Antony Lerman, the controversial executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR), is to leave at the end of the year to concentrate on writing and other personal projects.
Mr Lerman’s views on Israel — he was recently a signatory to an Independent Jewish Voices’ advert opposing Israeli occupation of the West Bank — and his willingness to challenge bodies such as the Community Security Trust over the extent of antisemitism, incensed critics. His return to JPR prompted the resignation of several board members.
Mr Lerman, 62, returned to the JPR early in 2006, after a previous spell as executive director from 1991 to 1999 when he oversaw its transition from the Institute of Jewish Affairs.
He said: “I returned to reconstruct the organisation, develop a new Europe-oriented policy research programme and reposition JPR to face the difficult challenges of the 21st century. The board and I feel I’ve achieved that goal, and we think it’s a good time to prepare the way for a successor.”
The JPR also has a new chairman, Harold Paisner, who took over this week from Peter Levy, its head for 16 years.
Mr Paisner, who has served on the JPR board for 11 years, is a senior partner of the law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner and a governor of Ben-Gurion University.