The Board of Deputies has pledged an “urgent and detailed case review” into one of its deputies who has expressed what have been described as “Islamophobic” and “anti-Arab” views.
The JC has seen tweets shared by Roslyn Pine, who stood unsuccessfully to be vice-president of the Board in last month’s elections, describing Muslims as “the vilest of animals”, as well as one describing Arabs as “so evil”.
She also retweeted a message describing Arab migrants to Europe as “an invading army”.
The JC understands her account, @RoslynPine, was suspended by Twitter in November 2017. Mrs Pine admitted running the account but denied ownership of another account, @Pine_Roslyn, which was also suspended.
She denied establishing a third account, @toscasbacci, which shares anti-Muslim messages and tweets supporting right-wing figures such as Tommy Robinson. The account features the same profile image as one allegedly previously used by Mrs Pine on her WhatsApp account. She denied it was her account on the messaging service.
Mrs Pine is currently a deputy for Finchley United Synagogue and previously represented North Salford Synagogue in Manchester.
Speaking to the JC, she defended her right to hold “views against Islam”, denying it was Islamophobic to do so.
Mrs Pine added: “There is no such word as Islamophobic. ‘Islamophobia’ is trying to shut down criticism of Islam. I detest the creed of Islam and I’m entitled to say it.
“I have an issue with Muslims and Arabs who want to kill us, who want to destroy Israel. And that is an Islamic fundamental if you know anything about what the Koran is.
“I have views that offend people. That is what a free society is. To criticise a religion — including Judaism — I have no problem with that. In a free society you should be able to criticise a body of ideas.”
New Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl has ordered a report on Mrs Pine from the internal committee responsible for breaches of its code of conduct. Mrs van der Zyl said: “I will not tolerate any anti-Muslim hatred whatsoever. Irrespective of this particular case, I have also asked for a complete list of the sanctions available to us and recommendations for whether these are sufficient.
“I have asked that this be on my desk by no later than the end of next week.
“As a community that has faced more than our fair share of prejudice, we need to be crystal clear on this and lead the fight to defeat it.”
Previous internal reports into Mrs Pine’s conduct — as well as notices that complaints have been lodged against her — were not circulated among deputies ahead of the election.
A fellow deputy, who wished to remain anonymous, described Mrs Pine’s conduct as “very problematic”, adding that she had frequently used “racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic language”. The deputy added: “She is a very proud person and she doesn’t want to change her views or tone down anything she says.
“It doesn’t show a good side of the Board to younger deputies. She has treated people in an offensive manner, and her language has also been quite violent.”
Another deputy told the JC that Mrs Pine had not been removed as a deputy because the Board operated “like an old-time synagogue where problems are hidden or brushed under the carpet”.
Mrs Pine has been the subject of a number of formal complaints from fellow deputies.
In May 2016 the Board’s constitution committee ruled she had committed multiple breaches of its code of conduct after joking that Margot Wallström, the Swedish Foreign Minister, was “too old to be raped” during a meeting of the Board’s international division.
In her defence, she asserted the comment “was not intended as a joke”, but rather to highlight the Swedish government’s “reckless abandonment of the welfare of its citizens” in the face of “misogynistic behaviour of young immigrant males”.
The committee found Mrs Pine’s language was “highly offensive and inappropriate”. It recommended she be reported to her constituency and required her to apologise to members of the international division.
Another committee investigation, in the same month, found she had used “unacceptably intemperate and highly offensive” language towards members of a communal organisation.
She was ordered to apologise to the complainant but her refusal to do so led to a three-month ban from speaking at meetings.
Neither details of the case, nor the punishment, were made public.
On another occasion, Mrs Pine lodged a complaint against a deputy, but the committee concluded that her views “incite others to aggressive responses”.