- Competition is as healthy for interest group organisations as it is for manufacturers of soap powder. The NJA will do many of the same things that the Board of Deputies (BoD) does – but so what? The Board has had a monopoly throughout its history and inevitably that has impacted negatively on its performance. The argument that ‘Government will be confused’ is simply spurious. Just look (for example) at the many organisations that represent the countryside! Ministers and civil servants are not idiots.
- If you join the NJA you will have far more say than you will ever have in the BoD. To become a Deputy you (i) need to be a member of a synagogue or Jewish organisation that is a member (ii) you need to be elected or appointed (iii) you need to then be elected to a position as an Executive Member. Regarding (i), an estimated 43.7% of UK households with at least one Jewish adult hold no synagogue membership (see JPR July 2017). Even for the remaining 56.3%, only some 150 out of 454 synagogues in the UK are BoD members. So thousands of Jews (in all likelihood, the majority) are ineligible to be Deputies. Even if they are eligible, (ii) is very difficult because incumbents hardly ever stand down. On the basis of a random sample of some 40 who were Deputies when I was one in 2012, nearly two-thirds remain Deputies 10 years later. I have challenged the Board to publish a full breakdown of membership by length of service. No response. Even if you do get elected, most Deputies have zero influence. Now (iii): To make a difference in the areas that matter, you need to be elected to the Executive, eg as the Chair or Vice Chair of one of the Divisions.
- But in the NJA you can make a difference from the start.
- Although there are several Deputies with valuable expertise – eg on Jewish medical ethics – the Board and its staff are dominated by Leftists. Many things have gone wrong in recent times. See here and here. The sad demise of the Zionist Federation amply demonstrates the risks of Leftist Entryism. By contrast the NJA will be ‘entryist proof’ because applicants whose record suggests that they do not fully support its three key goals will be turned away.
- The Board’s Constitution obliges it ‘to take such appropriate action as lies within its power to advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing.’ In recent times that obligation has been blatantly violated. Examples: The rejection of membership of the Zionist Central Council of Manchester (ZCC); the rejection of a motion ‘welcoming any mutually agreed peace settlement between Israel and its neighbours and adopting no position on the form such a settlement should take’ and endorsing of a ‘two state solution’; the vilification of Gary Mond and Samuel Hayek, both office holders at the JNF; the endorsement of Yachad as a Board Member; the Oxfam tie-up; the failure to organise a protest against the recent Al Quds Day march; the absence of any support for Kevin Myers or Stephen Lamonby. If Deputies were given the chance to endorse a united Jerusalem, a majority would veto it. Whereas in the Jewish Community a majority would support it: Deputies are unrepresentative of the Community.
- By contrast ALL the members of the NJA’s ‘Advisory Board’ and Executive Staff have a track record of ‘taking such appropriate action as lies within [their] power to advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing.’ With the sad demise of the ZF – vindictively destroyed by Leftists – there is no national ‘grassroots’ pro-Israel organisation in the UK. The NJA is ideally placed to fill the gap.
- The Board’s USP has always been ‘democratic legitimacy’. But it’s hardly democratic:
– The President is elected by Deputies but once elected s/he can virtually act as a dictator for six years.
– The President’s job is unpaid. How many people can afford to take time out of their careers unpaid for six years? A position that is only open to the wealthy is hardly ‘democratic’!
– On the lamentably few occasions when there is a vote it is impossible to know how a Deputy has voted – there’s no democratic accountability.
– See above: Possibly half of all Jews in the UK cannot become Deputies.
- Anyone not of the Left who puts themselves forward for office at the Board has to be prepared to have their social media crawled over with a fine toothcomb by the Leftist activists and quoted (selectively and context-free of course) by Lee Harpin in Jewish News. The vilification of Gary Mond – the Deputy who won most Vice President votes at the last Board elections – was shameful. The same goes for the smearing of James Marlow. If you’ve ever stood up for anything that the activist Jewish Left doesn’t like, beware!
- Unlike the Board the NJA will not use its limited resources for causes which – while admirable – are well supported elsewhere – eg climate change, persecution of Uyghur Muslims.
- Gary Mond is a very astute hard-working political operator whose record of support for Israel is sans pareil. He was a strong contender to be the next President of the Board of Deputies – which was why the activist leftist social media archaeologists trained their sights on him. If for no other reason, this is ample justification for supporting the NJA.
JOIN THE NATIONAL JEWISH ASSEMBLY TODAY!
Postscript (3 June)
Excellent JC letter by Gary Mond …..
… in response to this idiotic , vindictive letter the previous week …..