Board of Deputies of British Jews – Community Briefing
by Comunidad Judía · 15 Av 5779 – 16 August, 2019
Board of Deputies President: Our community must prepare for a ‘no deal’ Brexit Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has written about the Jewish community’s preparations in the event of a no-deal Brexit. You can read her article in full below. As the new Government takes shape, it seems increasingly clear that, while exiting with a deal remains the Government’s stated aspiration, a ‘no deal’ Brexit is now a strong possibility.
While Brexit excites lively debate in our community, there is not a clear-cut ‘Jewish’ case on either side of the argument, and the Board of Deputies has never taken an official view on Brexit.
We have seen it as our role to ensure the smoothest possible outcomes for the community, once the overarching decisions have been taken. This has involved education and advocacy, including working with our colleagues at the Jewish Leadership Council to produce ‘Brexit and the Jewish Community’, a guide to the main issues that Brexit would entail for British Jews.
Given the increasing likelihood of ‘no deal’, I thought that it would be helpful to set out the key questions at stake, and how the Board of Deputies, and the community as a whole, should prepare.
We are looking at six main issues:
1. UK-Israel trade – Let’s start with the good news. One of the concerns we had over Brexit was that trade with Israel, which is presently covered by EU-Israel agreements, would be affected. This could have impacted on Israeli goods, religious items – and even flights to Israel. However, Israel was one of the first countries to sign a comprehensive trade and partnership agreement with the UK, replicating the existing EU agreements, which will take effect after Brexit. This, at least, is sorted.
2. Sanctions against terrorist organisations – Before Brexit, a number of terrorist organisations, such as the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the political wing of Hamas were technically only subject to UK sanctions by virtue of being under a wider EU sanctions regime. The UK Government has responded to this issue by laying before Parliament a statutory instrument called The Counter-Terrorism (International Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, which will give the UK the powers to carry over the EU sanctions regime. The regulations do not list the organisations covered, but we have received assurances from ministers that the UK intends to sanction the above terrorist groups, and we will be working to ensure that this happens.
3. Kosher meat – As all agriculture legislation currently sits with the EU, UK regulation will need to be adapted to ensure that it is viable post any Brexit; deal or no-deal. This will include all legislation governing the slaughter of animals for food, which contains shechita. Similarly, the UK
would no longer be under the European Court of Justice, which arguably offers more protection from a human rights perspective. Our colleagues at Shechita UK have been leading on this set of issues. Regarding possible tariffs, the majority of shechita for the UK market takes place within Britain. Any food stuffs imported into the UK could well become more expensive in a no deal scenario. Imported kosher food from the EU would be in-line with other products, with any possible knock-on effects for the wider market.
4. Workforce supply – Many of the security guards and care workers that the Jewish community employs are EU migrants. While those who are already in the UK can apply for settled status, it might be harder to attract new workers, particularly if migration is to be significantly cut. The result could be rising labour costs, meaning, for example, that the Government’s grant to the Community Security Trust covers less, or that the budgets of Jewish social care organisations are stretched even further.
5. Populism – Where there is political chaos or economic disruption, people often seek a ‘scapegoat’ to blame. Jews and other minorities have often borne the brunt of this. We must continue to insist on a society which respects and celebrates different groups, whether Jews, Muslims, European citizens or other minorities.
6. General economic outlook – Economists are divided on what the exact impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit on the economy would be. However, most predict that there will be at least short-term disruption. Members of our community, and some of our key communal institutions and charities are likely to feel the pinch, as will many parts of wider society. This will require us as a community to be more charitable, both to Jewish and wider causes, so as to help each other overcome any shortfalls.
At the Board of Deputies, we will continue to ensure that the Government makes the necessary preparation to support our community. There is a sense of willingness, but we want to see things over the line.
That said, we are about to go through an unprecedented political and economic event, and with even the best preparations there are likely to be unforeseen challenges. Costs of key Jewish services may well rise. I would therefore urge our community to do what it does best, to continue to be generous, both to Jewish and wider causes, to get us through the challenges ahead.
Read the analysis piece about our article in the JC here.
Support plans for the National Holocaust Memorial at Westminster Westminster City Council is currently considering plans for a National Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre to be sited next to Parliament. This is a project of huge significance to our country, our community and the families of the victims of this unparalleled evil.
Siting the memorial next to Parliament at the heart of our democracy sends an important message of the importance of the Holocaust to our nation’s history and collective memory
As survivors of the Holocaust become fewer and fewer, we are faced with the challenge of how best to remember the Holocaust. Survivors say how important it is to have the memorial on a specific and important site.
Despite commitments that this kind of tragedy will never happen again following the Holocaust, there have been millions murdered in subsequent genocides around the world. It has never been more important to have an important, national institution dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and as a constant reminder of what happens when hate goes unchecked.
We implore you to support this hugely important project. You can do so quickly and easily by following the link here.
The Board of Deputies is recruiting The Board of Deputies is looking for a highly motivated individual to work as its Public Affairs Officer and as the secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Jews. The post-holder is responsible for engaging with MPs, peers, the parliamentary process and political stakeholders, developing policy, research and report writing, event planning and running specific projects.
We are also recruiting a Head of Fundraising, Director of Operations, Director of Finance and an Executive Assistant. You can find full job descriptions and details of how to apply here.
Natasha Kaplinsky to be in conversation with Tony Blair at President’s dinner Broadcaster and journalist Natasha Kaplinsky has confirmed that she will be interviewing Tony Blair at the Board of Deputies’ President’s Dinner on November 4.
Ms Kaplinsky, who has worked for ITV, BBC, Channel Five and Sky News, is currently a board member for the Holocaust Memorial Foundation.
She said: “I’m very much looking forward to this prestigious occasion where I will be discussing important issues with Tony Blair – one of the foremost political figures of our times.”
ACTIVITY REPORT POLITICAL President Marie van der Zyl, Vice President Edwin Shuker and Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff, in partnership with the Sussex Jewish Representative Council and the JLC, attended a protest against a meeting held in Brighton by suspended Labour MP Chris Williamson. After the protest was announced, the British Quakers cancelled the venue for Chris Williamson’s event and stated clearly their opposition to antisemitism. Williamson’s event still took place, on the street – as did the Jewish community’s protest. See photos here INTERNATIONAL Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb, International Relations Officer Marius Bischoff, Clive Lawton and Robby Hoffman presented Euripides L. Evriviades, the High Commissioner of Cyprus, with a ‘Distinguished Service Award’ on behalf of the Commonwealth Jewish Council (CJC) ahead of his retirement. The award marks the contribution he has made during his time as High Commissioner in the UK. See photos here.
President Marie van der Zyl was interviewed this week by Israeli TV channel i24 News. You can see a clip here.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg gave an interview (in Spanish) to Argentinian Jewish radio station, Radio Jai, about the current political situation in Britain, including Brexit.
GOVERNMENT Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg met with an official from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government to discuss ideas around interfaith relations, integration and community cohesion. INTERFAITH Vice-President Edwin Shuker, together with Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger and Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff, visited the London Central Mosque in Regents Park for a meeting with its Director, Dr Ahmad Al Dubayan. They discussed Muslim-Jewish cooperation and shared values. EDUCATION Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger attended a Joint Council for Qualifications briefing on the 2019 A and AS Level results. SOCIAL ACTION The Board of Deputies staff team participated in a training session this week run by Keshet UK about including Jewish LGBT+ people in our organisation and in our work. Copyright © 2019 Board of Deputies of British Jews, All rights reserved. You are receiving this email because you subscribed on our website, or because you are a deputy or designated under-35 observer of the Board of Deputies. If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.