Jonathan Alexander Metliss

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Jonathan Alexander Metliss (born 12 June 1949) is a British corporate lawyer and Zionist activist. He is a trustee of the neoconservative think-tank the Henry Jackson Society, [1] a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, an executive of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre and trustee (in 2012) of Weizmann UK and committee member of Technion UK in (2013-5).

Education and career

Metliss is a solicitor who specialises in corporate finance and take-overs and mergers, fund raisings, joint ventures and Stock Exchange issues. [2] He graduated from the University of Southampton in 1970 and qualified as a solicitor in October 1973. He joined Nabarro Nathanson before becoming a merchant banker with Capel Court Corporation in Sydney. [3] In 1978 he returned to London and joined Berwin Leighton as an assistant solicitor. In 1982 when Stanley J. Berwin, one of the partners of Berwin Leighton, left to found his own firm SJ Berwin, Metliss became a founder member. He served as senior corporate finance partner and head of the firm's Sports Business Group until 2003 when he became a consultant to the firm. [4] In October 2008 he joined Davenport Lyons as a partner in the Corporate Department. [5]

He has also been involved in a number of business corporations. He has worked as a consultant to Shore Capital Group plc and Structadene Ltd and a director of London Freeholds plc and Interlaw Ltd. [6]

Private health care lobbying

Metliss has been romantically linked with Martha Greene, an aide to Cherie Blair. In 2006 the Daily Mail revealed that an intervention by Cherie Blair led to a meeting being arranged between Tony Blair's chief adviser on health Paul Corrigan and Harry Hyman, head of Nexus Healthcare. Metliss was a director of Nexus Healthcare and also attended the June 2006 meeting which emails showed was arranged by Martha Greene. Harry Hyman subsequently emailed Paul Corrigan saying: 'I thought it was a more than useful chat and, hopefully, Nexus can be of some assistance to you in your various activities in the health sector.' [7]

Metliss was at that time also a board member of General Medical Clinics plc which was awarded an £8million contract to operate the country's first privately-run NHS walk-in centre. [8]

Israel and Zionism

Metliss's entry in Debrett's People of Today notes his involvement in a number of Jewish organisations including several Zionist groups and organisations affiliated to the academic and business communities in Israel.

As at 7 September 2010 Debrett's listed him as a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, an executive of the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM), a joint secretary and executive member of the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism and a member of the Inter-Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism (which perhaps should refer to the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism).

Debrett's also lists Metliss as a member of the Executive of the Israeli British Business Council; a director and member of the Executive of the British-Israel Chamber of Commerce; a director of the Weizmann Institute Foundation and a vice-chairman of the Friends of the Weizmann Institute (UK) – both of which are connected to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel; a chairman of the British Friends of Haifa University; a member of the Advisory Board of Tel Aviv University Business School and the Board of Governors of Haifa University. [9]

He is also vice president of the Commonwwealth Jewish Council, a member of the Advisory Board of Goldrock Investments - an Israeli fund investing in pre-IPO situations - [10] and according to the Charity Commission is a trustee of the British Friends of Yad Vashem – Israel's official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. [11]

Critic of Luciana Berger

Metlis was the subject of complaints during the 2019 election:

A top corporate lawyer is facing claims that he burst into Luciana Berger’s office and tore campaign posters off the windows while shouting abuse about her for opposing the Conservative Mike Freer. Jonathan Metliss, chairman of business law firm Axiom Stone and a member of the Board of Deputies defence committee, stormed into the offices of the Liberal Democrat candidate for Finchley and Golders Green on Friday afternoon.
According to multiple sources who have spoken to the JC, he branded Ms Berger “evil” and a “disgrace” for standing as a parliamentary candidate and also made further crude allegations about her. Apparently unable to control his anger Mr Metliss, who is chairman of the anti-football racism charity Action against Discrimination, then shocked Lib Dem volunteers working in the office by tearing campaign posters featuring Ms Berger off a window.
A spokesperson for Ms Berger, who repeatedly faced threats towards her during her time as a Labour MP, confirmed the incident had been reported to the parliamentary police.
One eyewitness told the JC: “It was shortly before Shabbat because I was getting ready to go to Shul. Jonathan Metliss just launched into the tirade against Luciana. He accused her of being evil, and there was some sort of reference to her personal life. He then added she was a disgrace and that by standing in Finchley against Freer she was allowing Corbyn to become Prime Minister. He then pulled a poster off of the front window of the premises which had Luciana’s picture on.He carried on tearing off leaflets from the walls. All of this was done in front of the campaign team, most of them are volunteers. Then he just stormed out.”...
Another witness told the JC: “It was quite horrible to see. This man in his 50s, who I was later told was Jonathan Metliss, just started hurling abuse about Luciana. There was real venom and hatred in his language."...
Mr Metliss has been a member of the Westminster Conservative Association and on the executive of the Conservative Friends of Israel group... Mr Metliss was once a close friend of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie who arranged a meeting between the then Labour leader’s chief adviser on health and Nexus Healthcare.
In September Mr Metliss was appointed chairman of business law firm Axiom Stone. In his role with the AAD football charity he began a joint campaign with the Board of Deputies over antisemitic chants from fans.
When contacted by the JC and asked about the incident, Mr Metliss said: “I have no comment.” He later issued a statement saying: "Whilst I acknowledge that my outburst was ill-judged, nobody was harmed or threatened and save for a torn poster, no damage was caused. I have unreservedly apologised for any distress that I caused."... He also claimed that he had no idea when he entered the office that it was the LibDem campaign HQ.[12]

Other interests

In 2001 Metliss was appointed an advisory member of UK Trade and Investment - the Government organisation which promotes overseas trade and foreign direct investment - and he was also appointed a member of the Government's Working Group on Football Disorder. He is a director of the Southern Africa Business Association, a member of the Committee on South African Trade, the Hong Kong UK Business Forum, the Parkes Centre Development Board, University of Southampton, and the Advisory Group of the football anti-racism group Kick It Out. [13]

Affiliations

Antisemitism Policy Trust - former director | Action Against Discrimination

Notes

  1. Charity Commission, The Henry Jackson Society for Democratic Geopolitics > Contact and trustees [Accessed 8 September 2010]
  2. Sapphire Partners, Advisory Board [Accessed 8 September 2010]
  3. PDF Copy of Davenportlyons.com, About us > Our people > Jonathan Metliss [Created 7 September 2010]
  4. PDF Copy of Davenportlyons.com, About us > Our people > Jonathan Metliss [Created 7 September 2010]; Debrett's People of Today, Jonathan Alexander Metliss [Accessed 7 September 2010]
  5. PDF Copy of Davenportlyons.com, About us > Our people > Jonathan Metliss [Created 7 September 2010]
  6. Debrett's People of Today, Jonathan Alexander Metliss [Accessed 7 September 2010]
  7. Benedict Brogan, 'Cherie 'the No10 fixer' for private health boss', Daily Mail, 17 July 2006; p.30
  8. Gordon Rayner, 'THE WOMAN THE BLAIRS CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT', Daily Mail, 22 July 2006; p.34
  9. Debrett's People of Today, Jonathan Alexander Metliss [Accessed 7 September 2010]
  10. Sapphire Partners, Advisory Board [Accessed 8 September 2010]
  11. Charity Commission, British Friends of Yad Vashem > Contact and trustees [Accessed 7 September 2010]
  12. Lee Harpin Police called after Tory-supporting lawyer bursts into Lib Dem office and launches tirade against Luciana Berger The JC, November 11, 2019.
  13. Debrett's People of Today, Jonathan Alexander Metliss [Accessed 7 September 2010]