Des­mond urges lead­ers to step for­ward and lead

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

THE LEAD­ING fig­ures of one of Bri­tain’s big­gest Jewish char­i­ties have crit­i­cised the re­sponse of com­mu­nal lead­ers to the Gaza cri­sis.

In a let­ter pub­lished in to­day’s JC, Nor­wood pres­i­dent Richard Des­mond and vice-pres­i­dent Ron­nie Har­ris call on se­nior fig­ures in­clud­ing Peers and rab­bis to “lead from the front”.

They said they felt forced to speak out af­ter anti-Is­rael posters were stuck on the win­dow of a Nor­wood shop in Lon­don ear­lier this month.

Mr Des­mond and Mr Har­ris write: “We ask where is our lead­er­ship, our es­teemed knights and peers and our rab­binates, as it is their voices we wish to hear… in the main they have been silent.

“We ask you all to sur­face and come to the front and lead, as that is what is needed right now.”

The Nor­wood lead­ers high­lighted speeches made

Richard Des­mond ( and Ron­nie Har­ris

by the Is­raeli am­bas­sador, Daniel Taub, and Is­raeli politi­cian Yair Lapid as ex­am­ples of high-pro­file ef­forts to com­bat an­ti­semitism.

Speak­ing to the JC, Mr Har­ris said he was not crit­i­cal of in­di­vid­u­als or spe­cific groups, but felt that the com­mu­nity as a whole must do more.

“Ev­ery­one is well mean­ing. There are lots of views you can have, we just need more pres­ence — dare I say it, sub­tle PR,” he said.

“We are fight­ing a war against ter­ror­ists. The com­par­i­son of Ha­mas and Isis does not come across. We have to start talk­ing and put that across. All rab­bis have to speak about it.”

Ris­ing anger has been di­rected at com­mu­nal groups and lead­ers by Bri­tish Jews in the past month. A town hall meet­ing a fort­night ago was re­peat­edly dis­rupted by heck­lers shout­ing at the chief ex­ec­u­tives of the Board of Deputies, Jewish Lead­er­ship Coun­cil, Bi­com, Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust and UJIA.


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