Board of Deputies

Five in battle for board VP places

By Simon Rocker, April 16, 2009

With a record four candidates competing to become president of the Board of Deputies next month, a second race is under way for the three vice-presidential posts.

Five people have confirmed their candidacy, or said they are considering standing, for the number two positions when deputies go to the polls on May 17.

One of the three current vice-presidents, Paul Edlin, who represents Glasgow’s Garnethill Synagogue and chairs the board’s community issues division, will be campaigning for a second three-year term.

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Board praises medical guidelines

April 14, 2009

The Board of Deputies has “welcomed” draft General Medical Council guidelines clarifying doctors’ responsibilities in respecting patients’ religious beliefs before and after death. Along with the Scottish Council for Jewish Communities, the board’s views are being sought as part of a four-month consultation with minority ethnic and religious groups. A board official said it wanted “to ensure the cultural and halachic concerns of the community are properly understood”.

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Dubliner rises to top of American Jewry

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The grandson of a former Board of Deputies president has won one of the top jobs in the American Jewish community.

Gideon Taylor, 44, grandson of the late Lord Fisher, has been appointed associate executive vice-president — a new post and number two in the organisation — of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the biggest Jewish social welfare organisation in the world.

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Jacqui Smith allows in Hizbollah man

By Leon Symons, April 2, 2009

The Home Office has refused to act over the presence in the UK of a Hizbollah fighter and leader of a radical Muslim group, despite accepting that his presence was not conducive to the public good.

The president of the Board of Deputies, Henry Grunwald QC, wrote to Home Secretary Jacqui Smith last week about Lebanese-born Dyab Abou Jahjah, who fought for Hizbollah against Israel before moving to Belgium, where he started an organisation called the Arab European League that became involved in riots after the murder of a Moroccan schoolteacher.

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Tribute to archbishop

March 26, 2009

A Board of Deputies reception this week honoured the outgoing Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor.

Board president Henry Grunwald, the Chief Rabbi and Lord Janner were joined by representatives of other faiths to acknowledge the cardinal’s contribution to Catholic-Jewish relations.

Dr David Ryall, assistant general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, said the cardinal had been “very touched by the sentiments expressed”.

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Anti-Israel bias taken out of UN racism paper

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

A new version of the final document produced by the UN’s next major human rights conference in Geneva has left out all criticism of Israel, prompting cautious optimism from the Board of Deputies’ president, Henry Grunwald.

The anti-Israeli language that characterised the final document of the original conference in South Africa, in 2001, has disappeared.

However, almost every reference bar one each to Holocaust commemoration and antisemitism has also been taken out of the new draft.

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Storm over latest Hizbollah UK visit

By Leon Symons, March 26, 2009

The Board of Deputies will ask the Home Office to exclude a former Hizbollah fighter and leader of a radical Muslim group in Belgium who has been invited to speak in Britain.

Dyab Abou Jahjah has been invited to speak at a meeting of the Stop The War Coalition on Monday evening in central London. It is thought that he will also be present on Tuesday at the launch of a British branch of International Union for Parliamentarians for Palestine, of which he was made operational director in May last year.

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Deputies launch anti-BNP campaign

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009

The Board of Deputies has launched a nationwide campaign to stop the British National Party from winning seats in June’s European elections.

The growing threat posed by the far-right party was highlighted by the Board’s anti-racism co-ordinator Ruth Smeeth, who told a plenary meeting in Oxford on Sunday: “BNP leader Nick Griffin could be representing the Manchester Jewish community in Europe.”

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Government under pressure to make decision on Durban

By Leon Symons, March 19, 2009

Britain will wait until the last minute before making a decision about whether or not it will participate in the Durban Review Conference in Geneva (Durban II) next month.

The prediction came from Board of Deputies’ president Henry Grunwald when he briefed deputies on the latest situation at Sunday’s plenary meeting in Oxford.

“I actually think the UK will withdraw but will wait for a while before doing so, so no-one can say they have scuppered this conference,” said Mr Grunwald.

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Race is on for Board president

By Simon Rocker, March 12, 2009

The most hotly contested leadership campaign in the 249-year history of the Board of Deputies is under way with four candidates already in the race to become its president.

And nominations do not close until May 1, with deputies due to vote for their leader on May 17.

This week, senior vice-president Vivian Wineman, vice-president Flo Kaufmann, former vice-president Jerry Lewis and former United Synagogue president Peter Sheldon all confirmed that they are standing for the position.

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