Plaque removed over anti-Israel attacks

Plaque removed over anti-Israel attacks

An Ulster History Circle blue plaque marking the north Belfast birthplace of a former President of Israel has been removed.

It was erected on the property at Cliftonpark Avenue in 1998 to mark Chaim Herzog's birth there in 1918. But, following a number of anti-Israel attacks on the property, it has been taken down.Belfast DUP Councillor, Alderman Brian Kingston, said: "The Ulster History Circle and the community group occupying the building agreed last week that due to an upsurge in attacks against the plaque and the building it was necessary to remove the plaque for the foreseeable future.CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"Attacks have included the scrawling of anti-Israeli graffiti on the building and items being thrown at the plaque and the house. Recently some youths were stopped in the process of trying to remove the plaque with a crowbar. CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"Out of concern for staff and for residents living in neighbouring houses, the community group and the Ulster History Circle have decided that it was best to remove the plaque for the foreseeable future, and it was removed at the end of last week."Alderman Kingston said the removal of the plaque was "a shocking indication of the level of tension which currently exists in parts of Belfast.""It is disgraceful that this item of Belfast history has being repeatedly targeted due to its connection with Israel. This should serve as a wake-up call for the public to the dangerous level of intolerance and the anti-Israeli mentality which some are encouraging. CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"I will be maintaining a close interest in this matter and I hope that at the earliest opportunity it will be possible to restore this plaque to its rightful place."The Ulster Unionist Party's west Belfast spokesperson, Bill Manwaring, has condemned those behind the attacks which led to the plaque being taken down.CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)Mr Manwaring said that it was a damning indictment of the intolerance within some elements of our society.He added: "If those that forced its removal are not trying to rewrite history, then they are demonstrating their ignorance of it.CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"Those that have been engaged in this have demonstrated incredible intolerance. Belfast has a shared history and we are meant to be building a shared society. These actions demonstrate the opposite.CHAR(13) + CHAR(10) CHAR(13) + CHAR(10)"Given the attack on the synagogue last month and now this, it shows that some people's hearts and minds remain full of hatred."


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