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SCoJeC Chair, Dr Walter Sneader said that he doubted that any other Jewish community has found itself so deeply involved with the day to day work of its country's government. He told the AGM that in the twelve months since taking up the Chair of the Council he has been particularly impressed by the close relationship developed by Leah Granat and Ephraim Borowski with the Scottish Government, Parliament, and other civic bodies. He drew attention to the wide range of activities described in the Current Activities Report, and in particular to SCoJeC's efforts to bring together Jewish people from outside the main conurbations.
Walter thanked those who have given their time and expertise to SCoJeC, especially the outgoing Hon Treasurer, Daniel Clapham, who had stood down due to ill health, and concluded by saying that he has found his involvement with SCoJeC to be at different times interesting, challenging, irritating or enjoyable.
SCoJeC Director, Ephraim Borowski, highlighted some of SCoJeC's activities during the past year, in particular the Interfaith Pilgrimage, MEMO and MEMO+, and the outreach project (see Four Corners 19). However, SCoJeC has also had to cope with the fallout from the war in Gaza which resulted in a significant peak in antisemitic activity - 16 events in January 2009 compared with only 10 in the whole of 2008. The Scottish Government and police had asked SCoJeC to brief them about this and we are assured of their concern. However, the increased stridency of anti-Israel rhetoric that either crosses into explicit antisemitism, or at least creates the climate for others to do so, continues to cause disquiet.
Introducing their report on current issues, Ephraim and Leah commented on the importance of reflecting all views in the community when SCoJeC responds to consultations. They therefore consult widely before preparing a response, and then circulate a draft for comment. Where there is a division of opinion, SCoJeC either does not submit a response or else makes this clear. They thanked all who assist with this process, often against very tight deadlines.
The meeting agreed to establish a panel of Consultants, including former Chairs, John Cosgrove and Kenneth Collins, to provide the Council with expert advice on a wide range of subjects. A number of new members were also welcomed at the meeting: Gillian Raab, Chair of the Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community who takes over from Catherine Lyons as one of the Edinburgh representatives, and Nicola Livingston, Neil Livingstone, and Simon Dover who were co-opted to the Council.
The following were elected as office-bearers: