The Jewish Board of Deputies, the representative body for British
Jews, has hired its first professional lobbyist.
Jon Sacker, a campaigns officer at the Royal National Institute for the
Blind, joins the board as director of external issues in May.
The role covers a wide brief from lobbying in the UK and Europe to
helping to develop newly-established communities in central and eastern
The board is also recruiting for a new full-time PR and marketing
The previous incumbent was part-time and, said Sacker: ’concentrated on
doing PR for Israel rather than for the board’.
The moves signal a change from the board’s traditional structure for
handling external relations, via committees drawn from its 350 elected
lay members. Responsibility is now shared with a four-strong external
A former aide to Liberal Democrat MP Paul Tyler, Sacker spent a year as
press and PR officer at the Institute of Jewish Affairs before moving to
the RNIB two years ago.
He joins the board at a time when the split between orthodox and liberal
Jews has become increasingly bitter. Sacker himself comes from the
Asked whether his role would include mediation between the rival
factions, Sacker said: ’we would encourage people to talk’, but declined
to comment on specific moves the board might make.
His main role, he said would be to build or rebuild links with the
He said the board’s main priorities were education, racism, legislation
to outlaw Holocaust denial and the restoration of money confiscated from
victims of the Holocaust.