Time to repay the trust that’s been placed in me

As newly-elected president of the Board of Deputies I have much to do. A glance at the news tells you the conflict in the Middle East rages on, there is unresolved business in the Labour Party and relationships between communities have been strained.

Jonathan Arkush represented our community wonderfully well and I pay tribute to him. My aim is to build on his work in key areas.

I will be focusing on the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. We need to see actions and not words from Jeremy Corbyn. We have made a series of suggestions to Labour which represented the absolute minimum of what we expect. These include swift action over past and future cases, Labour adopting the internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism and transparency in its actions. We will continue to hold the party to account.

If the violence in the Middle East this week has shown us anything it is that we must redouble our commitment to peace.

I back the Board’s ‘Invest in Peace’ initiative, which seeks to export a message of reconciliation in partnership with Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

The other urgent imperative is engagement with the UK’s faith communities. In the past three years, as vice president, I have met with Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and others.  It is a priority to pursue these relationships strenuously in the cause of interfaith understanding

I feel deeply honoured that the UK’s Jewish community has put its faith in me to lead our community for the next three years.

I will work long and hard to repay that trust.

About the Author
Marie van der Zyl is the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
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