Thank you for your email.
I appreciate the pain and suffering that you feel as a victim of sexual abuse.
Indeed after Limmud 15 we met in London , spent time together and kept in touch.
When you initially emailed me late on 6 January 2018 sending me a statement of myself at Limmud 2015 I was not aware of what had happened.
I attach my response to you sent immediately at 9.14 pm asking for details and offering a meeting.
You had said you were due in London on 13 th March.
Despite my sincere offer to you of a meeting you never took it up.
I was, despite it not being an area of responsibility nor within my role, prepared to and did attend a meeting within Yehudis and Simon Johnson of the JLC. This demonstrates my good faith.
At the end of the meeting I understood from Simon Jewish Women's Aid were conducting a piece of research as to how best the community could support victims of domestic support. I have not heard the outcome yet.
I also then spent time talking to another victim of sexual abuse ( who needs to remain anonymous) as it is of course of great concern to me.
I wanted to help further after the JLC meeting so I arranged a meeting with Shirley Maginley of the NSPCC to express my concern and see what other help could be available. This took place in February 2018.
Shirley explained she had been involved previously and had helped to produce a leaflet for Jewish victims of sexual abuse which had had input from Yehudis.
I was also informed Reshet were appropriate to assist as you will appreciate the Board itself cannot undertake such a service to victims.I also attended the Reshet annual conference.
As I said to you in January I'm very happy to have a meeting with you to discuss all the issues should I be elected as President.
You need to appreciate there are 4 very strong candidates.
I regret I cannot solve or have the power to heal all the wounds and pain that is felt.
I have no record of a June 16 email and respect you are campaigning globally for victims.
All best wishes Marie
Board of Deputies of British Jews
Thanks for your prompt response, Marie.
Unfortunately, your email raises more questions than answers.
Indeed, you asked me to further clarify the Chabad-Torah matter. I provided you with the basics and my contact number and invited you to discuss this with me. Instead, within hours, you issued that damaging public statement. Why would you issue a public statement when you didn’t understand the issue?
I didn’t take you up on your offer to meet with you during my recent mainly personal visit to the UK some two months after your statement because you had still not taken responsibility for your initial statement and you were no longer responding to my emails (I sent you at least two emails that you seemed to ignore, one which invited you and your colleagues to engage with me regarding this issue). So, I’m not sure why you’re raising this here. Despite this being a personal visit, I went out of my way to engage with other important stakeholders, including representatives from the UK Government and the Chief Rabbi’s Office. So, had you bothered to respond, in all likelihood, I would’ve been willing to meet with you. Sadly, like others before you, you chose to completely ignore victims/survivors and their advocates.
You then choose to claim that the issue of child sexual abuse is not within your purview. Let’s be clear, we didn’t nominate you to represent the BOD on this issue. You presented yourself as the contact person. And attending a meeting doesn’t necessarily mean good faith (just like issuing a lovely statement in the media), you may have had an alternative agenda. Regardless, perhaps you can share who from the BOD is responsible for this portfolio?
I can go on and on (including regarding your silly statement about not having the power to heal the wounds of victims – no one sought this from you, but merely to undo the significant damage that you personally caused), but instead will again raise the main point of this, which relates to your damaging statement regarding the Chabad matter.
Clearly your statement was wrong. Withdraw it, unreservedly apologise for it and we can all try to move on.
Alternatively, withdraw your nomination for the position of BOD President.