It is the representative body of British Jewry, with more than 250 years of democratic debate and defending religious liberties to its name.
But the Board of Deputies has felt the need to issue its first code of conduct — warning deputies they must not engage in harassment, bullying or “unreasonable discrimination” during meetings.
The code has been compiled in a bid to put an end to “unacceptable behaviour” and will apply to all deputies, honorary officers and past presidents.
Board leaders acted after years of disruption to debates and verbal attacks on deputies and officials.
The code — currently in draft form — warns deputies that “the way in which they conduct themselves reflects on the Board and the community as a whole. For this reason it is essential that they do so according to the highest standards expected of those in public life.”
New London Synagogue deputy Tony Leifer chaired a special sub-committee which drew up the guidelines, covering issues such as conflicts of interest, complaint procedures and grounds for a deputy’s “permanent exclusion from participation in the Board’s affairs”.
Deputies will vote on the new rules at a special meeting in July.