Charity Commission offers JNF UK ‘guidance on social media usage and trustee conduct’

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Charity Commission offers JNF UK ‘guidance on social media usage and trustee conduct’

Eighteen months after launching a compliance case against the communal charity, following chair Samuel Hayek's anti-Muslim remarks, the Charity Commission confirms this is now concluded

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Samuel Hayek and former JNF UK trustee Gary Mond
Samuel Hayek and former JNF UK trustee Gary Mond

The Charity Commission has confirmed it has issued “regulatory advice and guidance relating to social media usage and trustee conduct” to JNF UK after it opened a compliance case against the organisation following anti-Muslim remarks made by its chair Samuel Hayek.

The watchdog opened the case 18 months ago in response to the widespread condemnation of Hayek’s claim, made in an interview with Jewish News, that Muslim immigration into this country would leave Jews with “no future in England”.

The case was opened, the Commission said, “due to concerns regarding the conduct of one of the charity’s trustees, as well as the conduct of a now former trustee.”

A JNF UK spokesperson told Jewish News:”The Charity Commission has confirmed to JNF UK that the case is now closed.”

In an earlier December 2002 interview Hayek had told the Jerusalem Post: “I am not against any minority or against Muslims in the UK or Europe, but against anyone who spreads hatred that harms Jews. That is how I see the near future evolving.”

The Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and Community Security Trust all condemned the remarks made by Hayek, the chair of the KKL Charitable Trust.

Alex Sobel, the MP for Leeds North West, has called for Hayek’s immediate resignation or removal from office.

Gary Mond, at the time JNF UK’s treasurer, said the comments from Hayek did not reflect charity policy. But Mond, who has now stepped down from as a JNF UK trustee, was also at the centre of criticism over Islamophic remarks he made on Facebook in 2014 and 2015, six years prior to his role as an honorary office on the Board of Deputies. Mond subsequently quit his role on the Board.

It is understood the Commission worked closely with the charity over the past months in addressing any concerns or queries raised.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “Our compliance case into JNF UK has now concluded. During the case, regulatory advice and guidance relating to social media usage and trustee conduct was issued to the trustees, and we’re satisfied that this has now been acted upon.”

Hayek told The Jewish Chronicle, “We are delighted that our engagement with the Charity Commission has yielded a constructive conclusion, and the case is now closed.

”This outcome reflects our dedication to upholding the highest standards of governance and accountability.”

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