More than 450 guests attended the Board of Deputies President’s Dinner in London last night to hear the head of the International Rescue Committee David Miliband speak about the responsibility “to engage, not to ignore” antisemitism.
New Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev also addressed the dinner in his first speech since taking over the role.
Addressing guests at the central London venue, Mr Miliband said : “Where better than the Board of Deputies to come to talk about those who are fleeing and rebuilding around the world today, than to a community who once knew the perils of flight and have now – as you can see around you – rebuilt in such extraordinary ways? This is what I want to say to you tonight.
He added: “Antisemitism is not and should not be the Jewish community’s fight alone. It is everyone’s fight – everyone’s responsibility. Because it is an assault on all humanity, it is for all humanity to withstand. And in doing so, we have a responsibility to cross party loyalties, cross religious faith lines and cross ethnic backgrounds.
“And this is to me so important because there is a wider lesson as well. Just as the fight against antisemitism is not just for the Jewish community, so the Jewish community has something to contribute to the fight against all forms of discrimination.”
He also paid tribute to the Board’s chief executive, Gillian Merron, a former colleague at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: “I have to tell you she was an insightful, effective, determined Minister and I am really thrilled Gillian that you are proving to be an extraordinary Chief Executive of the Board of Deputies, I cannot think of a better place for you to be leading today.”
Chief Executive Gillan Merron said: “We were delighted to be supported by a record number of guests. There was a real buzz in the room and the occasion was a true reflection of the standing of the Board of Deputies today. David Miliband is by any standard a major figure on the world stage and his words were both inspiring and timely.”
At the dinner, chaired by Board Vice President Sheila Gewolb, a film highlighting the Board’s work was shown to guests. European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor was among the speakers as was Board President Jonathan Arkush.