Photo Credit: Itzik Bellenitzki/TPS

Westminster Council is set to deny permission for building a multi-million dollar Holocaust memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens, near Great Britain’s Parliament.

The ambitious project was proposed by then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015, and former Prime Minister Theresa May allocated $30 million of government funding for it.

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However, local residents, the Royal Parks, Historic England, and UNESCO all complained that the scheme would compromise the area’s heritage and landscape.

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl warned that rejecting the plans would bring “deep international shame.” She said, “At a time when anti-Semitic incidents are at an all-time high, rejecting this vital memorial to Holocaust victims would send entirely the wrong signal to society.”

But Jewish Baroness Deech said, “Public money allocated to the memorial could be better spent in improving Holocaust education and recording memories.” She added, “It is such a slur to accuse anyone who opposes that design and that location of being anti-Jewish and opposing remembrance of the Holocaust.”

 

Labour Loses 100 Members a Day

The Labour Party has lost members at a rate of more than 100 day over the past year, partly because of anti-Semitism within its ranks.

In related news, Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, attacked the Scottish Labour Party this week for its attitude toward anti-Semitism after the party told The Herald that last month’s BBC Panorama program on anti-Semitism was not “fair and balanced.”

Borowski said, “This recent statement demonstrates that there is still much work to be done before Scottish Labour truly understands the issue of anti-Jewish hatred.”

 

Ofsted Not Satisfied With Jewish School’s Curriculum

Stamford Hill’s Yesodey Hatorah School is still failing Ofsted requirements because it is failing to teach about gender reassignment and orientation. However, the latest inspection found that the school did “actively promote the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law and individual liberty.”

The school’s 700 pupils also “develop mutual respect and tolerance for those of different faiths and beliefs,” according to the report.

Rabbi Avrohom Pinter of Yesodey Hatorah School Senior Girls’ School told The Jewish Press, “The school has done well except on areas where there are fundamental differences between us and Ofsted. It is a great pity that that is not being recognized.”

 

Foreign Secretary: Jewish Building in West Bank Is Illegal

New Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has criticized Israel for approving thousands of new settlement units in the West Bank.

Raab, whose father was a Jewish Czech refugee, said the settlement expansion was “contrary to international law.” Raab studied for a summer at Birzeit University in Israel’s West Bank and worked for a Palestinian negotiator.

 

Government Offers Legal Aid to Palestinians

The British government is funding legal aid to Palestinians whose homes are at risk of demolition. The legal aid settlement monitoring program is partly funded by the UK’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said, “The UK is a strong friend of Israel, but our concerns about demolitions and evictions of Palestinians from their homes are long-standing and well-known.”

 

Anti-Semitism Hurt G. K. Chesterton’s Sainthood Chances

British writer G. K. Chesterton has been rejected for eligibility for sainthood in part because of the Catholic author’s anti-Semitic views.

In his Short History of England, Chesterton described medieval English Jews as the “capitalists of their age,” whose expulsion by King Edward I was the act of a “tender father of their people.” In The New Jerusalem, Chesterton said that Jews could never be loyal to their countries of residence.

The decision against Chesterton’s sainthood was made by Peter Doyle, Bishop of Northampton, after a year’s investigation.

 

Jewish Sculptor To Receive Gravestone – 100 Years Later

More than 100 years after his death, the grave of Liverpool Jewish sculptor Robert Blackburn is finally to be marked.

Blackburn exhibited his works at several galleries in Liverpool, where he also worked on the city’s Queen Victoria Monument. He converted to Judaism in 1906 after marrying his Jewish wife Bessie. He died in 1910, aged 30, from a heart infection. His family was too poor to afford a gravestone.

His 70-year-old grandson Keith Blackburn located his grave with the help of Liverpool Jewish archivist Arnold Lewis. Blackburn said Kaddish for the first time for his grandfather when he first visited the grave in March. The stone-setting is set to be held on Sunday.

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