Finchley Synagogue to discuss the plight of suspended deputy Roslyn Pine
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Finchley Synagogue to discuss the plight of suspended deputy Roslyn Pine

Finchley representative said she has 'nothing to apologise for' after 'Islamophobic' comments, as synagogue's board will now discuss the issue as a matter of urgency

Joe Millis is a journalist

Finchley Synagogue's board will discuss suspended deputy Roslyn Pine
Finchley Synagogue's board will discuss suspended deputy Roslyn Pine

Finchley Synagogue will look into the plight of its suspended deputy Roslyn Pine as a matter of “urgency”.

Pine was suspended from the Board of Deputies for an unprecedented six years over comments, which were described as Islamophobic and anti-Arab. However, the Board’s executive ruled that she could return early if she apologised, showed contrition and expressed remorse.

Finchley’s decision came after Pine launched a scathing attack on the Board of Deputies, and specifically its chief executive, for its decision to repeat its unprecedented six-year ban on her attending.

Following the ruling, Finchley’s Board of Management said that while it had been clear it would not comment while the disciplinary process was ongoing, “now it has been concluded, the board of management will be raising this urgently at our next meeting”.

Pine herself has made it clear in her letter to deputies on Monday that no such apology would be forthcoming.

“I have nothing to apologise for,” she wrote. “For two decades I have defended Israel against the worst antisemites at countless meetings in un-glamorous venues countrywide, one of just a handful of foot soldiers, as well as defending Israel and standing against anti Semites in the press.”

She called the Board officials “Jonny-come-latelys”, adding they were “more interested in mixing with the great and the good, than in grass roots defence of Israel. Indeed, it is they who have brought our organisation into disrepute – recent outrages including the feting of Angela Rayner at a Chanukah reception, which earned them the excoriation of the Jewish press, including, unusually, the United Synagogue President, and the antics of the ‘Kaddish for Hamas’ deputies condemned by Jewish organisations across the globe.

“There was no apology or contrition from the honorary officers for the offence that they caused.”

Pine, who had shared tweets describing Muslims as “the vilest of animals” as well as calling Arabs “so evil”, also launched a personal attack on Board CEO Gillian Merron.

She wrote that the actions against her “have taken place under the direction of a CEO publicly censured for her abuse of the parliamentary expenses system whilst a government junior minister, and who voted for a parliamentary motion to cover up the scandal – which were not revealed to the BoD President who engaged her”.

In her email, Pine wrote: “Expressing opposition to an ideology (such as a religious ideology) does not equate to hatred of the adherents of that religion and was never intended as such.

“The comments were deliberately read as such by those who wished to use it as a pretext to remove me because they find my views inconvenient. Evidently, the Board of Deputies is not a place that tolerates diverse Jewish viewpoints but rather only those acceptable to its staff. In addition, the retweets in question have never been produced at any stage in this process, but that didn’t stop the Board using the allegation of such tweets in its judgement. This entire process has been defamatory and a sham.

“But the Board’s staff would prefer that people like me, who advocate a different approach, be silenced. I doubt I will be the last deputy to be bullied in this fashion.”

She concluded by saying it was not “for the Board of Deputies to decide what Jews can and cannot say. The President has said we must respect each other and our diverse opinions. The contrived case against me, lacking in any evidence, for the purpose of silencing me, stands in direct contradiction to her dictum.”

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