Plaque removed over anti-Israel attacks

Published Wednesday, 13 August 2014
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An Ulster History Circle blue plaque marking the north Belfast birthplace of a former President of Israel has been removed.

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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.

"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.

"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.

"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.

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.

"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.

"Given the attack on the synagogue last month and now this, it shows that some people's hearts and minds remain full of hatred."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
KMC in Belfast wrote (168 days ago):
Attacks on Jewish people are anti-Semitic and should be condemned and dealt with just like any other hate crimes like racism, sectarianism, homophobia. There is no mention on this report of anti-Jewish graffiti or attacks on Jewish property. Attacks on symbols of the Israeli state are not Antisemitism, but reflect the generally held, world-wide sentiment towards what Israel is doing in Gaza. Which is nothing short of Genocide. Ethnic cleansing. A murderous land grab. Our historic Jewish community is something to be proud of. Our ties to a rogue state are not
moky in Ireland wrote (169 days ago):
we must show the people of Gaza and greater Palestine that the people of Ireland even if no one else does feels their pain and wants to see their struggle recognised and eventually realised.
Frank Fisher in U.K. wrote (169 days ago):
Dear Commentators, Your responses seem shallow. Of course no one agrees with racism, but with the one sided conflict in Gaza, continuing ad infinitum, with the Israeli side unwilling to speak face to face with Hamas, frustrations arise around the world. The British government realised a long time ago that the way to tackle terrorism in Ireland was to actually speak with the I.R.A. The longer the "me no speak to someone we labelled terrorist" goes on this sad story continues. Secondly, do the ordinary people of Gaza not have a moral case against Israel's endless brutality against them. Why are factions driven to desperate measures when politics ignores their justifiable pleas. Why is history littered with similar events. The Americans overthrew their British persecutors using terrorism. The Israeli state came about through terrorism. Always the last resort of those with no power to right wrongs.
Ady in Cookstown wrote (169 days ago):
@ mooti..."brave little Israel"??? With the most modern diabolical weaponry in the world (supplied by the biggest war mongering countries in the world) to wipe out women ,children and pensioners ? At least when HAMAS "take on" Israel they take on their army ! As for "rockets", we all know they are little more than large fireworks, David and Goliath in role reversal !
Canice in Derry wrote (170 days ago):
These attacks are a reaction to what appears to be war crimes perpetrated by the Israeli state in Palestine: The state of Israel defended at all costs - legacy of western guilt over Nazi war crimes and the subsequent partition of Palestine. Don't mention partition!
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