Board of Deputies senior VP asked to ‘step down’ over far-right social media posts

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Board of Deputies senior VP asked to ‘step down’ over far-right social media posts

EXCLUSIVE: Investigation launched into posts by Gary Mond, deputy for JNF UK, who is accused of showing support for anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller, who is banned from the UK.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Board of Deputies senior vice-president Gary Mond has been asked to “step down from his duties” while an investigation into allegations of anti-Muslim sentiment takes place.

Mond – the deputy for Israel charity JNF UK where he is a trustee and honorary treasurer – was informed of the decision to undertake a probe into his conduct on social media on Tuesday evening.

It came after Jewish News alerted the Board to historic social media posts that appeared to have been posted by Mond – including an apparent show of support for Pamela Geller, an American far-right anti-Islam activist, currently banned from entering the UK.

As a JNF UK trustee Mond had also faced mounting calls from communal and student leaders to further distance himself from comments made by the charity’s chair Samuel Hayek last month.

Confirming they had asked the deputy to stand down while a probe into his actions was launched, the Board said in a statement there was “no place” in any communal organisation for “anti-Muslim hatred.”

Mond vowed to consult lawyers over the Board’s decision to launch an investigation into him.

New evidence appeared to show Mondhad “liked” two posts made by Geller in 2017, during his six year long stint sitting on the Board’s Defence Division – including one accusing France was “finished” after voters picked current President Emmanuel Macron over far-right challenger Marine Le Pen.

Mond’s two ‘likes’ for Pamela Geller posts

In a further 2014 post, Mond also responded to concerns by another online user over a possible increase in the number of Muslim MPs in the UK parliament in constituencies where they could win support.

He wrote: “When this happens – and the odds are that it will – the Britain that we know will be gone forever.”

Mond’s response to a 2014 post

In a 2016 post Mond suggested the West, along with Israel and China is “at war with Islam.”

He added “just as Islam has lost before in history it will lose again.”

US activist Geller was banned by the British government from entry into the UK in 2013, with the authorities citing her anti-Muslim activism, and saying her presence would “not be conducive to the public good.”

Her anti-Muslim theories were cited, along with others, in the manifesto written by Anders Breivik, who carried out the terror attack in Norway in 2011 that left 77 people dead.

Mond’s 2016 anti-Islam post

In 2016, the Board backed then Home Secretary Theresa May’s decision ban Geller, who is Jewish, from traveling to the UK where she was due to take part in a demo organised by the far-right English Defence League.

Pamela Geller

Last May, as a Board Honorary President Mond became chair of the Communities and Education Division – whose tasks include supporting Jewish schools and Jews in non-Jewish settings.

In October, Mond issued a lengthy apology after he wasaccused of bringing the communal organisation “into disrepute”, with a social media post that linked Labour deputy leader’s to the death of the Conservative MP Sir David Amess.

He said:”It was wrong of me to post my views on the comments of Angela Rayner on the Facebook page of an MP, and also very wrong of me to write the post on Shabbat.

“I apologise unreservedly for these actions and, going forward, I will not be making controversial statements on an MP’s post nor posting on Shabbat again.

“I emphasise that there was no intention on my part to directly, or even indirectly, link Angela Rayner’s ‘Tory Scum’ comments with the horrific murder of Sir David Amess.”

Last month Mond – who has served on the advisory board of the Conservative Friends of Israel group – attempted to distance himself from comments made by JNF UK chair Samuel Hayek, who suggested Jews had “no future” in this country as a result of Muslim immigration.

Hayek also claimed Islam was a religion of violence and voiced support for far-right Great Replacement theories about the end of Christian majority culture in the West.

Businessman Samuel Hayek at a ceremony in the southern Israeli city of Sderot, marking the dedication of a city square in honor of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, on November 26, 2019. Photo by Flash90

Mond reiterated his belief that British Jews had “a great future in the UK” and supported the Board’s work “with Muslim communities throughout the country, with whom we have many joint objectives”.

He told Jewish News he also “endorsed the Board’s important work in supporting those who have migrated to the UK – who like my own father came to this country for a better life – and who are an integral part of what makes Britain such a great place to live.

”I think it is clear that my views on this subject differ profoundly with those expressed in the article.”

In a statement sent to Jewish News, the Board said:”Following the allegations of anti-Muslim sentiment which have surfaced we have asked Mr Mond to step down from his duties while an investigation is undertaken as is common practice.

“Mr Mond did not agree to voluntarily step down and has informed us he is currently taking legal advice.

“The Board of Deputies believes that there is no place in any Jewish communal organisation for anti-Muslim hatred.”

Jewish News has approached Mond for comment.

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