Secret attempts by the Board of Deputies to infiltrate the far-right following the Battle of Cable Street have been revealed ahead of the organisations 260th anniversary.
The Board of Deputies have been criticised for advising Jews to stay away from trouble during the Battle of Cable Street in 1935, in which Jewish residents and anti-fascists resisted a march through the East End by Oswald Mosley’s Black Shirts.
However, as the Board celebrates its 260th anniversary, historian Daniel Tilles has revealed that, behind the scenes, the organisation made a daring attempt to infiltrate the far-right at the time.
At the organisation’s Sunday’s plenary meeting, Mr Tilles will tell members how the Board worked to successfully infiltrate a number of antisemitic organisations.
Working in secrecy, Board President Neville Laski established a network of informants and moles, beginning in 1936 when, “by devious means”, he recruited an officer within the British Union of Fascists’ (BUF) headquarters.
‘Captain X’, as he was referred to, passed on details of upcoming Blackshirt meetings to the Board of Deputies, allowing the organisation to plan countermeasures as well as collect the names of BUF members, which were then sent to the police.
Following this success, former Special Branch advisor, Cecil Pavey, under a secret identity, penetrated other groups of Britain’s radical-right on behalf of the Board of Deputies. One of the biggest successes for the Board was when Pavey integrated himself into the Nordic League, a pro-Nazi, anti-Jewish body headed by the Conservative MP Archibald Ramsey.
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.