Shul plaque designed by Martin Rowson as an act of ‘repentance’ after ‘antisemitic’ image

Martin Rowson was criticised for his ‘antisemitic’ picture of BBC chairman Richard Sharp and wants to show remorse to the Jewish community


Maidenhead Synagogue has unveiled a plaque for King Charles which was designed as an act of “hope and repentance” by Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, the artist behind an ‘antisemitic’ image of the former BBC chairman Richard Sharp.

The plaque was paid for by Martin Rowson who was widely criticised for what appeared to be a highly anti-semitic cartoon in The Guardian in May 2023.

He has since expressed his horror at the offense he had caused in what he said was an ‘appalling and wholly unintended blunder.’

According to Maidenhead Rabbi Jonathan Romain, Rowson also sought out practical ways in which he could tangibly show his remorse to the Jewish community.

He explained: “This led to him using his artistic skills to fashion the plaque.

Commenting on the plaque’s installation, Rowson said: “It means I can look myself in the mirror again.”

Rabbi Romain said: “If we take repentance for ourselves at Yom Kippur seriously, then it means we have to allow others to do so too.

“Martin made a mistake and we are happy to help him turn that hurt into a positive contribution. In the meantime: Long live the King."

The plaque was commissioned shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth, and was only completed in the week when the King’s cancer was revealed, leading to a major dilemma for Rabbi Romain.

“We did wonder”, he explained, “whether it would be better to wait and see what his prognosis was before putting up the plaque, rather than, if the news was bad, having to take it down again not long afterward; but we decided to press ahead as an act of faith and hope that he will continue to reign over us for many years to come.”

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