BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS -COMMUNITY BRIEFING
by Comunidad Judía · 14 Tammuz 5779 – 17 July, 2019
Board of Deputies President: Corbyn, Milne and Formby are responsible for turning a once-great, anti-racist party into a cesspit of antisemitism Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has reacted to last night’s Panorama investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party.
“This Panorama investigation gives added weight to what we have suspected all along. It suggests that the issue of antisemitism has been treated with disdain by the Labour leader and as a joke by Seumas Milne, and that Jennie Formby and her appointments have repeatedly obstructed justice in disciplinary cases.
“As anti-Jewish racism remains a poison running through the party, it appears to have been watched over by a leader whose henchmen had not the slightest intention of acting to get rid of the problem so long as they could get rid of the negative headlines. This is a terrible indictment of a party unable and unwilling to confront racism in its own ranks. Rather than attempting to enforce immoral non-disclosure agreements and making pathetic attempts to blame everyone but themselves, the party should be acting to excise this terrible stain.
“Fundamentally, their weak excuses are belied by the observable results, where clear offenders are let off with little to no punishment, as has been evident in the recent cases of Chris Williamson and Pete Willsman, people regarded as Corbynite allies. All this while the Party’s capacity for quick justice is evidenced by the rapid expulsion meted out to perceived political opponents, like Alistair Campbell.
“It was harrowing to watch on national television Labour staffers saying that they were driven to extreme levels of mental anguish.
“Given tonight’s reports, and the continued observable failings in disciplinary processes, it is hard to escape the conclusion that Jeremy Corbyn, Seumas Milne and Jennie Formby are personally responsible for having turned a once great, anti-racist party into a cesspit of antisemitism.”
The Guardian removes letter purporting to be from ‘prominent members of the Jewish community’ The Guardian has removed a letter from its website purporting to be written by “prominent members of the Jewish community in the UK and abroad” after a complaint by the Board of Deputies.
The Guardian was misleading and inaccurate in its description of the signatories, some have been suspended or expelled from the Labour Party and one of whom has called for Zionists to be exterminated. Some of the signatories do not represent the organisations that they claim to (for example Hope Not Hate), and many other names are completely unknown and unverified, certainly not “prominent members of the Jewish community”.
The Guardian has a duty to conduct due diligence on the signatories of letters it publishes, especially on one relating to such a serious issue as racism. In this case, the inclusion of racist signatories should have prevented the publication of the letter.
You can read the full Board of Deputies complaint here.
Condemnation for ‘vile Muslim-baiting film’ Following reports of a screening in London of Homelands, a ‘documentary’ by Katie Hopkins and former UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson on the “Islamification of Europe”, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has commented:
“This vile Muslim-baiting film should never have seen the light of day. Shame on those who hosted and promoted such an event.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl, Chief Executive Gillian Merron, and International Relations Officer Marius Bischoff met Elan Carr, US Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, and Yael Lempert, Deputy Chief of Mission, for a roundtable with our Jewish communal partners at the US Embassy to discuss antisemitism and rising populism. Pictured (left to right) Elan Carr, Marie van der Zyl, Gillian Merron and Daniel Kosky of the Union of Jewish Students ACTIVITY REPORT INTERNATIONAL Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb and International Relations Officer Marius Bischoff met Hen Mazzig, speaker, writer, activist and former IDF officer, with members of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps. They discused antisemitism and the plight of Jews from Arab and Muslim countries. GOVERNMENT Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg attended a multifaith roundtable with Home Office Minister Caroline Nokes MP to talk about the immigration system, currently and post-Brexit. They discussed the importance of appropriate tone and language, the issues facing Jewish refugees from Aden and labour supply for key sectors such as social care. They also discussed issues relating to visa requirements for ministers of religion. EDUCATION A Jewish Living Tour took place this week for 27 Year 10 students and two teachers from Brynteg School, Bridgend, Wales. Starting at Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss Gardens) the group were given an explanation of the synagogue followed by talks in smaller groups on Judaism topics: Torah, Shabbat, Kashrut and the High Holy Days. After a lunch of kosher fish and chips at White Fish Restaurant in Hendon, the students transferred to Ner Yisrael Synagogue to hear a spellbinding talk from Holocaust survivor Eve Kugler. Grateful thanks to our volunteer guides Leonard Silver, Jenny Freedman, Sandra Rose and Dorothy Sadlik, Deputy Syd Braham, and Board of Deputies staff members Education Projects Administrator Jackie Emery and Education Development Manager Sara Perlmutter. POLITICAL President Marie van der Zyl and Vice Presidents Amanda Bowman and Edwin Shuker and several Deputies attended the 17th Isaiah Berlin Lecture by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Marie and Amanda asked Mr Brown questions about antisemitism in the Labour Party.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and the JLC’s Claudia Mendoza met Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron to discuss Brexit, antisemitism and the current state of UK politics.
CAMPUS Vice President Amanda Bowman and Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Bergermet the new President of the Union of Jewish Students Esther Offenberg, together with the outgoing President Hannah Rose, to discuss priorities for engagement over the next year. LOCAL GOVERNMENT Chief Executive Gillian Merron joined communal partners to meet Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita. The event was hosted by Lord Palmer.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg met Councillor Abdul Hai, Camden’s Cabinet Member for Youth and Cohesion, to talk about issues relating to interfaith, coroners and antisemitism.
COMMUNITY Vice President Sheila Gewolb was guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) at Alyth Synagogue.
Vice President Amanda Bowman and Treasurer Stuart MacDonald met with Cassie Matus and Scott Saunders from March of the Living to discuss partnership opportunities.
MILAH Vice President Amanda Bowman attended the Milah UK AGM chaired by Milah UK Co-Chairs David Katzand Jonathan Arkush. Board of Deputies Government Affairs Officer Daniel Elton provides the secretariat for Milah UK. INTERFAITH Vice Chair of the Communities Education & Interfaith Division Richard Benson attended the Barnet Multi Faith Forum AGM.
Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff joined Jewish and Christian faith leaders on a Council of Christians and Jews-organised study tour of Israel and the West Bank, where they met Israeli and Palestinian faith leaders, politicians and activists. The group also visited the Hand in Hand bilingual Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem and were hosted for tea by the British Ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan. Deputy Ben Crowne was also on the trip.
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