The Board of Deputies of British Jews has become the second self-declared “pro-Jewish” charity to be reported to the Charity Commission for breaking the rule never to support or oppose a particular political party.
Online commenter Simon Maginn quoted the Commission’s own documentation that states: “Whether or not charities choose to undertake political activity, they must never support or oppose a particular political party or endorse a particular political candidate.”
He continued: “The BoD have demanded the Labour Party, but no other, agree to a ’10 point pledge’. I asked the BoD why this was so; they explained that the Labour Party is “infested” with “anti-Jewish racism”, “more than any other party”.
“This is not what CST [Community Security Trust, an organisation established to ensure the safety and security of British Jews in the UK] statistics show, though. CST 17 shows antisemitism rising the further to the political right one goes… Thus, statistically, a Labour member or supporter is less likely to be antisemitic than a member or supporter of the Conservative Party.
“The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report on Antisemitism in the UK (2016-17) says this:
“It should be emphasised that the majority of antisemitic abuse and crime has historically been, and continues to be, committed by individuals associated with (or motivated by) far-right wing parties and political activity. Although there is little reliable or representative data on contemporary sources of antisemitism, CST figures suggest that around three-quarters of all politically-motivated antisemitic incidents come from far-right sources.
“I asked BoD why, in light of this, they were singling out Labour as particularly problematic, when the available statistical information showed the opposite to be the case; they offered no statistical rebuttal.
“Thus, the BoD have made a very public statement that the Labour Party is problematic based on faulty data. They are ‘opposing’ the Labour Party in so doing. The issue is politically sensitive. The BoD’s ’10 point pledge’ has had enormous publicity, with all the Labour leadership candidates signing up to it. This, in my opinion, amounts to the BoD ‘opposing’ the Labour Party by singling them out for opprobrium and not demanding any other party sign the pledge.
“I think this politicisation of the BoD’s activities presents a negative image of charities, which the British people believe to be politically neutral. The suggestion that a charity might be using its charitable status to oppose one party and, by implication, support another is damaging to the reputation of the charitable sector generally.”
He tweeted his letter for all to see:
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) February 17, 2020
It’s a strong argument.
And it will be interesting to see what the Charity Commission does with it…
… Especially as it is already dealing with a complaint about the Campaign Against Antisemitism.
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