Gillian Merron addresses World Jewish Congress
The inaugural WJC National Community Directors’ Forum was held in Prague, with chief professional officers from over 50 affiliated communities, from El Salvador to Ukraine, in attendance.
At the conference, Gillian gave a briefing on the current state of UK-Israel relations and also took the opportunity to introduce the Board’s 2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto, copies of which are now on their way to Australia, Canada, France, and Costa Rica and beyond. Gillian also met with World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder (pictured below) and CEO Robert Singer to discuss matters of concern for the UK Jewish community.
Gillian expressed solidarity with the Belgian community following violent murders and incidents. The threat of Jihadists and ‘returning terrorists’ was discussed with Gillian highlighting recent meetings with Minister for Security James Brokenshire MP and Home Secretary Theresa May MP.
In an exchange with Crif, the organisation representing French Jews, the rise of Front National and subsequent threats to Shechita were discussed.
SIG from Switzerland’s Secretary General Dr. Jonathan Kreutner talked about how the Board’s interfaith work to combat antisemitism at times of conflict has been well received by the Swiss community.
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece briefed Gillian on the link between the Greek economic crisis and the sharp increase in antisemitism which has also led to the rise of neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party.
South Africa’s representative outlined their efforts to tackle boycotts and hate speech, a concern common to many communities including our own.
Gillian said: “This was an excellent opportunity to meet communal leaders and colleagues from across the world to share experience, best practice and concerns about issues common to us all. Our 2015 General Election Jewish Manifesto, aimed at national politicians, was well received and there was a tremendous amount of interest in our work. It was a privilege to be able to convey the hopes and concerns of the British Jewish community.”
Gillian also attended a Shabbat service at the Old New Synagogue, Europe’s oldest active synagogue and visited the Theresienstadt concentration camp.