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This was proof we are valued at the top table

Often regarded as a jolly boys’ outing for the pale, male financial backers of the Jewish Leadership Council, the annual meeting with the Prime Minister at Downing Street now has a new-found importance.

    The JLC delegation meets Theresa May in Number Ten
    The JLC delegation meets Theresa May in Number Ten

    Wednesday’s session at Number 10 was the culmination of months of precision planning from the JLC, with hours spent poring over the issues to be raised, the delegates to send, and the tones to adopt.

    Since the last visit in January 2016, when David Cameron was prime minister, much has changed, both in British politics and in the Jewish community. 

    Jonathan Goldstein, the JLC’s new chairman, has quickly set about overseeing a streamlined, results-driven operation. The delegation he led this week was further proof. 

    Stung in the past — most notably after the meeting 20 months ago — the council has redressed the gender balance. 

    Better still, the four women sitting around the cabinet table with Theresa May were there wholly on merit, not just to make up the numbers.

    Shying away from discussing the perennial Palestinian-Israel conflict allowed for more time to be spent on other important issues: social care, community cohesion, integration, youth matters and Brexit. 

    The meeting was intended to be not just an opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for saying and doing the right things on antisemitism, but also as a chance for her to pick others’ brains. Indeed, Number 10 asked the JLC to turn up with ideas in areas where the government needs its expertise. 

    Mr Cameron’s government was thought of as being “good for the Jews”, carried in large part on the back of his personal friendships with prominent Jewish figures.

    Despite the faults of her administration and her own leadership, Mrs May is running an operation in which the community is valued in a more important way: as a partner to work with on the nitty gritty of building a better Britain, as she put it last year.

    The community should continue to be immensely proud of its charities and organisations; they are treated as equals at the top table.

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