'Liberation' text is dropped after protest
A Palestinian “liberation theology” reading was removed from a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in South Shields following a complaint from Tyneside Jewish leaders.
Eric Joseph, the joint president of the Representative Council of North East Jewry, was offended by the inclusion of the reading from the Jerusalem-based Sabeel organisation.
“I believe that this is the first time that someone from the Jewish community has been at a South Shields HMD ceremony,” he said.
“I asked the organisers to remove it. They immediately understood and took it out. It was an innocent mistake.”
When rep council colleagues arrived at Tuesday’s event at South Shields Town Hall, “they concurred with what I had done”.
Mr Joseph attributed the problem to there being “no Jewish input into South Tyneside’s HMD events” — a situation he hoped to rectify.
“We are a small community. The rep council is trying to cover a wide area, from Sunderland to Berwick. The Sunderland community has vanished, so there is nobody from the area to attend the ceremony.”
South Tyneside deputy leader Councillor Alan Kerr said that, after hearing the concerns of Jewish community representatives, “the item was withdrawn immediately. There wasn’t a problem.”