The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) has been accused of using an antisemitic trope of ‘powerful Jews’ by an unnamed ‘communal leadership’ source, according to a Jewish Chronicle article published yesterday.
Marie van der Zyl was attacked for her comments made during a Board meeting. The Chronicle reported:
Another senior communal source was highly critical of Mrs van der Zyl’s latest remarks, telling the JC: “In what world do you use the words
‘Jewish community’ and ‘power’ in the same sentence?
“The community has spent months highlighting antisemitic tropes and then the President of the Board of Deputies herself says Jews have power which they learn how to use.
“I don’t know what’s worse — that this was a spur of the moment comment or that it was actually planned?
“The Board is more worried about their positioning than getting the right answer.”
The choice of words was certainly unfortunate, but the Chronicle appears to consider the issue more one of division between the BoD and the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) about whether and how to engage with the Labour Party, as the article’s title says:
Schism grows between communal groups over how to respond to Labour antisemitism
The article also mentions the JLC’s claim to have presented Labour with ‘six reasonable steps’ – which have been criticised as rather being demands – that the party has not accepted.
Among those demands was that the party only talk to Jewish groups who agreed with the JCL on antisemitism – which the JLC characterised as ‘obstructing’ attempt to deal with the problem. The JLC also wanted Labour MPs to lose the whip for associating with members who had been suspended for antisemitism. Suspension is, of course, an administrative measure and not a guilty verdict – as the humiliating apology issued by the Mail Online recently to a JVL leader wrongly suspended for antisemitism and quickly reinstated demonstrates.
Marie van der Zyl has been contacted for comment.
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