Charity Commission investigating JNF UK after chair’s comments on Muslims

The Charity Commission has opened a regulatory case into the JNF UK charity in response to concerns raised about comments made by chair Samuel Hayek.

On Thursday a spokesperson for the watchdog confirmed it had contacted JNF UK trustees “requesting information” before considering whether “regulatory action is required.”

Jewish News understands the Commission received several complaints from both Jewish and Muslim organisations after we ran an interview with Hayek last month in which he claimed Jews had no future in this country as a result of Muslim immigration.

In a statement the Commission confirmed:”The Commission has opened a regulatory case into the Charity to assess the concerns raised with us.

“The Commission has contacted the Charity’s trustees requesting information; once received the Commission will consider whether any regulatory action is required. We cannot comment further whilst our case is ongoing”.

Jewish News interviewed Hayek last month to clarify comments he had made in an earlier Jerusalem Post interview in which he said Jews have “no future” in England.

Comparing the UK to France he said issues around Muslim immigration meantthat “maybe in 10 years, maybe less, who knows, Jews will not be able to live in the UK. I don’t think anybody can stop it.”

He also said that in “Islam there is not a term for ‘peace’”and added that Muslims arriving in the UK “create their own ghettos, their own education, their own process of thinking.”

Hayek also used far-right Great Replacement Theory ideology to suggest that the “white” Christian majority in the west was shrinking.

The JNF UK’s trustees now contacted by the charity watchdog include Gary Mond, an Honorary Officer at the Board of Deputies, who has been asked to step down from his duties at the organisation while they investigate allegations of anti-Muslim sentiment.

Other JNF UK trustees include Gideon Falter, who is also chief executive with the Campaign Against Antisemitism and Alan Mendoza, of the Henry Jackson Society right-wing think than.

Howard Wayne, Belinda Oakland, Laurence Julius, Hayek himself, Timothy Kendal, Marilyn Waisman and Murray Lee are the other trutees.

On Wednesday evening, the Board’s Communities and Education Division met to discuss two resolutions aimed at forcing the communal organisation to severe ties with the charity while Hayek remains chair.

At a meeting in which vice-chair Andrew Gilbert stood in for usual chair Mond, who recognised he could not oversee the discussion, both resolutions were passed with a clear majority of those in attendance.

It means the motions, proposed by in-coming Union of Jewish Students chair Joel Rosen, will now be voted on at full Board plenary.

Meanwhile a message sent to all Deputies on Wednesday evening on behalf of the honorary officers stressed anger over a series of social media posts sent by Mond – including two in support for the far-right activist Pamela Geller.

Gary Mond

The emailed message added the Board was committed to “fostering strong and positive relations between Jews and Muslims.’

Current President Marie van der Zyl has made expressing solidarity with the Muslim community a feature of her presidency.

Both herself, former JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein and Mark Gardner at the CST were quick to condemn Hayek’s comments on Muslims and on the future of Jews in this country.

Comparing the UK to France he said issues around Muslim immigration meant that “maybe in 10 years, maybe less, who knows, Jews will not be able to live in the UK. I don’t think anybody can stop it.”

He also said that in “Islam there is not a term for ‘peace’” and added that Muslims arriving in the UK ” create their own ghettos, their own education, their own process of thinking.”

When challenged that his remarks about Muslims were the same insults dished out to Jewish immigrants, Hayek said: “The Jews don’t want to kill anybody..”

In further hugely controversial remarks he said: “It was a process, the process is the white Christian majority is shrinking. It shrinks to a degree where there is a point it cannot protect itself anymore. “