A library in Tower Hamlets has removed a display marking Holocaust Memorial Day, which made a comparison between the Holocaust and Israel’s actions against Hamas in Gaza.
A display of recommended books related to the Holocaust was surrounded by posters that read "say no more genocide this Holocaust Memorial Day".
Jacob Steinberg, a local resident who was visiting the library with his son, saw the display as he was leaving the Idea Store library on Tuesday.
“I initially thought it was a good display,” Steinberg told the JC. The books displayed included testimonies from Holocaust survivors. When Steinberg saw the sign “Say ‘No more genocide’ this Holocaust Memorial Day – 27th January”, he said, "I couldn’t believe it.”
Astonished, Steinberg alerted the library assistant to the display, which was right next to the help desk. “No one in the library seemed to know who had put the posters up.”
According to Steinberg, the assistant said the sign “was not right” and immediately unlocked the display cabinet to remove the offending material.
In the same council-run library, “Right to Resist” stickers were seen in the toilets.
The widely accepted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that it is antisemitic to compare “contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.”
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, labelled the display “wholly inappropriate.” On X (formally Twitter), Pollock wrote, “Don’t exploit this period of history or abuse the memory of the Holocaust to score your points.”
Tower Hamlets has been lambasted by Jewish residents for their failure to remove Palestinian flags on council property and for not responding to complaints from residents who have reported pro-Hamas “right to resist” stickers that have appeared across the borough.
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets told the JC: “The artwork in question was taken down by a member of staff following a complaint this morning.”