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World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder warns against resurgence of Jew hate in Europe
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, who addressed a Board of Deputies meeting this week
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder warned against a resurgence of antisemitism in Europe in a speech to the Board of Deputies on Sunday.
Mr Lauder said that there was “deep and well-founded concern” over statements by Labour Party leaders. He added: “The anti-Zionism and BDS movement on various campuses is more active here than in most other countries. Earlier this year, the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University voted to boycott Israel, and this was sanctioned by the university. Would London University, or any other school, tolerate the same sanctions against blacks, Muslims, or gay people?
“If it’s not ok to sanction these groups, why is it ok to sanction Israel? Why is it ok to sanction Jews?”
On the future of European Jewry, Mr Lauder said: “Some have suggested that all the Jews should leave Europe for Israel. Let me make one thing clear. If all the Jews left Europe tomorrow, this would be sad for the Jews, but it would be a disaster for Europe.”
Mr Lauder praised the work of the Board of Deputies in engaging with government and broadcasters, adding, “I am heartened by the resolve of the Jewish community.”
Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush paid tribute Mr Lauder and the work of the World Jewish Congress. He said: “I am very proud to know Ronald Lauder in the year since my election as President. Under Ronald Lauder’s leadership the WJC has again found its mission and is increasingly successful in stating it and in influencing world leaders. He uses his power with discretion and clarity."
During Sunday's meeting, proceedings were paused for a minute’s silence in memory of Jo Cox, the Leeds MP who was murdered last Thursday.
Read the JC story here.
Interfaith and Social Action Officer Rabbi Natan Levy said farewell to the Board of Deputies this week after five years in the job. We wish him lots of luck and success in his new career
Board responds to Department of Health consultation
The Board of Deputies has responded to the Department of Health’s consultation on the introduction of medical examiners and reforms to death certification in England and Wales.
In this response we stressed that the new system must facilitate the Jewish Community’s need for as speedy a burial as possible. The future role of medical examiners in regulating autopsy, and for advising on non-invasive autopsies, needs to be recognised.
We drew attention to the Jewish Community’s traditional system of burial societies which ensure that a newly bereaved family do not have to deal with a funeral director’s bill.
We objected to the imposition of a fee on bereaved families for the medical examiner service, which would amount to a new "death tax".
Professor David Katz, the Board of Deputies’ adviser on medical issues said: “The Jewish community supported proposals to appoint medical examiners back in 2007 as an essential component of coroner service reforms. Pilots in 2009 showed that a new system involving medical examiners can work. Thorough review, registration and release of bodies were expedited.
"Nonetheless, we have waited nine years to learn how this might be implemented. In our response we have asked for explicitly clear guidelines saying that medical examiners will be monitored to ensure that the needs of bereaved Jewish families will be respected, ensuring rapid handling of deceased friends and relatives.”
Survey finds seven per cent of Brits would stop Jews from immigrating to the UK
Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl this week commented on a survey which found that seven per cent of British people would ban Jews from immigrating to the UK and 17 per cent would ban Muslims.
Marie said: “This survey reminds us that we have much work to do to tackle antisemitism as well as other forms of racism. While one needs to be a bit careful about this kind of extrapolation, if seven per cent of a sample of British people would not allow Jewish migrants, that could be around 4.5 million people in the population at large, which would be worryingly high. The figures for other minorities were even more concerning, and is a reminder that we must continue to fight discrimination and promote community cohesion for all communities, and at all levels.”
Read the JC story here.
Vice President Sheila Gewolbvisited the North East Religious Learning Recourses Centre in Durham, at the invitation of its director, Karenza Passmore. The centre houses interfaith resources for schools and other interested parties. The possibility of collaborating with the Board of Deputies to train local Jewish school visitors, running workshops in Judaism for teachers, and taking the Jewish Living Experience exhibition (JLE) to the north-east, was explored.
Sheila Gewolb attended the North North-West hub of the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) in Chorley, Lancs. Other areas represented were Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Cheshire West/Chester, Halton/Widnes, Lancashire, Warrington, Widnes and Wigan. Topics discussed included how teaching about British values could be incorporated into the RE syllabus, and the issue of humanist representation on SACREs.
Public Affairs Director Phil Rosenberg and Education Consultant Sandra Teacher met officials at the Department of Education to discuss tackling antisemitism and extremism in schools, as well as ensuring that teaching on the Middle East conflict is fair and balanced.
President Jonathan Arkush attended the Jewish Care Campaign Dinner.
Jonathan Arkush gave a talk at the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre in Golders Green.
Senior Vice President Richard Verber spoke and answered questions about the Board of Deputies at a Q & A Kiddush at Manchester Great, New and Central Synagogue.
Jonathan Arkush attended a reception given by the Indian-Jewish Association.
Vice President Marie van der Zylled a Board of Deputies delegation to visit the Neasden Temple as part of our work to expand Hindu-Jewish relations.
Phil Rosenberg and Government Affairs Officer Dawn Watermanmet officials at the Department for Work and Pensions to discuss ways of promoting flexibility for Jewish employees who wish to observe Shabbat and Jewish festivals.
Dawn Waterman attended a conference at King’s College entitled "Welcome to Britain? Refugees, Then and Now". A number of speakers noted the close association between the Board of Deputies and Eleanor Rathbone MP in whose honour the conference was held.
Richard Verber and International Relations Officer David Walshmet the President of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK to discuss potential areas of co-operation between our respective communities and organisations.
Chief Executive Gillian Merron attended the Commonwealth Summer Reception at Grosvenor House.
Grassroots Consultant on Israel Steven Jaffe accompanied Dan Golan, cultural attaché at the Israeli embassy, on a visit to Belfast. They met cultural leaders at a roundtable meeting hosted by Dr Katy Radford and met the Minister For Communities in the Northern Ireland executive, Paul Givan MLA. Steven and Dan also attended an evening to honour Israel at the Northern Ireland Assembly, hosted by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem.
Gillian Merron and David Walshmet chairman of Tel Aviv in London Marc Worth to discuss support for the festival.
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