Chief Executive Gillian Merronhas expressed her concerns about a ‘Free Speech on Israel’ event which took place in Parliament last night hosted by SNP MP Tommy Sheppard. In a letter to Ian Blackford MP, the SNP’s Westminster Group Leader, Gillian wrote: “We are concerned that an SNP MP is allowing this group to be given a privileged public platform when the group’s entire raison d’être is to downplay and minimise antisemitism.” She added: “We were pleased when the SNP adopted the IHRA Definition of antisemitism. Seeing an SNP MP hosting this event undermines this good work. You will understand that when a representative of a mainstream political party hosts a group like this in the Houses of Parliament it raises questions about intention and ability to combat antisemitism.”
Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon met Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, to discuss the Government’s two-child cap on universal credit and child tax credits as well as wider issues of antisemitism and education.
Gillian Merron met Christos Karaolis, President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, to discuss advocacy, cooperation and recent developments in our respective communities.
Vice Presidents Marie van der Zyl and Sheila Gewolb and Medical Adviser David Katz represented the Board of Deputies at a Gala Concert at Cadogan Hall to celebrate the Balfour 100 centenary, which was hosted by Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev and Vered Regev. Guests, including Lords Rothschild and Balfour, were entertained by a programme of British and Israeli classics, provided by the London International Orchestra, renowned Israeli musicians and UK choristers from the Zemel Choir, Belsize Square Synagogue Choir and the West London Synagogue choir.
Sheila Gewolb attended a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration at the Naima Jewish Preparatory School, Maida Vale, where a plaque was unveiled by Lord Jacob Rothschild.
President Jonathan Arkush met Adam Rose, Chair of Jewish Council for Racial Equality, to discuss its work on race and asylum
Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff and Joel Salmon and met Leora Kessler from Project Ten, a project of the Jewish agency which runs volunteering projects abroad.
Marie van der Zyl attended a Department for Communities and Local Government event entitled ‘Complexity and Dialogue on Israel-Palestine’.
Sheila Gewolb and Treasurer Stuart MacDonald attended a concert, ‘Funky Dervish’, presented by JW3, Harif, JMI, and the Israeli Embassy. The event marked the fourth Annual Memorial Day commemorating the modern exodus of more than 850,000 Jews from Arab countries and Iran, but also celebrated Israel’s thriving contemporary Middle Eastern musical scene.
Joel Salmon met Tamir Oren, Director of Stand With Us UK, to look at further opportunities for collaboration.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg, Parliamentary Officer Joel Salmon and Education Policy Advisor Dawn Waterman met Marie Southall and Alexandra Hernandez from the Catholic Education Service to discuss approaches to Government changes in education policy.
Interfaith and Social Action Officer Anthony Silkoff and Phil Rosenberg met Omar Khan from the Runnymede Trust, and Edie Friedman from JCORE, to discuss how the Jewish community can continue showing solidarity with the Muslim community in light of Runnymede’s recent report entitled “Islamophobia: Still a challenge for us all”.
Anthony Silkoff and Grassroots and Advocacy Consultant Steven Jaffe met representatives of the Salvation Army to discuss proposals for interfaith social action projects between the two communities.
Sheila Gewolb attended a VIP reception at Tŷ Krishna Cymru in Cardiff, where guests were introduced to the Indian Honorary Consul for Wales, Mr Raj Kumar Aggarwal.
Marie van der Zyl attended a meeting of the Interfaith Network.
Joel Salmon met Thawab Shibley from Google’s UK Public Policy Team to discuss what measures Google is doing to remove and vet antisemitic content on its platforms.