Board suspends deputy for six years after investigation into ‘Islamophobic’ views

Roslyn Pine was found to have brought the Board into disrepute


The Board of Deputies has suspended for six years a deputy who made comments described as Islamophobic and admitted holding anti-Arab views.

Following a JC investigation and a series of complaints against Roslyn Pine, the Board’s constitution committee found on Wednesday that she had brought the organisation into disrepute.

It was first reported in June that Mrs Pine, deputy for Finchley United Synagogue, had shared tweets describing Muslims as “the vilest of animals” as well as calling Arabs “so evil”.

Subsequent comments made to the JC, in which she said she “detests the creed of Islam” and that “killing us and destroying Israel is an Islamic fundamental”, were the subject of a fresh complaint by former deputy Anthony Tricot.

In her defence, Mrs Pine said: “I certainly said that all religions, including Judaism, being a body of ideas, should be open to criticism and mockery in a free society.

“It is correct that I have an issue with Muslims and Arabs who want to kill us and destroy Israel, as do most normative Jews. I would expect that every deputy at the Board would also hold that view, otherwise what is their purpose there?”

The constitution committee upheld the complaint, saying it “does not agree with Mrs Pine’s analysis”.

It added: “Mrs Pine makes it clear that her views are negative about Islam. What Mrs Pine is saying is that the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel is fundamental to the Islamic religion, and so implying condemnation of all Muslims.”

An email from Gillian Merron, the Board’s chief executive, notified deputies of the suspension.

Ms Merron wrote: “Further to an investigation by the panel established by the constitution committee, the executive committee has decided that Roslyn Pine be removed from the position of deputy and suspended from Board activities for a period of six years.

“In addition, the executive committee decided that there be publication to deputies of the complaint and the outcome of the panel review and to issue notice of criticism to the constituency.”

Ella Rose, deputy for Bushey United Synagogue and national director of Jewish Labour Movement, praised the Board for reaching a conclusion in a “swift, transparent and satisfactory manner”.

Speaking in a personal capacity, Ms Rose added: “This makes clear that there is no space for those who espouse Islamophobic views in our community.”

The JC understands it was Marie van der Zyl, the Board’s new president, who initially suggested a six-year ban.

Another deputy told the JC: “It is good that the Board seems finally to be moving itself towards the transparency it justifiably demands from other organisations.”

On Monday it was announced that Mrs Pine had put herself forward for re-election to the Board’s International Division, which is responsible for relations with organisations in Israel and other countries.

Having been suspended, she has now been barred from running in the election, which will take place on Sunday.

Following the JC investigation, Mrs van der Zyl ordered an “urgent and detailed case review” into Mrs Pine. She later made eight recommendations for changes to the code of conduct, including greater transparency, which will be reviewed by the constitution committee before being put to a vote by deputies in November.

Mrs Pine’s retweet of a message calling Muslims “the vilest of animals” was the subject of a complaint in 2015, but was not processed due to “uncertainty as to whether the code applied to the particular case”, the Board said, but that position has now been reversed.

Mrs Pine had been the subject of a series of complaints and constitution committee findings.

These included incidents in which she referred to fellow deputies as “modern day Kapos” and made a joke during a meeting that the Swedish foreign minister was “too old to be raped”.

In the latter case, she was ordered to issue an apology to members of the International Division, but she refused.

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