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BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS ADVOCACY FOR THE COMMUNITY  
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COMMUNITY BRIEFING
 
 
 
EHRC report is ‘a damning verdict’ on antisemitism in the Labour Party
The leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust have issued the following statement in response to the release of the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission on antisemitism in the Labour Party.

“This report is a damning verdict on what Labour did to Jews under Jeremy Corbyn and his allies. It proves why British Jews were so distressed and it disgraces those who attacked us for speaking out against anti-Jewish racism.

“Our Jewish community never wanted this fight, but we had to defend ourselves and are proud to have done so. We thank all those who stood with us, despite the abuse they received as a result.

“Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be blamed for what he has done to Jews and Labour, but the truth is more disturbing, as he was little more than a
 
figurehead for old and new anti-Jewish attitudes. All of this was enabled by those who deliberately turned a blind eye.

“Now, the task of cleaning out the problem lies with the current leadership. We welcome the start that Keir Starmer has made, but the scale of the challenge that lies ahead should not be underestimated.

“We will continue to give our support to all who work to drive racism out of our politics and out of our society.”

The statement was signed by  Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl, Jewish Leadership Council Chair Jonathan Goldstein and Community Security Trust Chief Executive Mark Gardner.

You can see Marie van der Zyl's appearance on last night's Question Time here. Gillian Merron's comment piece in the Jewish News is here.
 
Board of Deputies welcomes decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has welcomed the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party.

Marie said: “We welcome the decision of the Labour Party to suspend Jeremy Corbyn. Having presided over the descent of a proudly anti-racist party into a party that broke equalities law in its treatment of Jews, his shameless comments today showed that he remains part of the problem and is an obstruction to the resolution of the issue.”
 
Join the Board of Deputies for an Interfaith Week discussion on how we can help realise freedom of religion and belief around the world. With: Kiri Kankhwende – Press and Public Affairs Team Leader, Christian Solidarity Worldwide; Padideh Sabeti – Director, Office of Public Affairs of the UK Bahá’í Community; Edwin Shuker – Vice-President, Board of Deputies; Nury Turkel – Attorney and Commissioner, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Chaired by Gillian Merron – Chief Executive, Board of Deputies; Live-streamed on the Board of Deputies Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. Post your questions for the panel in comments.
 
 
Stephen Bush cautiously optimistic about pivotal changes for racial inclusivity in Jewish community
The Board of Deputies’ Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community has completed its taking written and oral evidence from witnesses and organisations around the Jewish community and its Chair Stephen Bush is starting work on a report to be released early next year. Mr Bush  said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the process, having seen communal leaders’ willingness to “hear the challenges and consider some really pivotal changes”.

He was speaking after the Commission completed its stakeholder engagement phase, during which he has reached out to leaders from all denominations of the Jewish community, as well as other key communal institutions such as youth movements, social care organisations, educational bodies, cultural organisations, newspapers, regional representative councils, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Community Security Trust, and the leaders of the Board of Deputies itself.

Read the full report here and the Jewish News story here.
 
 
 
ACTIVITY REPORT
 
 
CAMPUS
Vice President Amanda Bowman has condemned an event which took place at Leeds University featuring Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled. Amanda said: “That a student event took place at Leeds with Leila Khaled is simply unacceptable. Jewish students and academics should have access to academic spaces free of hate, without platforms being shared with someone who advocates for ‘armed struggle’. It is right that the University is investigating this matter further. The event raises questions about regulation of online gatherings.”

Vice President Amanda Bowman has reacted to Warwick University’s statement recognising the international definition of antisemitism. She said: “It is good that Warwick University has recognised the IHRA definition of antisemitism after many months of work from Jewish students, UJS and the Board of Deputies. This is a welcome step in the fight on antisemitism, although we would value further clarification about how the definition will be used in disciplinary cases. We echo the Secretary of State’s call for all universities to adopt the definition without delay.”
POLITICAL
President Marie van der Zyl, Chief Executive Gillian Merron and Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg joined a meeting with Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Ed Davey, organised by colleagues at the Jewish Leadership Council. The group discussed antisemitism, UK-Israel relations and religious freedom issues. You can see a tweet of the meeting here.
INTERNATIONAL
Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb attended the Commonwealth Jewish Council Advisory Committee meeting which discussed the promotion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, Holocaust Memorial Day events and Tu B'Shvat celebrations. 

President Marie van der Zyl, Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb, Vice President Amanda Bowman, Vice President Edwin Shuker and International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby attended the historic first virtual General Assembly of the European Jewish Congress. Dr. Moshe Kantor was re-elected as President, and Marie van der Zyl was re-elected as Chair of the Council. Lord Mann, Lord Pickles and Lord Levy sent their congratulations to Moshe and Marie. You can read their comments here. President Marie van der Zyl also chaired a session on the 'Current challenges faced by European Jewish Communities in times of Covid-19'. Other sessions included a discussion of how to promote the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism across Europe. 
 
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and International Relations Officer Talia Ingleby held a catch-up zoom call with Jonathan Turner and Natasha Hausdorff from UK Lawyers For Israel to discuss priorities in Israel advocacy and possible areas of collaboration. 
 
The Board of Deputies together with the Embassy of Israel held a virtual event, entitled 'Celebrating the Druze Community's contribution to the State of Israel' which marked 100 years of the Druze joining the Haganah with a lecture by Dr Amir Khnifess, the head of the Ronson Institute for Israeli-Druze Studies. The event included introductory remarks by Director of Public Diplomacy Vivian Aisen from the Embassy of Israel, closing remarks by Senior Vice President Sheila Gewolb, and attended by an audience of over 120. 
SOCIAL MEDIA
President Marie van der Zyl and Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg led a communal delegation to meet with representatives of Twitter, led by the Global Vice President for Trust and Safety, Del Harvey. The meeting was focused on tackling antisemitism on the platform.
COMMUNITY
Vice President Amanda Bowman attended a meeting hosted by the London Jewish Forum with Sarah Jones, MP for Croydon Central and Shadow Minister for Police and the Fire Service. Public Affairs Officer Daniel Sugarman and Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles also attended and the meeting was chaired by LJF Chair and CEID Vice Chair Andrew Gilbert and attended by members of the South London Jewish community including deputies Alex Arbisman, Jeromé Freedman and Brenda Freedman together with Danny Morris from CST, Danny Stone from the Antisemitism Policy Trust and Representatives of other Synagogues in the constituency. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the impact of Coronavirus on the Jewish community and on antisemitism and to discuss the EHRC Report into antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Harold Hammer and Lewis Orchant, Deputy and Chair, of Newton Mearns Hebrew Congregation, Glasgow, to discuss further Deputy engagement and future work together. 
 
An additional regional Jewish Representative Council Chairs/President meeting was held with guests Arieh Miller and James Harris, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Union of Jewish Students, and Sophie Dunoff and Uri Goldberg, Chief Executive and Chairman of University Jewish Chaplaincy. They each explained their roles within their organisations and how their organisations help Jewish students, especially during the current Covid crisis. The meeting was chaired by President Marie van der Zyl. Also in attendance was Vice President Edwin Shuker, Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan, Director of Operations Judy Silkoff, Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger and Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles.

Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met Stephen Ison, who runs the South London Community Support Service, to discuss the work and priorities of the South London Jewish Community.
 
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles and International Relations Officer Talia Ingelby met Jenny from Talk Matters to discuss community engagement with different peace building projects.
 
Director of Operations Judy Silkoff and Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met Deputy and Equalities Champion Sally Patterson to discuss the Board of Deputies work with minority groups in the Jewish community.
 
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met Deputy Tal Ofer from Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue to discuss further work the Board of Deputies can do with the community.
 
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met with Rachel Miller, Community Engagement Manager from Jewish Care to discuss the work the Board of Deputies and Jewish Care can do together to support the community's welfare needs.
 
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles met members of the Jewish Volunteering Forum Meetings to discuss volunteering opportunities in the community.
 
Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles and Government, Regional and Religious Affairs Officer Daniel Elton attended the London Jewish Forum's meeting with the Leader of Enfield Council. This was organised by Chairs of the London Jewish Forum Andrew Gilbert, Deputy and Vice Chair of the Communities, Education and Interfaith Division and Deputy Adrian Cohen. Deputy Maurice Diamond from Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue and Deputy Michael Pinker from Hadley Wood Jewish Community were in attendance.
CLIMATE CHANGE
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and Eco Synagogue Project Manager Andrea Passe met with officials at the Cabinet Office to discuss plans for the international climate change conference, COP26, due to take place in Glasgow next year.
THE BODCAST
Join the Board of Deputies on Thursday 12 November at 6pm for an #InterfaithWeek discussion on how people of faith can navigate questions of race and identity in Britain in 2020. Watch LIVE on our website or on our Facebook and YouTube pages, no need to register. Post your questions for the panel in comments.With: Rev Celia Apeagyei-Collins - Christian Pastor and Founder of Rehoboth Foundation; Cllr Awale Olad - Camden Councillor and Somali Muslim Jodeci Joseph - Black-Jewish Motivational Speaker; Chaired by Stephen Bush - Chair of Commission on Racial Inclusivity in the Jewish Community and Political Editor of the New Statesman.
SOCIAL ACTION
Join us for a a discussion on "Learning Disabilities and the Jewish Community. How can we be more accessible?" It's at 6pm on Monday November 16 and features Dr Beverley Jacobson, Chief Executive of Norwood;Rabbi Miriam Berger, Principal Rabbi for Finchley Reform Synagogue; Mickey Dekel, volunteer for Kisharon; and Hannah Mendel. Member of the Friendship Circle, Chair will be Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron. You can watch on the Board of Deputies Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
As part of our ongoing work on Black-Jewish solidarity, we have been using our platforms throughout this month to share some important resources - books, articles, shows - about the history, achievements and contributions of Black people in Britain and beyond.This week’s resources: Black-Jewish author Afua Hirsch’s book Brit(ish), which blends history, memoir and individual experiences, to explore identity in Britain today. The Black Curriculum, a social enterprise working to teach and support the teaching of Black history all year round. They have some brilliant resources, such as this crossword: https://theblackcurriculum.com/downloads/p/free-crossword-people-in-british-history
EDUCATION
Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger attended a meeting of the Faith/BAME Involvement Group in Wales, discussing proposals for Relationships and Sex Education in the country.
 
Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger caught up with colleagues from the Catholic Education Service, discussing religious education and other issues of mutual interest.
 
Education Policy and Youth Engagement Officer Jake Berger attended a meeting with officials from the Department for Education to discuss teacher training funding for religious education. Colleagues from the London School of Jewish Studies and the Partnership for Jewish Schools also attended.
 
 
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