIA and JHub, and has volunteered for a number of other charities.

David will begin working at the JLC on the 2nd July 2019.

Simon Johnson, Chief Executive, Jewish Leadership Council said:

“We are delighted to welcome David to the team and are excited that we have attracted a professional of his calibre to the role. David brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience within the community, and is certain to add a great deal of value to the work of the JLC.”

David Davidi-Brown said:

“I am thrilled to be joining the wonderful team at the JLC and look forward to making my contribution to UK Jewry. I am eager to listen and learn as, together, we strengthen and sustain work engaging and supporting younger and older members of our community; expand the vital work promoting positive mental health and wellbeing; and explore the opportunities arising from our values driven desire to cooperate and collaborate.”

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The New Political Lexicon

Simon Johnson, Chief Executive, Jewish Leadership Council

This article first appeared in the Jewish Telegraph on 03/05/19

 

When academics and political students come to study the events of 2016-2019, they will find it a source of fascinating political precedent.

But they will also find that a number of phrases have entered the political lexicon, some of which will be long lasting, and some of which will become historical curiosities.

So, I thought I would look at some of the phrases that have entered the political language over the last three years. I think these are expressions, which will live long in the memory. I try to give a description and an origin of each of these phrases.

The phrases are set out in alphabetical order.

 

All forms of racism:                  

Something that a person on the Left has to oppose in addition to antisemitism. Originally intended as a way of playing down antisemitism as being just one thing that the Leader of the Labour Party fights against, it lived briefly in Labour Party press office statements at the start of the antisemitism crisis, until even they realised that it did not play well for them.

 

A militant opponent of racism:  

This is a direct quote from Jeremy Corbyn’s letter to the community in March 2018. It is one that is thrown back against Jeremy Corbyn each time that Labour has failed to tackle antisemitism. Often wrongly quoted, it is a perfect example of an auto-antonym, which is a phrase which has two contradictory meanings.

 

Backstop:                                

Originally, a position in the game of Rounders, this word has been hijacked to describe some mechanism to avoid a hard border between Northern and the Republic of Ireland. It will be chiefly remembered for the fact that nobody at all can understand or describe it.

 

Brexit Means Brexit:                 

Rarely can a political slogan have turned out to be so meaningless. In an attempt to simplify a complex situation, Theresa May’s phrase has become an empty phrase. Quite clearly Brexit might mean any number of things, and there are scores of versions of what Brexit might mean. It also became possible that Brexit might mean No Brexit.

 

Coalition of Chaos:                  

Intended as a campaign insult by the Conservatives to describe any combination of political parties in a Labour Minority Government, it has since become deeply ironic given the Government’s reliance on the DUP and how frequently the Government has been defeated. Having been used so often in election campaigns, I suspect it has now been consigned to history.

 

Enough is Enough:                         

A phrase which has been adopted first by the anti-gun lobby in the US and then by the Jewish community to refer to anti-Jewish racism in the Labour party. It can be used as a campaign slogan for anything that has been going on for too long. It signifies exasperation and the “last throw of the dice”. The Jewish claim to it is strongest, due to the fact that it is a neat translation of “Dayeinu”.

 

Indicative Vote:                        

A phrase from the House of Commons that has been gleefully seized upon by many Chairs of large meetings when they want to take a vote but not to be bound by the outcome! It means that you can have a long debate, take a vote and then completely ignore the result. This will become a genuine option and Chairs of meetings in all sorts of contexts will be offering it when they want to present a fig leaf of democracy and then get on and do whatever they wanted to do in the first place.

 

Meaningful Vote:                     

A phrase introduced by PM Theresa May to persuade Parliament that their views on her proposed Brexit deal would be taken seriously by the Government. Presumably, she wanted it not to be confused with an “Indicative Vote” (See above).  It does raise the question of what might be a “Meaningless vote”. It is to be assumed that, in creating the phrase, she did not mean to suggest that all other votes in Parliament were not meaningful. That would reveal her to have a very dim view of Parliamentary democracy.

 

Present but not involved:          

A perfect excuse available to anybody who finds themselves photographed somewhere inconvenient and wants to explain that they really had no idea or no support for what they had been caught red handed doing. The phrase was first used by Jeremy Corbyn in his fourth attempt to explain why he was pictured holding a wreath at the memorial to one of the Munich Olympic terrorists. His sophistry was trotted out by the Labour Party ever afterwards. Sadly, the excuse has been rather undermined by recent revelations that his trip there was funded by a group which is a front for Hamas in Europe and that he deliberately manipulated the costs so that he would not have to declare the trip. But the phrase has nonetheless stood the test of time.

 

Racist Bone in His Body:               

In that “He does not have a racist bone in his body”. A phrase used to excuse anyone who campaigns against racism from an accusation of antisemitism. It uses the metaphor of bones having emotions. It has become the defence of many on the left accused of racism. “I am a lifelong campaigner against racism/I am myself a victim of racism, and therefore I can not be guilty of racism”. Its’ use is intended to bring a conversation to an end.

 

Racist Endeavour:                          

One of the Examples in the IHRA definition, to describe how, depending on the context, a description of Israel might be held to be antisemitic. It was then seized upon by left- wing activists and pro-Corbyn supporters as an actual description of Israel as they sought to defend the Labour Party’s failure to adopt the IHRA definition.

 

0.1%                                        

Zero point One Per cent.  A number sufficiently small that nobody needs to worry about it. Used by the Labour Press Office to describe the percentage of Party members under investigation for antisemitism. In other words, “move along, nothing to see here, it’s so small as to be insignificant”. Recent revelations in the Sunday Times have proved that the number is actually far higher.

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I am tired of Labour MPs who condemn antisemitism one day and campaign for Corbyn's party the next

This article first appeared in the Jewish Chronicle on the 1/5/19

https://www.thejc.com/comment/comment/tired-of-labour-mps-who-condemn-labour-antisemitism-one-day-and-campaign-for-corbyn-s-party-the-next-1.483629

I am tired of Labour MPs who condemn antisemitism one day and campaign for Corbyn's party the next

Jonathan Goldstein

As we mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom HaShoah, it is important we remember the tragedy that happened over 80 years ago and it is also important that we don’t so quickly forget the tragedy in our community that happened less than a week ago.

Another shooting in a place of worship. This time, again, in a synagogue. One woman dead and others injured. Tales of her bravery will provide little comfort long term to her family who will have lost a loved one or to a community who will never be the same again.

Add this to the attacks in Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Pittsburgh and the tally is a depressingly long list of heinous crimes. 

Immediately the postings of outrage and condemnation rain down from all but most noticeably from those have recently been criticised themselves by the Jewish community for their own actions. These include freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour and of course, Britain’s Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The Jewish community’s position is simple. We want - and as a minority community are entitled to expect - zero tolerance towards anti-Jewish racism. If you are a political leader who cannot live up to that standard, then your words are meaningless to us. 

Ilhan Omar can’t propagate old fashioned tropes about Jewish power and money and then claim to be an ally on racism directed towards Jews. She is part of the problem not part of the solution and her crocodile tears are plain offensive.

And if Mr Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s institutionally racist party thinks his words are welcome, he is mistaken. Over the past two weeks alone, there have been countless examples of anti-Jewish racism. There is enough evidence to expose the vacuousness of Mr Corbyn’s supposed “zero tolerance” policy towards anti-Jewish racism.

All the recent examples of antisemitism were overshadowed by the discovery of a video in which Mr Corbyn’s right hand man Seamus Milne implies collaboration between Israel and ISIS. What could be worse than to allege a relationship between the world’s only Jewish state and the cruel blood thirsty murderers of ISIS?

Mr Milne is completely divorced from reality but is ideologically hard wired to believe this is plausible. We witnessed Mr Milne’s forked tongue ourselves when we met with him and Mr Corbyn last April. He framed his own views in the third person and Mr Corbyn sits back because he shares them.

To add insult to injury, it has now been revealed that Mr Corbyn wrote the foreword to a republished 1902 book which tied imperialism and war to “a small group of international financiers, chiefly German in origin and Jewish in race”. Mr Corbyn was full of praise for this book and called it a “great tome”.

At best, Mr Corbyn wrote this foreword without even reading the book or failed to recognise its anti-Jewish racism staring him in the face. At worst, Mr Corbyn strongly supports the message within the book and has used it to form his political ideology. Neither scenario is particularly promising for the UK’s Jewish community.

To the Labour MPs who allow this intolerable situation to continue with anti-semites running their party - I am tired of reading your protestations one day and the next day watching you campaigning for the party.

Edmund Burke said that for evil to succeed, good people have to stay silent and do nothing and I am afraid that it is the Labour MPs, many of whom I regard as friends, in allowing the leadership to act in the way they do, who are now becoming part of the problem.

My son is a massive Avengers fan and he revels in the feats of the super heroes saving the world. But in real life it is ordinary men and women taking a stand that makes a difference. Ian Austin and Joan Ryan led the way in standing up and leaving the party over this but depressingly little has changed since their departure from Labour. 

May the lesson from all the recent outrages be that zero tolerance is the only way forward. Hopefully in the UK, that should be a lesson which leads Labour MPs not to just issue supportive tweets but to take a stand. When they say to us ‘enough is enough’, what action will follow to make those words a reality?

“Enough is Enough” is a simple message and it is time for those who claim to be friends of our community to ensure that these are not just words.

Jonathan Goldstein is chair of the Jewish Leadership Council

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JLC arranges for community organisations to meet with Universities Minister

JLC arranges for community organisations to meet with Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore MP

The Jewish Leadership Council today arranged for the Union of Jewish Students, CST, and the Antisemitism Policy Trust to meet with Universities Minister, Chris Skidmore MP.

Among the topics discussed were the current challenges on recent incidents on campuses across the UK.

A discussion of the proactive and reactive steps taken to tackle antisemitism also took place, including the role of the Office for Students.

The minister was highly encouraging of the need to support Jewish students on campus.

Marc Levy, North West Regional Manager, Jewish Leadership Council said:

“We are grateful that the minister has made the time to meet with our communal organisations and listen to the concerns of Jewish students around campus antisemitism. We are looking forward to working with the Minister to work on addressing the points raised in the meeting.”

Daniel Kosky, Campaigns Organiser, Union of Jewish Students said:

“We were pleased to meet with Universities Minister Chris Skidmore to discuss the issues facing Jewish students on campus and actions the government can take to improve the lives of Jewish students. We look forward to working with the Minister in the future.”

 

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