More than 120 councillors from almost every London borough attended a councillor seminar organised by the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and London Jewish Forum.
This was the biggest attendance for any such event, with a significant number of council leaders and cabinet members in attendance. Many of the Labour councillors said that they had felt it particularly important to attend in solidarity with the Jewish community, in light of tensions between the Party and British Jews.
The seminar covered a wide range of issues including antisemitism, Israel, education, social care, the Charedi community and social action, with sector leaders from different parts of the Jewish community talking through the areas of expertise (please see attached programme).
Among other speakers were Lee Scott, special adviser to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and former MP for Ilford North.
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said “We have run these events around the country for councillors from all parties. They are critical to winning the arguments on issues like antisemitism. We were delighted by the response yesterday and look forward to working with councillors across London and the UK going forward.”
Claudia Mendoza, the Jewish Leadership Council’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, said: “For many of our members, engagement and funding from local authorities is a necessity. It is vital that councillors hear directly from us the issues we face, particularly where there are cultural sensitivities. Having every London Council represented made the event a tremendous success”.
Adrian Cohen, the chair of the London Jewish Forum said: “It was encouraging to see so many councillors from all over London at the seminar yesterday, engaging with a range of issues that affect Jewish Londoners. We are a diverse community and we were pleased to be able to provide insight and understanding to councillors on social care, housing, security and social cohesion and the value we place on social action and education.”
Photo: Gary Perlmutter