Charity Commission investigating JNF UK after chair’s comments to Jewish News
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Charity Commission investigating JNF UK after chair’s comments to Jewish News

Watchdog is 'requesting information' from the Israel charity and will consider if 'regulatory action is required', after its head Samuel Hayek made remarks about Muslim immigration

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

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
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

The Charity Commission has opened a regulatory case into the JNF UK charity in response to concerns raised about comments made by chair Samuel Hayek.

On Thursday a spokesperson for the watchdog confirmed it had contacted JNF UK trustees “requesting information” before considering whether “regulatory action is required.”

Jewish News understands the Commission received several complaints from both Jewish and Muslim organisations after we ran an interview with Hayek last month in which he claimed Jews had no future in this country as a result of Muslim immigration.

In a statement the Commission confirmed:”The Commission has opened a regulatory case into the Charity to assess the concerns raised with us.

“The Commission has contacted the Charity’s trustees requesting information; once received the Commission will consider whether any regulatory action is required. We cannot comment further whilst our case is ongoing”.

Jewish News interviewed Hayek last month to clarify comments he had made in an earlier Jerusalem Post interview in which he said Jews have “no future” in England.

Comparing the UK to France he said issues around Muslim immigration meantthat “maybe in 10 years, maybe less, who knows, Jews will not be able to live in the UK. I don’t think anybody can stop it.”

He also said that in “Islam there is not a term for ‘peace’”and added that Muslims arriving in the UK “create their own ghettos, their own education, their own process of thinking.”

Hayek also used far-right Great Replacement Theory ideology to suggest that the “white” Christian majority in the west was shrinking.

The JNF UK’s trustees now contacted by the charity watchdog include Gary Mond, an Honorary Officer at the Board of Deputies, who has been asked to step down from his duties at the organisation while they investigate allegations of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Other JNF UK trustees include Gideon Falter, who is also chief executive with the Campaign Against Antisemitism and Alan Mendoza, of the Henry Jackson Society right-wing think than.

Howard Wayne, Belinda Oakland, Laurence Julius, Hayek himself, Timothy Kendal, Marilyn Waisman and Murray Lee are the other trutees.

On Wednesday evening, the Board’s Communities and Education Division met to discuss two resolutions aimed at forcing the communal organisation to severe ties with the charity while Hayek remains chair.

At a meeting in which vice-chair Andrew Gilbert stood in for usual chair Mond, who recognised he could not oversee the discussion, both resolutions were passed with a clear majority of those in attendance.

It means the motions, proposed by in-coming Union of Jewish Students chair Joel Rosen, will now be voted on at full Board plenary.

Meanwhile a message sent to all Deputies on Wednesday evening on behalf of the honorary officers stressed anger over a series of social media posts sent by Mond – including two in support for the far-right activist Pamela Geller.

Gary Mond

The emailed message added the Board was committed to “fostering strong and positive relations between Jews and Muslims.’

Current President Marie van der Zyl has made expressing solidarity with the Muslim community a feature of her presidency.

Both herself, former JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein and Mark Gardner at the CST were quick to condemn Hayek’s comments on Muslims and on the future of Jews in this country.

Comparing the UK to France he said issues around Muslim immigration meant that “maybe in 10 years, maybe less, who knows, Jews will not be able to live in the UK. I don’t think anybody can stop it.”

He also said that in “Islam there is not a term for ‘peace’” and added that Muslims arriving in the UK ” create their own ghettos, their own education, their own process of thinking.”

When challenged that his remarks about Muslims were the same insults dished out to Jewish immigrants, Hayek said: “The Jews don’t want to kill anybody..”

In further hugely controversial remarks he said: “It was a process, the process is the white Christian majority is shrinking. It shrinks to a degree where there is a point it cannot protect itself anymore.”

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.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

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...

Engaging

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.

Celebrating

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.

Pioneering

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.

Campaigning

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:
comments