The union, the names and the care homes...

Why are Jews and Israelis featured in GMB’s Southern Cross campaign literature?


The GMB union has highlighted a number of Israeli and Jewish landlords who own Southern Cross care homes around the UK as part of its campaign in support of the employees of the failing company.

In the past fortnight, the GMB has sent press releases highlighting five of the 80 Southern Cross landlords. In three of them, the only names and companies to be specifically highlighted were those of Jewish or Israeli businessmen.

In a press release on Wednesday, the union published information about Loyds Property Investments and its directors, Israeli lawyer Yoram Yossifoff and Warsaw-based businessman Ahron Frenkel.

The release was given the headline: "GMB study of Southern Cross landlord Loyds (in administration) shows links to Israel, Poland, Singapore, British Virgin Island, Channels Islands, Switzerland and back to Israel".

It went on to detail how Loyds' immediate parent company was incorporated in Israel, and that its ultimate parent company was Israel's Arazim Investment Ltd, run by "Golders Green Road" businessman Meir Gurvitz. The other directors were named as Chaim Deutsch, Joseph Gurvitz and Dina Vecht.

The release followed information about the Bond Care "based in Hendon, London" and its directors Leib Levison and Jacob Sorotzkin, both of whom are Jewish.

Another, sent last week, noted the 50 per cent ownership of Prestbury Investments LLP by Jewish businessman Nick Leslau, described as "one of Britain's wealthiest property entrepreneurs".

They were the only ones of the 80 landlords to be mentioned in those releases.

A GMB press spokesman said that the union was attempting to piece together information about all the landlords and had found out the details of 11 so far.

He said he had not noticed that the people mentioned in the releases were Jewish and pointed to a 61-page document naming other Southern Cross figures.

"We are setting out the facts and trying to get as much information out to the public as possible about the people involved," he said. "I have just reproduced what came to me from the researchers."

He said the double mention of Israel in the Loyds press release was because "it summarised it nicely", although he also said the point GMB wanted to get across was about tax havens.

Israel is not a tax haven.

"Israel is irrelevant, it's the tax havens that are relevant," he said. "The fact that this organisation was registered in Israel is relevant," he added. "We're not saying there are certain nationalities involved. The suggestion that we singled out the Israelis is absurd.

"I didn't use the word Jewish once."

In a statement, the GMB said: "GMB is very angry that JC is trying to suggest that GMB published research and press releases into the scandal at Southern Cross is singling out any nationality.

If JC imply in any article or comment that GMB has sought to single out any nationality in our efforts to shine a light on the appalling situation where 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents could be made homeless GMB will sue.

"GMB takes issue of discrimination very seriously and we will not tolerate any attempt to smear the union."

Meanwhile, a satrical website took the opportunity to "joke" that gas chambers would be installed in the care homes.

Martin Deeson, editor of Square Mile, denied that the article was offensive, even though it referred to chief executive "Christopher Goebbels," and included jokes about putting elderly residents to death and making a hat from human hair.

"Mr Goebbels" was quoted as saying that gas chambers "should not be a concern" except to residents.

Square Mile, which launched six months ago, attracts around 20,000 hits a day and has more than 2,300 followers on Twitter.

Last updated: 1:16pm, June 16 2011