Hundreds of copies of Jewish News are being snatched from stockists across north London.
The thefts are understood to be in retaliation for Jewish News exposing potentially deadly lockdown breaches in Stamford Hill.
Multiple sources named Reverend Efraim Goldstein, 31, as being behind the campaign. One member of the Stamford Hill community, who asked not to be named, said: “Efraim Goldstein is organising the campaign against the Jewish News, which began after the lockdown weddings investigation.
“He encourages people to go to shops and take stacks of the newspaper away. He says the shops won’t stop stocking the newspaper but they also won’t stop people removing them.” Another source said: “Goldstein’s WhatsApp messages encourage people to take action against the Jewish News. He has two WhatsApp groups, one with more than 1,800 members.”
A third source said: “This is not the first time Goldstein has led a boycott campaign against free speech. He recently called for a boycott of the local Stamford Hill news sheet because he didn’t like an article in it.”
Goldstein claims on social media to have “founded” Shomrim, the Stamford Hill neighbourhood watch group that works with police to uphold law and order. However, the organisation told Jewish News Goldstein “played no part in its launch” and “has never been affiliated in any way”.
Mr Goldstein declined two earlier invitations from Jewish News to comment but has now denied the allegation and launched a legal claim.
The matter has been reported to police and security guards will be placed outside Jewish News stockists this week to prevent further offences.
Two men received suspended prison sentences in 2019 after being convicted of stealing free newspapers at London Bridge Station.
• Have you witnessed copies of Jewish News being unlawfully removed from stockists? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass any relevant information to the police.
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 News also 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.