Board row over use of IHRA definition

Argument follows VP's criticism of Israel's Nation State law


Two deputies who have pushed for a no confidence vote against a Board vice president for criticising Israel’s controversial Nation State law are now themselves subject to a “motion of censure”.

The bid to force a vote against vice president Sheila Gewolb was brought in late August by Jacob Lyons, deputy for Western Marble Arch Synagogue, and seconded by Martin Rankoff, who represents Redbridge Synagogue.

Mr Lyons argues that Dr Gewolb breached the IHRA definition of antisemitism in saying that “some of the measures” in the Nation State law were “regressive steps”.

He claimed her comments “[applies] double standards to Israel by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”

The Nation State law has been criticised for asserting that the right to national self-determination in the country is “unique to the Jewish people” — as well as demoting Arabic from the status of official language.

In response, an anonymous group of “concerned deputies”, have proposed a “motion of censure” against Mr Lyons and Mr Rankoff, arguing they have misused the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

In a letter to fellow deputies, they wrote: “The claim that in voicing this opinion Dr Gewolb was expressing antisemitic views is not just false, but in fact severely damaging to the on-going fight against antisemitism in the UK.

“We consider that a public debate on this motion would be deeply embarrassing and counterproductive to the communal unity and broad support which IHRA has until now enjoyed.”

The JC understands that Mr Lyons is yet to submit the 50 votes required to trigger a vote of no confidence in Dr Gewolb.

Further, there is believed to be no protocol under the Board’s constitution for bringing motions of censure against individual deputies.

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