Board of Deputies says it will investigate any complaint about member's abusive tirade against Luciana Berger

The JC understands Jonathan Metliss will be subject of formal complaints, which would trigger Board investigation under its code of conduct


The Board of Deputies have confirmed it will investigate the conduct of defence committee member Jonathan Metliss, if complaints are received about his recent tirade against Luciana Berger at her campaign office to be Finchley and Golders Green's next MP.

After the JC revealed he shouted abuse about Ms Berger in front of shocked staff and tore down posters after bursting , a Board spokesperson said on Tuesday that if complaints are made about Mr Metliss, a probe will be launched under its code of conduct.

The JC understands at least two people are ready to lodge formal complaints about the incident, which took place last Friday shortly before the start of Shabbat.

One deputy said on Tuesday: "Mr Metliss’s behaviour would appear to mirror that of the hard-left fanatics who hounded Luciana out of the Labour Party in Liverpool.

“The Board would be foolish not to launch an immediate investigation into his conduct.”

Multiple sources told the JC that Mr Metliss branded Ms Berger “evil” and a “disgrace” for standing as a parliamentary candidate in Finchley against Tory Mike Freer and also made crude allegations about her.

Mr Metliss - chairman of business law firm Axiom Stone and a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel group – is also understood to have repeatedly accused Ms Berger of being a “carpetbagger” – a term used to describe a candidate who seeks election in an area where they have no local connections.

Ms Berger has faced similar accusations to those she faced when she stood as a Labour candidate in Liverpool Wavertree from supporters of Mr Freer following her decision to stand for the Lib Dems in Finchley and Golders Green in the forthcoming election.

One eyewitness told the JC: “It was shortly before Shabbat because I was getting ready to go to Shul. Jonathan Metliss just launched into the tirade against Luciana.

“He accused her of being evil, and there was some sort of reference to her personal life. He then added she was a disgrace and that by standing in Finchley against Freer she was allowing Corbyn to become Prime Minister.

“He then pulled a poster off of the front window of the premises which had Luciana’s picture on.

“He carried on tearing off leaflets from the walls. All of this was done in front of the campaign team, most of them are volunteers. Then he just stormed out.”

Mr Freer has been the Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green since 2010 and is standing again in next month’s election.

Mr Metliss role on the Board’s defence committee allows him to offer advice and opinion on a variety of issues including security, and shechita.

In a statement issued on Tuesday through a PR consultant, Mr Metliss apologised to the owner of the building that houses Ms Berger’s campaign headquarters.

He also claimed to have returned to the office on Monday evening to apologise and calm down tensions but several sources present disputed this version of events.

The JC was asked by Ms Berger’s campaign team not to disclose the name of the business hosting their operation in the interests of staff security.

In his statement, Mr Metliss said he "dropped in" to the office as he "was walking to shul on Friday evening". 

“I saw a Lib Dem poster in the window and went in to tell him that he should not be supporting Luciana Berger. I am a supporter of the work that Mike Freer does as the Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green," he said.

“I had no idea that it was the Lib Dem campaign headquarters, nor that it was being used by their new candidate Ms Berger.  here was no signage or any other indication to suggest that it was. Even after I went inside that was still not apparent to me.

“Ms Berger was NOT present in the office at that time."

He said the incident "lasted only seconds but it resulted in me tearing down a poster as I walked out, which was an ill-judged and regrettable act on my part".

“Whilst I acknowledge that my outburst was ill-judged, nobody was harmed or threatened and save for a torn poster, no damage was caused. I have unreservedly apologised for any distress that I caused," he said.

“Behind this though is a legitimate concern shared by many members of the Jewish community that Ms Berger is campaigning for the Lib Dems in a constituency represented by Mr Freer, a Conservative, who is a long standing and supportive member of the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

"The effect of Ms Berger campaigning for this seat may be to split the Jewish vote and in doing so, assist Labour in winning the seat and bolstering Jeremy Corbyn’s prospects of becoming Prime Minister, which is a frightening prospect for the UK Jewish community.”

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