Deputies hardly covered in glory

By Marcus Dysch, January 20, 2011

Two months after Mick Davis's comments rocked the community, the Board of Deputies finally found time to discuss the fallout and landed itself in a pickle entirely of its own making.

With ill-feeling about the role of the JLC and general unease over Vivian Wineman's stewardship, there was always the potential for Sunday's Israel debate to spill over into wider squabbling.

Many deputies are erudite political and business leaders, but too many are out of touch with the modern world and vastly overestimate the Board's influence at home and abroad.

The repeated pleas from the executive for civility and calm at the start of Sunday's debate served as an indication of the underlying fears that all would not go according to plan.

At first, the appeals seemed to have been successful. For an hour, speaker after speaker was given the opportunity to have their full say, whatever their view of the situation in the Middle East.

But before long the atmosphere turned. Deputies fretted about the wording of the motion, focusing particularly on the potential for the line about "respect for the welfare of all people of the region" to be interpreted as including Hamas or Hizbollah.

To describe the scenes as farcical is overstating it, but the level of contradiction and hypocrisy espoused by some deputies does little to cover them, or the Board, in glory.

One launched an attack on the "thought police" who stifle debate, only to immediately turn his guns on the JC to claim it should not have reported Mr Davis's comments in the first place.

The result should be considered in context. It was not an outright refusal to support a two-state solution. Instead it was the result of the continued bickering, tetchiness and lack of foresight that dogs a body which should be well above such sad squabbling.

Marcus Dysch is the under-35s deputy for Hull Hebrew Congregation.

Last updated: 2:04pm, January 20 2011