Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen

A third candidate has entered the race for the Board of Deputies presidency and declared himself to be the representative of the “centre-left” in favour of a merger with the Jewish Leadership Council.

Richard Cohen, 59, who lives in Loughton, said he threw his hat in the ring when he realised that he didn’t identify with either candidate, Vice Presidents Alex Brummer and Jonathan Arkush.

“I decided to run when I heard Lawrence Brass and Laura Marks weren’t running. Alex represents the centre, Jonathan the right, so I’d say I represent the centre-left, although I’m no kneejerk leftist. Living in Loughton, outside the north-west London beltway, I also represent the provinces, which feel left out.”

Father-of-three Cohen knows he is now in for a tough time, saying: “No-one else would put their head above the parapet… When you enter the world of politics, especially Jewish politics, you know you’ll die a thousand times over.”

Declaring his “disappointment” and “confusion” with the current Board, he said: “The first thing I’d do is unite Jewish leadership. It makes no sense that we have two groups, with the Board and the JLC. In America they’re united under one group and so must we be.”

Asked if that meant he would support a merger, he said: “Absolutely. I think the Board does too, but it’s difficult to know. Other than spend thousands on expensive consultants, I don’t see what they’re doing.”