Jewish Police officers and Orthodox volunteers for neighbourhood security group Shomrim raised eyebrows this week by joining an alliance with grassroots group Campaign Against Antisemitism.
The new alliance, called the British Council for Countering Anti-Semitism (BCCA), includes the Jewish Police Association, the Kehilah Security and Protection Association (KASPA), Shomrim Broughton Park, Shomrim North West London and Stamford Hill Shomrim, and will be coordinated by Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Earlier this year, the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) fell out spectacularly with Simon Johnson, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, after Johnson said statistics put out by the CAA amounted to scaremongering.
Now, in what will be seen as a coup for CAA chief Gideon Falter, the new alliance has brought together Jewish police officers and security volunteers under a remit to “speak with a single voice” and “provide a forum through which to devise and deliver new strategies and frameworks to counter anti-Semitism in the UK”.
According to the JPA, the Community Security Trust, the lead coordinating organisation when it comes to fighting anti-Semitism in the UK has also been invited to join the group.
Orthodox Jewish leaders this week welcomed the move, with Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president of Stamford Hill Shomrim, saying: “It is very welcome that various organisations in the field of protecting the Jewish community have come together to pool their resources and their talents to enhance and strengthen our shared response to the scourge of anti-Semitism.”
Falter said he was “delighted to be co-founding this initiative with partners who share our dedication to keeping British Jews safe”.
He added: “It is absolutely crucial for organisations which counter anti-Semitism in Britain to work closely together… Establishing the BCCA is an important step in ensuring that we challenge antisemitism from a position of unity and strength.”
There were reports three years ago of deteriorating relations between the Jewish Police Association and the CST, with a clear-the-air meeting reportedly arranged by the Metropolitan Police in 2015.
JPA chair Tim Williams, a serving police officer, said: “We are proud to join with partners within the community to highlight the ongoing problem of anti-Semitism and ensure that there is a united response to anti-Jewish racism.”