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British Jews to go to the polls this Sunday to vote for a new President of the community.


Hustings: Edwin Shuker, Marie Van Der Zyl, Stephen Pollard (chair), Sheila Gewolb, Simon Hochhauser.

Hustings: Edwin Shuker, Marie Van Der Zyl, Stephen Pollard (chair), Sheila Gewolb, Simon Hochhauser.

By Richard Millett

I was at JW3 in north-west London on Tuesday night to hear the four candidates for the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews state their case with the election taking place this coming Sunday. Anyone who is a member of a UK synagogue can vote in the election.

The current President, Jonathan Arkush, is standing down after only one term. He will be a hard act to follow. He has been a calm and safe pair of hands when interviewed by the media, especially during the current antisemitism crisis in the Labour Party.

He has been clear and concise at describing when criticism of Israel crosses over into antisemitism; for example, when there’s a disproportionate focus on Israel, Holocaust equivalence or comparisons to Nazism.

The four candidates to replace him are: Edwin Shuker (62) who is sephardi Jew who escaped with his family from Iraq through the mountains of Iran, Marie Van Der Zyl (52) who is an employment solicitor and a current Board of Deputies vice-president, Sheila Gewolb (70) is another Board vice-president who seems to have had some success countering antisemitism by meeting with the Muslim Council of Wales, and Simon Hochhauser (65) who has had great success in the technology sector both in the UK and Israel.

All the candidates were very solid on defending Israel and you can read about them in more detail here.

My only concern is whether there will be more done to counter antisemitism on university campuses. There are hundreds of meetings held on UK campuses throughout the year where young students are hearing horrific things said about Israel without any challenge whatsoever. Tens of thousands of students each year are being led to believe, inter alia, that “Israel is an apartheid state”, “Israelis behave like Nazis” and “Israel is ethnically cleansing the Palestinians.” By ignoring the situation on campuses the problem of antisemitism in the UK will never be solved as there is a constant conveyor belt of new antisemites coming out of our universities.

Antisemitic professors and lecturers are helping to spread this antisemitism. Graduates then go into the media, politics and charity sectors where they are given the resources and opportunity to spread hatred of Israel, and Jews generally, even further.

On a more positive note this Saturday night in Lisbon is the final of the Eurovision Song Contest where Israel’s entrant Netta Barzilai is the favourite to win. It is a huge turnaround after last year’s competition during which Israel’s jury head, the charming Ofer Nachshon, announced live on air that Israel would not be involved in the competiton in future due to the huge broadcasting dispute in Israel.

As ever a boycott campaign has been underway to get other the Eurovision countries to award Netta no points. So if you are watching and are near a phone or have the app then maybe consider giving Netta your vote. It would be great if she could win and if she does it will definitely be next year in Jerusalem!

Hopefully UK singer SuRie will also do very well and could win if Netta doesn’t. Here are the details of how to vote for Netta or SuRie.

We wish you a good weekend, shabbat shalom and a peaceful time for Israelis who are currently under threat from Hezbollah and Iran in the north and Hamas in the south.

55 replies »

  1. I am a bit dismayed that you were foolish enough to ask all of us to vote for Netta instead of the British entry. Frankly I don’t watch the bloody thing anyway. But the problem is that UK Media Watch has shot itself in the foot. Michael Farmer has commented that this shows how Jews who live in Britain put Israel first.

    I would really implore you not to disseminate such things without thinking of the consequences. A little bit of joined up thinking is required.

    Michael Zeffertt

    On Fri, May 11, 2018 at 9:27 AM, UK Media Watch wrote:

    > Guest/Cross Post posted: ” By Richard Millett I was at JW3 in north-west > London on Tuesday night to hear the four candidates for the President of > the Board of Deputies of British Jews state their case with the election > taking place this coming Sunday. Anyone who is a member of a” >

    • Why on earth should Israelis vote for a British entry when Netta’s Toy is outstanding?

      Don’t comment on what you don’t understand

    • Michael Farmer’s comments are ridiculous and simply hostile.
      He is twisting something into something else, par for the course for him.

  2. ‘Israel firsters’ = conspiracy theory
    The only reason anyone is talking about voting Israel is because of BDS
    BDS has made the issue political, so blame the anti-Israel and ant-Jewish brigade for spreading hate

  3. I am slightly amazed at some of the reaction to Richard’s suggestion that people should consider voting for the Israeli entry.
    If you are living in the United Kingdom you CANNOT vote for the U.K.s entry.
    The rule is clear “….. but you cannot vote for the country you are voting from”

    So if you live in the U.K. you CANNOT vote for the U.K. entry and the same with all the other countries, e.g. if you live in Israel you CANNOT vote for the Israeli entry.

    Such a pity when people comment based on their blind prejudice and ignorance.

    • Except Gerald the wish was expressed that the Israeli entry wins. Must try harder. Such a pity when people comment based on their reading disability

      It would be great if she could win and if she does it will definitely be next year in Jerusalem!

      Hopefully UK singer SuRie will also do very well ………..

  4. Back to the substantive issue: Richard Millett is actually not correct when he says: “Anyone who is a member of a UK synagogue can vote in the [Board of Deputies] election.” In fact, only Deputies have a vote in this. However, each Deputy has been democratically elected by the synagogue or other Jewish communal body that they represent. The system mirrors the House of Commons.

    • The system is idiotic. You have to belong to a synagogue (probably not any synagogue). Non-religious Jews don’t count.

          • Sweet Haggis. Your brain makes as much sense as sheep gut stew.

            When you’re done drinking, Dear, you should practice vomiting over the toilet, not all over your keyboard. Best of luck!

          • What’s funny about right wing Republican posters is that they are always Party over Country, including in discussions about Israel.

            Because what pisses you off, Leah, isn’t the fact that I support Israel, but my own political leanings that allow me to continue to support Israel.

            What I criticize you about– and we can extend the definition of criticism as being able to mock your dim and narrow worldview– is this innate ability you have at ignoring the crux of any argument for sake of political grandstanding. Obama will always be a Muslim to you. And that’s only because you’re a deranged lunatic who fantasizes about Sean Hannity.

            Of course, none of this will make sense to you, Sweet Haggis. I write all of this knowing it will only fly over your narrow head.

            • “What’s funny about right wing Republican posters is that they are always Party over Country, including in discussions about Israel.”
              Oy vey. And it goes downhill from there.

    • No Stephen what will help is that at the start of next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, from Jerusalem, a short film about Israel will be broadcast as part of the show.
      The audience for the Eurovision show is already in excess of 200 Million.
      ‘ ““We are thrilled that the Eurovision Song Contest continues to grow its audience and now reaches over 200 million people around the world,” said the EBU’s Director General Ingrid Deltenre.’

      Stephen you should now go and do the decent thing and hang yourself.
      I would suggest blowing your brains out Stephen but I doubt if you or anyone else is that good a shot to be able to hit such a minuscule target.

  5. So the Jew Haters aren’t half-naked when they visit this site? I find it difficult to believe. The only reason Jew Haters hate Jews is because it gives them the jollies.

  6. So, the fact that I’m Irish with duel nationality and have lived in England for 46 years, reared 2 English children and voted for Ireland, Mr Farmer would have a problem with that? I know the answer I’d give him!

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