Board of Deputies

Board of Deputies  
  Community Briefing  


London Mayor Sadiq Khan signs historic pledge to fight antisemitism


London Mayor Sadiq Khan signs the AJC pledge on antisemitism this week

Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush has welcomed Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision to join mayors from across Europe and the United States in signing a pledge to take action against antisemitism in their communities.
The Board of Deputies, Community Security Trust and the London Jewish Forum approached Mayor Khan to sign the pledge, which has been endorsed by more than 150 mayors from 30 European countries.
The pledge is part of the Mayors United Against Antisemitism initiative, developed by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in July 2015 and launched in Europe later that year. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, was the first European Mayor to sign the pledge, followed by those from Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan and Copenhagen. More than 300 mayors from 50 American states also supported the project.
Jonathan Arkush said: “Antisemitism is one of the greatest challenges facing Jews in London and across the country. Just two weeks into the job, Sadiq Khan has signed up to AJC’s campaign against antisemitism. Taken together with his attendance at the Yom HaShoah Holocaust commemoration event, this sets a very positive tone that we hope will be replicated throughout his mayoralty. We also thank Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore for his particular role in championing this initiative in City Hall.”
Mayor  Khan said: “Sadly, for many Londoners, antisemitism is a very present problem.  As a British Muslim, I am no stranger to discrimination and prejudice. That’s why, as Mayor for all Londoners, I am determined to fight racism in all its forms and will make challenging hate crime a priority. I am proud to sign the Mayors United Against Antisemitism pledge and I will encourage other Mayors across the country and Europe to do the same, to help send the message far and wide that antisemitism is totally unacceptable and can never be justified.”
David Harris, Chief Executive Officer of the American Jewish Committee, said: “The Mayor’s support for this initiative is special for three reasons. First, as Mayor, he has demonstrated continuity in opposition to all forms of antisemitism, as his predecessor Boris Johnson was also a signatory. Second, with all the recent concerns expressed about currents within Britain’s Labour Party regarding antisemitism, this is a particularly welcome and important development, since he is such a prominent member of the Labour Party. And third, Sadiq Khan is the first mayor of the Muslim faith of a major Western capital. Thus, his signature sends a very powerful message not only to the London Jewish community, but well beyond, about potential friendship, support and cooperation.”

 To read the full report, click here. To read Sadiq Khan’s JC article, clickhere.

Vice President Marie van der Zyl was among a British group of Jewish and Christian leaders which travelled to Israel and the Palestinian Territories on a visit organised by the Council of Christians and Jews. Among the group’s activities were meetings with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Palestinian Authority, plus a meeting with British Ambassador David Quarrey (pictured above)


Arkush issues warning on Austrian far-right support 

Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush today commented on the near success of a far-right candidate in the Austrian presidential elections. He said: “We would like to congratulate Alexander Van der Bellen on his election as President of Austria. We also wish to note our grave concern at the level of support for Norbert Hofer and the Freedom Party. Mr Hofer and the Freedom Party have some deeply unsettling connections to unsavoury groups in Austrian society which no amount of carefully staged visits to Israel can camouflage. He has used language reminiscent of the Nazi-era, indulged far-right media and has also carried a gun ‘in response to the migrant crisis’.

“The rise of the far right in Europe is of serious concern not just to Jewish and other minority communities but to all right minded people in our continent. In light of this result, we call on Mr Van der Bellen and all sections of society to redouble efforts to build bridges and reject the politics of division which will only fuel the fire of extremism and isolation.

“We are also alarmed by the entry into the Cypriot parliament of the National Popular Front (ELAM), which is known to have links with the extremist Golden Dawn party in Greece. We trust the Cypriot Government will continue its work to foster good intercommunal relations under the leadership of President Anastasiades.



Could you be our new Interfaith and Social Action Officer?

The Board of Deputies is looking for a highly motivated individual to work as its Interfaith and Social Action Officer.

The post-holder will be responsible for promoting and developing interfaith relations and social action for both the Board of Deputies and the wider Jewish community.

This will involve proactive relationship-building between Jewish communities and different faith and belief groups at national and local levels, as well as developing and leading campaigns around social action themes.

The post-holder will be a key ambassador for the Board of Deputies and the UK Jewish community.

For full details of the post including job specification please click here.

To apply, please send a CV and covering letter (maximum two sides of A4) outlining how you meet the requirements set out in the person specification and where you heard about the job. Please send this to with the subject heading ‘Interfaith and Social Action Officer’.



Board Activity


The Board of Deputies is looking for summer interns to work for a period between the end of June and late September. The ideal candidates will have previous interest and experience in one or more of: interfaith relations, social action, policy, government, politics and education, Israel, international affairs and antisemitism. Travel and lunch expenses will be paid. For full details and how to apply, click here.


Shami Chakrabarti, the chair of the Labour Party’s inquiry into antisemitism, has invited community members to submit evidence to the inquiry. If you would like to make a submission, clickhere.


President Jonathan Arkush addressed the Finchley & Hampstead Garden Suburb branch of AJEX as guest speaker at its annual general meeting.

Jonathan Arkush addressed a Shabbaton at Sutton & District United Synagogue on Friday night and after Shabbat morning service.

Vice President Sheila Gewolbattended the annual general meeting of Cardiff United Synagogue and spoke about how the Board of Deputies is rigorously monitoring the current situation of antisemitism within the Labour Party. She also invited the community to participate in a Q&A session about how the Board of Deputies works for all UK Jewish communities, highlighting the recent hustings for the Welsh Assembly elections in conjunction with the South Wales Representative Council.

Treasurer Stuart MacDonald met Rabbi Danny Rich, ‎Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism, to discuss opportunities for further co-operation between the Progressive movement and the Board of Deputies.


President Jonathan Arkushattended a reception for faith leaders hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.


Chief Executive Gillian Merronwill be one of the panel members at a debate entitled “Where Are the Zionists?” to be held on May 31 from 7.30-9.30pm at a north London Venue. The debate, organised by We Believe in Israel and BICOM, together with the Zionist Federation, is part of Zionim Month. If you would like to attend the debate, your name, contact number, home address and email address. There is no fee to attend.

Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg discussed online hate speech, diversity and inclusion at a US Embassy-hosted roundtable with Facebook’s Maxine Williams.



Phil Rosenberg discussed collaboration opportunities with the World Jewish Congress’s Jewish Diplomatic Corps.

International Relations Officer David Walsh met civil servants at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to discuss the political situation in Israel, the French conference initiative, the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the bilateral relationship between the UK and the Palestinian Authority.
David Walsh and Phil Rosenbergattended a screening of the film ‘Oriented’ about LGBT Palestinians living in Israel. The event, followed by a Q&A, was hosted by the UK Taskforce on issues relating to Arab citizens of Israel, and JW3.

Consultant on Grassroots Engagement with Israel Steven Jaffe joined representatives of the Bournemouth Jewish community at an evening to Honour Israel held at the Lighthouse Theatre in Poole organised by local couple Les and Margaret Burbidge.
Steven Jaffe attended the Christian Resources exhibition at the Excel Centre as the guest of Christian Friends of Magen David Adom. A number of pro-Israel Christian organisations had stalls at the exhibition.
Steven Jaffe was interviewed on Revelation TV’s Middle East Report on the subject of Jerusalem. Just under 3,000 Postcards for Jerusalem have now been circulated in the campaign Steven is spearheading. For information, please contact Steven
Steven Jaffe met with Pastor Kemi Ilori of Leeds TEAM, an association of 22 churches in Leeds and surrounding areas. Steven introduced Pastor Kemi to diplomats at the Israeli Embassy. Steven also met Ruth Isaac of the Brussels-based European Coalition for Israel.


Gillian Merron attended an interview with former Prime Minister Tony Blair, entilted “Britain in the World”, hosted by Prospect Magazine.


Government Affairs Officer Dawn Waterman and Education Consultant Sandra Teacherattended two meetings at the Department for Education, one with the Department’s Faith School Providers Group and one with Department officials to discuss NUT materials on Israel/Palestine.


Gillian Merron took part in a panel discussion on the left, antisemitism and anti-Zionism for new YouTube channel J-TV. This was hosted by Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society. Other panellists were David Lammy MP and Tom Wilson, Fellow at the Centre for the New Middle East.



26 MAY 2016
18 IYYAR 5776

Shabbat times:

LONDON 8.45pm/10.14pm
MANCHESTER 9.04pm/10.40pm
LEEDS 9.03pm/10.40pm
GLASGOW 9.27pm/11.17pm



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Community Services manager Colin Spanjar writes about the rededicaton of the Penzance Jewish Cemetery, the oldest and best preserved of its type in the country. Read the articlehere



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