Sir Gerald Ronson
It really isn’t very often that Searchlight feels moved to congratulate someone upon receiving a knighthood, but we happily make an exception in the case of Sir Gerald Ronson, recently honoured for his services to philanthropy and the Jewish community.
Gerald is, of course, best known as a hugely successful property developer, businessman and philanthropist. Less well known is his record as a staunch anti-fascist. As a young man he was a member of the 62 Group, known for his fearless attitude and imposing physical presence, and as its chief fundraiser.
But Gerald came to believe that there were limitations to the approach adopted in those early days and that something more sophisticated and versatile was called for. So, in 1965, he set up the Jewish Aid Committee of Britain (JACOB) to work more broadly for improved race relations legislation and the like.
It was members of JACOB who took the historic decision in 1965 to set up Searchlight as a quarterly newspaper. Only four issues appeared in that format however, and it was discontinued in 1967 until its relaunch as a magazine in 1975, since when it has been published continuously.
Gerald was centrally involved, in 1994, in setting up the Community Security Trust. Today, this is a multi-million-pound charitable organisation providing security and protection to the Jewish community, its schools and synagogues, with Gerald at its head. He has raised over £100 million for charity and personally donated over £30 million himself. He is also the Chair of the Holocaust Memorial Trust.
For Gerald Ronson, the fight against fascism and racism goes back a long way and has been a lifelong commitment.
Our warmest congratulations, Sir Gerald Ronson.