Board brands 20 anonymous deputies ‘cowardly’ over support for Halfon criticism

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Board brands 20 anonymous deputies ‘cowardly’ over support for Halfon criticism

Communal organisation hits out at unnamed representatives who said they were 'uniformly troubled' by the Board allegedly 'pursuing a left of centre political agenda'

Robert Halfon
Robert Halfon

The bitter row between the Board of Deputies and Conservative MP Rob Halfon took another ugly turn today, with the Board accusing 20 of its own deputies of hiding behind a “cowardly cloak of anonymity” in supporting Halfon’s attack on the Jewish umbrella organisation.

A letter published by the Jewish Chronicle quotes the signatories as being “uniformly troubled” that the Board is “intent on pursuing a left of centre political agenda and has a partisan bias.”

This follows Robert Halfon’s claim that the Board has become a “political broadcasting service” for Labour.

Board president Marie van der Zyl hit back at Halfon, questioning his “courage and integrity”. The two partiers then cleared the air on Monday in a joint statement, saying: “We deeply regret this weekend’s exchange. Going forward, we will endeavour to share any concerns in private first.”

However, the row escalated again hours later when the Board criticised the Jewish Chronicle for refusing to reveal the signatories of the letter supporting Halfon’s view.

A spokesperson said: “Having tried to pressure the Board of Deputies’ staff to make a comment about a disagreement shortly before Shabbat the Jewish Chronicle has now asked the Board  to comment on an allegedly critical letter whose contents the JC refused to share with us and whose purported signatories hide behind the cowardly cloak of anonymity.

“This is despite the fact that Mr Halfon and the Board of Deputies President have now made amends and agreed to move on constructively. It is disappointing that while the key protagonists are moving forward, the JC seems determined to stir communal discord. We hope that the new owners of the Jewish Chronicle will get a grip on this sort of thing, which risks damaging the reputation of this 179-year old institution.

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