Deputies push no confidence motion against Board vice president for criticising Israel's Nation State Law

They say her comments breached the IHRA definition of antisemitism 'in applying double standards' to the country


A Board of Deputies vice-president is facing a possible vote of no confidence for criticising Israel's controversial Nation State Law.

A group of deputies are behind the bid, which is being organised by Jacob Lyons, a deputy for Western Marble Arch synagogue, and Martin Rankoff, a deputy for Redbridge synagogue.

The law says only Israel's Jews have a right to national self-determination in that country. When it was passed in July, the Board issued Dr Gewolb's statemnt that said “some of the measures in this law are regressive steps".

She praised Israel's "democracy and diversity", adding: "Being Jewish is a wonderful thing, but this should not lead to doing down others. All people should be valued and Israel’s Arab and other minority populations should be a treasured part of society."

But, deputies are now calling for her removal, saying her statement “inappropriately meddles in the democratic process of another sovereign nation”.

In a letter to Board chief executive Gillian Merron, they claim the representative body has been "hijacked by groups and individual members of groups with so-called 'progressive' views".

"This is one such example. Troy is long since destroyed but the horses live on,” they write.

They even claim Dr Gewolb's statement breached the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism by "applying double standards to Israel by requiring of it a behaviour not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation".

“Issues such as the Nation State Law can of course be raised and debated by the Board,” the letter says.

“It is however inexplicable that one of its most senior representatives would simply release any public statement on the matter, on behalf of the Board, but without due consultation, process or indeed basis in fact.

"Dr Gewolb must realise that in today’s world anything that might be construed as a foreign entity interfering in the democratic process of another sovereign nation is categorically off-limits."

Fifty deputies are required to support the request in order for the motion of confidence to be considered.

Mr Lyons told the JC on Friday 32 were backing it and added he was "confident" more would follow.

If more than 50 support the motion, it would then go to a plenary debate, where a two thirds majority would be needed to pass.

The Board declined to comment.

Share via

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