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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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One year after the Enough is Enough demonstration, Labour's antisemitism crisis has grown even worse

One year ago, more than 2,000 people gathered outside Parliament for an unprecedented demonstration.

For a minority community to protest the leadership of the official party of opposition against its handling of racism towards them is a shameful indictment on the party’s current leadership.

The Labour Party is meant to be a party imbued with social justice and which prides itself on its anti-racist credentials. Its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, calls himself “a militant opponent of racism”. Yet this is a party in which anti-Jewish racism has taken such a hold, that the Jewish community took to the streets to demand action.

The initial trigger for the demonstration had been the refusal of Mr Corbyn to oppose a blatantly antisemitic mural which had appeared in East London. However, the anguish of British Jews went much deeper than that. We were horrified that the Labour Leader not only called representatives of the antisemitic terrorist organisation Hizballah his “friends” but also that he refused to rule out meeting them again.

Raed Salah, who propagated the anti-Jewish canard that Jews kill Christian children to drink their blood, was supported by Mr Corbyn when he refused to oppose his extradition. There were countless antisemitic statements made by Labour members which had gone unpunished. We wanted to know why.

When we assembled outside Parliament with megaphones and placards, in the week before Pesach and at only 24 hours’ notice, we hoped it would be sufficient to spur the Labour Party into action. If complacency or ignorance had been at the root of the problem, then surely they would ensure that the correct measures would now be taken.

The Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council wrote to Mr Corbyn with a number of – simple steps that Labour could take to regain the confidence of the Jewish community. We asked Mr Corbyn himself to take leadership and to force through changes; we asked that outstanding and future disciplinary cases be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale; we asked that MPs, councillors and other party members should not be allowed to share platforms with those suspended or expelled from the party; we asked Labour to work with the mainstream Jewish community to develop and implement education about antisemitism; we asked for engagement with the community via its two main representative groups and for processes to monitor the progress of these actions.

Mr Corbyn met us. He promised to take action.

Yet one year on the crisis of antisemitism in Labour is not only unsolved, it is worse.

Unsolved disciplinary cases continue to stack up, with new instances of antisemitism discovered on a weekly basis. There are members who have been suspended for years with no expulsion on the horizon. Others have escaped censure completely. Indeed, Peter Willsman was elected to Labour’s National Executive Council after an outburst in which he claimed that Jewish “Trump fanatics” had invented antisemitism in Labour. To add insult to injury, we have since discovered that the leader’s office intervened in cases of alleged antisemitism, something we were explicitly told was not the case.

Since last year, those who have stood up bravely to anti-Jewish racism in Labour have been vilified and trolled by people who claim allegiance with Mr Corbyn, while a number of those suspended for antisemitism have been readmitted to the party. Mr Corbyn himself has failed to apologise for his past association with antisemites and Holocaust deniers and has failed to give assurances that such meetings would not happen again in the future. No system of education has been instituted for party members.

Things have reached the stage where Labour’s own MPs have demanded that the leadership account for their action (or more accurately inaction) on antisemitism. A group of MPs, including Luciana Berger, Joan Ryan and Ian Austin, cited the virulent antisemitism they had been subjected to as a reason why they had been forced to leave the party. Things have got so bad that the Equality and Human Rights Commission may formally investigate the party, a measure that it has only previously taken against the British National Party.

Unless we see an unexpected, dramatic and radical shift, Mr Corbyn will go down in history as a leader who allowed the evil of antisemitism to flourish. Labour must search its soul to see whether this is a legacy it wants to carry with it. There are many brave people in the party who have endured intolerable abuse for having the guts to stand up for its traditional, anti-racist values. It is long since time that they are supported and the racists and their enablers expelled.

A year ago we said “Enough is Enough”. We said that we needed to see action rather than words. We are still waiting.

Marie van der Zyl is president of the Board of Deputies

Jonathan Goldstein is chair of the Jewish Leadership Council

 

This article first appeared in the Jewish Chronicle 26/03/19

https://www.thejc.com/comment/comment/one-year-after-the-enough-is-enough-demonstration-labour-s-antisemitism-crisis-has-grown-even-worse-1.482117

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JLC comment on UNHRC resolutions against Israel

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JLC leads community groups in meeting with The Rt. Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP

JLC leads community groups in meeting with The Rt. Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP

 

The Rt. Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP and Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport met with the heads of a number of leading cultural and sporting Jewish communal organisations and given a tour of the JW3 Jewish community centre.

In attendance at the meeting were Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, Claudia Mendoza, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Jewish Leadership Council; Marc Levy, North West Regional Manager at the Jewish Leadership Council; Raymond Simonson, Chief Executive of JW3; Mark Gardner, Deputy Chief Executive of the CST; Abigail Morris, Executive Director of the Jewish Museum; Martin Berliner, Chief Executive of Maccabi GB, and Laura Marks OBE, Founder and Chair of Mitzvah Day.

The meeting, arranged by the Jewish Leadership Council, introduced Jeremy Wright QC MP to the work of each of these organisations and their contributions to the work of his Department.

Among the issues raised were funding for schools physical education programmes and other health related opportunities, building interfaith relationships through social action, and issues experienced by the Jewish community on social media.

Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council said:

“We are delighted that the Secretary of State was able to spare the time to understand and see first-hand the excellent work that our communal organisations do. We look forward to continuing to showcase the great work of our members and the wider Jewish community to government.”

Raymond Simonson, Chief Executive of JW3 said:

“It was great to show the Secretary of State around JW3 and give him a first-hand account of the important role that we play in providing opportunities for people of all backgrounds to engage in positive Jewish cultural experiences. His visit came at a time where the cultural offering in our community, through JW3, the Jewish Museum, UK Jewish Film and others, has never been stronger."

 

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Jewish Leadership Council meets with the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP

Jewish Leadership Council meets with the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP

The Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) today met with the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to discuss a number of issues including Israel, Iran and Hizballah.

Following the United Nations recent release of seven reports condemning Israel and the upcoming discussion of five unbalanced resolutions against Israel, the meeting was an important opportunity for the Jewish community to highlight our concerns around this longstanding and ongoing bias.

The JLC thanked Jeremy Hunt for the apology over Britain’s treatment of Jews during the Mandate of Palestine and thanked him for his help and support in the recent proscription of Hizballah, which had been actively encouraged by the Jewish community since 2013.

The JLC were delighted to arrange the meeting and be joined by colleagues from Board of Deputies.

Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council said, “At a time when the Jewish community feels vulnerable, we are extremely grateful and reassured that senior members of the Government are so willing to meet with us to discuss our community’s needs and interests.”

 

  

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Local councillors from North West learn about Jewish community at Manchester seminar

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.”

 

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JLC and Lead host International Women's Day event 2019

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

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Comment on revelations that the Labour Leader's office intervened on cases of antisemitism

“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

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Comment on recent CLP motions

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.

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South Lakeland District Council votes to condemn antisemitism

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.”

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