Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:05 pm Post subject: JEWS ONLY PUBLIC HOUSING IN LONDON GETS COURT BACKING
|UK: Jews-only Housing in London Gets Court Backing
TNO STAFF — FEBRUARY 10, 2019
Jews in Britain have won court approval for public housing developments to be made available exclusively to Jews, even if non-Jews in the same area have an equal or greater need for accommodation, the Evening Standard newspaper has revealed.
According to the report, titled “Orthodox Jewish housing association’s relief after discrimination case victory,” the chief executive of an Orthodox Jewish housing association has said she “never gave a moment’s thought” to the possibility of losing a discrimation [sic] case launched against it.
Agudas Israel Housing Association, who are based in Stamford Hill, were accused of breaking equality laws after listing a property which was specifically for Jews only.
A family who wanted to bid on new flats were told they were unable to because consideration was only given to Orthodox Jews.
They took the housing association to court on the grounds that housing should be provided on the basis of need, not religion. They argued that it was “direct discrimination of a very scarce resource, public housing” and that the case “concerned the question of whether or not it is lawful for housing to be allocated on the basis of religion, not need.”
Chief executive of the housing association, Ita Symons, said she “never gave a moment’s thought” to the idea of the organisation losing their battle.
Symons said: “Our lawyers said we had a clear case, because of two things – we are a charity, and the community has such particular needs that it is proportionate that we use the development for our needs.
“Luckily we were successful, because it means that we can continue our work and continue to fulfil our mission statement. I never gave a moment’s thought to the idea of us losing, because that would have been awful, it would have been unbearable.
“I don’t understand why they would want to live in this project – there are Hasidic men, with their sidelocks and beards, speaking in a language which they wouldn’t understand. Why would you want to enter such a different culture?
“Nothing like this has happened before, and I’ve been doing this for over 30 years.”
She added that her charity is now relocating families to Canvey Island, where an Orthodox community was established in 2017, and Manchester.
Solicitor Rebekah Carrier, from Hopkin Murray Beskine, represented the family who launched the challenge in court. She said: “This case arose when we saw advertisements for a newly built block of flats on the website Hackney Council use to decide who gets social housing which said: ‘consideration to the Orthodox Jewish Community only.’
“This was very shocking because it meant that my clients, whose need for safe and appropriate housing was so overwhelming that Hackney Council had given them the highest possible priority for a new home, would be overlooked for this property and others like them in favour of Orthodox Jewish applicants.
“This is direct discrimination in the allocation of a very scarce resource, public housing. There can be no doubt at all that there are high levels of poverty, overcrowding and housing need in the Orthodox Jewish community, in the same way that other communities across Hackney are desperately in need of affordable safe housing.
“The law requires Hackney to have a set of rules which decide who gets social housing. Hackney has carefully crafted scheme for deciding who gets housing, and it is based on an assessment of need.
“This case concerned the question of whether or not it is lawful for housing to be allocated on the basis of religion, not need.”
“The Claimants are very disappointed by the judgment, and we think the Court made a number of errors in the way it approached the case. We intend to appeal against this judgment.
“At the heart of my client’s case is the belief that housing should be allocated to those who need it most, and not on the basis of religion or race.”
It of course requires no imagination to predict what a court’s decision would have been had a public housing charity in Britain openly advertised its residential accommodation as being for “non-Jews” only.