Courting calamity

The JC leader, 27 July 2018

July 26, 2018 15:53

Throughout his time as President of the Board of Deputies, Jonathan Arkush was clear and firm in his rejection of engagement with certain Muslim organisations. At the top of that list was Mend.

In our recent investigation, we revealed how Mend’s supporters displayed “multiple examples” of “rampant antisemitism including nasty and idiotic conspiracy theories about Jews; vicious sectarianism against fellow Muslims like [Sara] Khan who dare to challenge Mend’s opposition to the government’s anti-radicalisation programme Prevent; and partnerships with clerics and organisations who have expressed views that are antisemitic, homophobic, anti-western, sectarian and occasionally in support of terrorism.”

No one suggests Baroness Warsi is any of those things, but the former Conservative Party chair is nonetheless a supporter of Mend.

Indeed, the Baroness seems to grab every opportunity to further its cause — including a meeting last week with the new Board president, Marie van der Zyl.

Engagement with Muslims is an important and necessary task. But Baroness Warsi is among the last people with whom Mrs van der Zyl should be engaging, given her support for Mend.

It is deeply worrying that their meeting was described as being to discuss “past disagreement”. Unless that took the form of Mrs van der Zyl telling the Baroness that she and the Board consider Mend to be the enemy of good relations between our communities — a message that could have been conveyed in a one sentence email — then there must be grave concern that some kind of rapprochement is being considered.

This must not happen.

Mend is beyond the pale, and if Mrs van der Zyl’s meeting with Baroness Warsi indicates that it is happening, this will be a calamity for our community.

July 26, 2018 15:53

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive