The actors’ union Equity has been accused of breaking its own rules in encouraging members to attend pro-Palestinian rallies.
UK Lawyers for Israel has written to general secretary Paul Fleming pointing out what it calls “one-sided” interventions in the Israel/Palestine conflict, which it says falls foul of the union’s own rules.
The intervention comes after a small group of protesters held a demonstration outside Equity’s HQ, criticising its “marginalisation of Jewish members.”
The union caused controversy when it urged its members to take part in a central London pro-Palestinian demo in May, where antisemitic slogans were seen on display.
It caused several high-profile members to resign, including actress Maureen Lipman.
Jonathan Turner, the chief executive of UK Lawyers for Israel, said that the union taking a stance on the conflict could encourage “bullying, victimisation and harassment of those considered to be on the ‘wrong’ side.”
“These factors make it highly undesirable for the Union to take sides on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, which is irrelevant to the Union’s primary objects of promoting performance arts and the economic, social and legal interests of its members in their professional capacity,” he said.
Among the rules the letter alleges were broken is a rule which forbids the union affiliating itself to “any political party or religious faith” and a rule which protects members’ rights “to hold and express their personal political and other beliefs both in their private and professional capacities.”
The union’s bosses issued a statement in May, saying that “antisemitism must be rooted out and denounced” and that the union condemned violence against Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
Jewish News has contacted the union for further comment.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.