Former Board deputy to launch new leadership body

Gary Mond, who resigned amid a row over allegedly Islamophobic comments, said he wanted to provide a ‘grassroots’ alternative


Former Board of Deputies vice-president Gary Mond is set to launch a new Jewish communal body, the JC can reveal.

The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) is intended to provide a “bottom-up” and “grassroots” alternative to the Board, chairman Mr Mond told the JC.

Mr Mond, who is is bankrolling the project, resigned from the Board of Deputies in January after he was accused of Islamophobia over historic social media posts. The former deputy said he was criticising the terrorists behind the 2015 Paris attacks, not Muslims in general.

While the Board comprises deputies elected by synagogues, anyone willing to pay £30 a year will be able to join the NJA and contribute to determining its policy at regular assemblies. Synagogues will reportedly be able to sign up members en-masse at a discounted rate.

Those who wish to join will have to support three core principles: to promote Jewish life, to support Israel and to fight antisemitism.

Mr Mond said: “There is no other assembly-style Jewish body which anyone who is Jewish and who adheres to our three principles can join, upon paying a small membership fee.”

The NJA will not address any other issues such as climate change or repression faced by the Uighurs, he added.

In a statement, the NJA said it aims to, “voice the opinions of ordinary Jews who have never been, and do not attempt to be, part of the current system of Jewish organisational infrastructure.”

Mr Mond said the organisation ought to be judged by how many join up.

“A thousand members will be a success,” he added.

The body is currently led by an advisory board of nine, including former Zionist Federation chief Steve Winston who will serve as vice-chairman.

Other members will include voluntary workers and those with “grass roots” communal experience. Initial elections to the board are set to be held in 2024 or 2025.

GB News foreign affairs analyst James Marlow will serve as the organisation’s CEO, and its events manager will be former Zionist Federation employee Dalia Hajioff.

James Marlow said: “This is an opportune time to launch the NJA with fresh new ideas coming from an enthusiastic advisory board and many within the community have indicated they wish to be part of this exciting new Jewish project.”

Events put on by the NJA will include social events and talks by speakers from the UK and Israel who will debate with members.

Mr Mond resigned from the Board of Deputies in January after it launched an investigation into his historic social media posts.

The former JNF deputy was said to have liked two posts by Pamela Geller, an American anti-Islamic activist banned from the UK, and to have written that civilisation was “at war” with Islam.

One of Mr Mond’s messages, posted in 2016, said: “We just have to hope that our leaders wake up to the fact that all civilisation … is at war with these evil bastards, and I have to say it, at war with Islam. And, just as Islam has lost before in history, it will lose again.”

In an email to the JC, Mr Mond said: “My reference in the tweet to ‘evil bastards’ was certainly not aimed at Muslims generally.”

Mr Mond told the JC the NJA was not a right-wing organisation and that anyone who supported its three principles could join.

The majority of Jews are not being heard, he added, saying that he aimed to create a bottom-up mass membership community organisation that is unashamedly pro-Israel and Zionist.

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