Board president to be quizzed over Jerusalem embassy move remarks at meeting

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Board president to be quizzed over Jerusalem embassy move remarks at meeting

Marie van der Zyl has been inundated with questions from Deputies ahead of a meeting of the communal organisation on her comments in support of a UK embassy move to Jerusalem, made in front of PM Liz Truss

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Liz Truss talks with Board President Marie van der Zyl at the CFI reception in Birmingham
Liz Truss talks with Board President Marie van der Zyl at the CFI reception in Birmingham

The Board of Deputies president has come under pressure from elected representatives of the communal organisation to explain her comments supporting the government’s proposal to “review” a move of the UK embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Ahead of a Board meeting taking place on Wednesday evening, a succession of Deputies raised concerns about her remarks, made in front of Prime Minister Liz Truss, at the Tory party conference on October 2nd.

Sources confirm that questions put to van der Zyl include questions about on what authority she had been given for saying she “welcomed” the government’s proposal, after giving a speech at a Conservative Friends of Israel event.

In a further question, the Board’s president has been asked how she would respond if “violence” greeted any Uk embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Another Deputy pressed the president on whether, as part of their commitment to a two-state solution, the Board would support calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

There are also concerns raised about the lack of consultation with Deputies, before the controversial speech was made.

Some deputies offer support to the president, including a communal leader who “commends” the speech she made in front of the PM.

Jewish News understands that Van Der Zyl will attempt to reassure Deputies that her CFI speech was made “in consultation” with other Deputies who were also at the event.

She will refer to the Board’s previous statement, made by former president Jonathan Arkush, in support of the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem.

Van der Zyl is also expected to tell Deputies that she does not believe moving the UK embassy to Jerusalem jeopardises a two-state solution.

It is understood she will reject claims that the embassy move might be responsible for sparking violence, and that any violence that did occur was the responsibility of those involved.

The Board’s president will also argue that if fear of violence was the main consideration the state of Israel would never have been created in the first place.

Van der Zyl is expected to confirm that she continues to back the UK government’s proposal to review a move of the embassy.

Wednesday’s meeting takes place over Zoom.



Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: