I'm sorry: the Arkush letter

Following last week's JC coverage, I felt it important that I clarify my recent remarks.

The JLC plays a vital role in the infrastructure of our community. It provides a much-needed vehicle for collective strategic planning and action, and has done a huge amount to enhance advocacy work for our community. The JLC has added immense value to all of its members, including the Board of Deputies.

With regard to the composition of the JLC, some of its members are elected and others appointed according to the structures of their constituent organisations. I accept that the JLC has never claimed to be a fully elected body and that its legitimacy stems from it being a properly constituted Council of major communal institutions, including the Board itself. I am particularly sorry to have made references to any financial matters. I withdraw those remarks in their entirety. There was no basis for any suggestion of impropriety. I accept that due process was followed in processing the membership application from Leeds Representative Council, and that it was actually the Board of Deputies who recommended that Manchester Representative Council join the JLC and helped facilitate it.

I accept that my remarks were inappropriate and I apologise to the members of the JLC for making them.

I am sorry that my remarks turned the Board's plenary into an arena for divisiveness. The role of the Board is to promote communal consensus and I hope that the positive work of the Board/JLC Liaison Committee on which I have served will continue to bear fruit in this regard. I pledge to support this process.

Finally, I have given my apologies to Board President Vivian Wineman, who works tirelessly for our community. I am pleased to support his candidacy for a second term in this office. I was unwell last week and should not have spoken out. I should not have created the impression that I was staking out a position in contrast to that of my President and fellow Honorary Officers. I ought not to have continued to speak after my allotted time had expired. If rules are flouted, chaos results. It is up to the Honorary Officers to set an example. I did not intend to undermine their authority in any way.

Yours etc

Jonathan Arkush

Senior Vice President

Board of Deputies of British Jews

Last updated: 3:22pm, March 1 2012