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BOARD OF DEPUTIES OF BRITISH JEWS ADVOCACY FOR THE COMMUNITY  
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COMMUNITY BRIEFING
 
 
 
Board of Deputies President: ‘It’s time to get the Holocaust Memorial built’
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl has reaffirmed her support for the proposed Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre planned for Westminster.

Marie said: “The Board of Deputies of British Jews strongly supports the Holocaust Memorial and its poignant location beside Parliament and we thank both the Government and the Opposition for their backing.

“Whatever their intentions, those campaigning against the memorial need to understand that
arguing against building something this important because extremists will be opposed to it is not cogent reasoning. If we live our lives in fear of those who hate our values we would not build anything.

“As well as remembering the murdered Jews and other victims of the Nazis, it will serve as a reminder of the importance of us working together to build a society free of prejudice of all kinds. It is time to get it built.”

Read the Algemeiner report here.
 
Conservative Parliamentarians express support for Board of Deputies’ Online Harms proposals
Conservative Party politicians this week backed the Board of Deputies’ proposals for combating hatred online, describing them as “common sense” and calling for the proposed measures to be “expedited as quickly as we can".

At the Board of Deputies’ first ever fringe event at Conservative Party conference, which was chaired by Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron, Robert Halfon MP, Victoria Atkins MP, Saqib Bhatti MP and Lord Popat, discussed potential ways to make the online sphere safer for users.

As the Board has detailed in the past, the three main proposals it believes are key to confronting Online Hate are:

1) Ensuring that any regulator appointed to oversee social media companies adopts the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition of antisemitism as the standard by which it will judge whether such companies are discharging their obligations around the safety of Jewish users.

2) Ensuring social media companies appoint a UK moderating team to moderate UK users (we believe an in-country team will be more likely to have political, cultural and linguistic context for cases than a team based elsewhere would – and will help with accountability).

3) That the German model of heavy fines for social media companies for failure to comply with the legislation be adopted here as well.

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, said: “We are grateful to our panelists – Victoria Atkins MP, Rob Halfon MP, Saqib Bhatti MP and Lord Popat – for taking the time to join us for a discussion of such an important subject.

“Online is the new frontline in the fight against antisemitism – and not just antisemitism, but misogyny, anti-Muslim hatred, homophobia and racism and bigotry against other religions, ethnicities and minority groups.

“The Conservative Party has taken an admirably strong stance on antisemitism over recent years – it was a Conservative Government in 2016 that led the world in being the first country to adopt the IHRA definition of antisemitism – for which we are all very grateful. Now, we ask the Government to take the same approach online as it has off-line, and make the internet a better place for us all.”

Read a full report here. You can read the Evening Standard story here and the Jewish News article here.
 
Black History Month


As part of our ongoing work on Black-Jewish solidarity, we will be 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.

First up, Baroness Oona King, herself a Black Jew, uncovers the story of Asquith Xavier's fight to work as a passenger guard at Euston Station. Xavier had to battle against a racist ban on black employees which was still, shamefully, legal in 1966. Listen here.

Our second featured resource this week is the Guardian’s excellent Black History Timeline. As its creators say: “This is not about creating a separate history; it is about adding to the history we are already familiar with.”
 
Board of Deputies President commends YouTube for removing Nation of Islam channel

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl has commended YouTube for removing the Nation of Islam from its platform.
 

Marie said: "We are pleased that YouTube has finally removed the Nation of Islam channel from its platform, a step we had urged them to take in meetings this year. Its removal – filled as it was with antisemitic and homophobic videos featuring the organisation’s leader Louis Farrakhan – was long overdue. We commend the platform for taking action and urge it to continue to remove those who spread hate and division.”

 
VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: Angelina Doherty
Angelina Doherty writes about the importance of volunteering and her work for Eco Synagogue and West London Synagogue

For some, volunteering is a part of life these days. Simply an idea or a short dedication of personal time can change a life for the better or make waves in helping make the world a better place. Small, thoughtful actions make for happy ripples and sometimes it’s just nice to be nice.

Synagogues are an important hub for volunteering opportunities and are pivotal in reaching out to members, especially during difficult times which concern everyone. With restrictions relaxing and then becoing tighter and a sense of not knowing what to do, people need someone to rely on. Looking to synagogues for ways to volunteer is a good start but putting together new ideas and getting people involved is equally as important.

Read the full article here.
 
Last week, the Board of Deputies’ project Hidden Treasures; celebrating Jewish archives in Britain featured this photograph of Jack Tamman and his Comboni College school friends. The photo can be found in Tales of Jewish Sudan, an online archive of oral history interviews relating to Jews who lived in Sudan and now live all over the world, some, like Jack, in Britain. Visit the Hidden Treasures website here
 
 
 
ACTIVITY REPORT
 
 
POLITICAL
President Marie van der Zyl has  condemned Len McCluskey after the Unite union leader threatened to withdraw funding to the Labour Party following its decision to pay damages to former party staff who became whistleblowers over antisemitism.
 
Marie said: “It is hugely ironic, and doubly shameful, that the leader of a trade union which exists to protect workers’ rights, should attack the Labour Party for compensating workers who were harassed, humiliated and in one case nearly driven to suicide by the actions of their employers while trying to do their job.“
COMMUNITY
Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Leonard Bazar, Deputy for Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation and Jennifer Silverston, Chair of Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation, to discuss further Deputy engagement and future working together. 
 
Russell Conn and Jeremy Michelson, President and Vice-Chair respectively, of the Manchester Jewish Representative Council presented to the Board of Deputies professional staff team in a “Bitesize Training” session about the work the Manchester JRC undertakes. The training session also helps to strengthen the working relationship between the two organisations. 

Community Engagement Officer Lauren Keiles attended The City of London Corporation event, 'Faith in the City'. The panellists, including Rabbi Shalom Morris, discussed the experience of different faiths throughout Covid-19 and their thoughts on faith in the city as we enter the next phase of the pandemic. 

Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan attended the “Farewell Fiona, Hello Ruby” SCoJeC event to wish Fiona Frank well on her retirement and welcome Ruby Katz as SCoJeC’s new Projects and Outreach Manager. 
 
Regional Coronavirus Advice Capacity Help (Co-Ach) Manager Sara Radivan met Jeremy Michelson, Deputy for Manchester Great, New and Central (Stenecourt) Synagogue to discuss further Deputy engagement and future working together.
INTERFAITH
Vice President Edwin Shuker, Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and Interfaith and Social Action Manager Anthony Silkoff met Dr R. David Muir, co-chair of NCLF News, the UK leadership body of African and Caribbean churches. Matters discussed included Black-Jewish solidarity against anti-Black racism and antisemitism, our relationship with Israel, and partnerships on social justice issues like climate change.
 
 
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