Yad Vashem has said it was "disappointed" an interfaith Shoah exhibition at a Golders Green mosque – to which it contributed – was cancelled in the face of pressure over the Israeli Holocaust memorial's involvement.
The Love Your Neighbour event, which focuses on Albanian Muslims’ efforts to save Jews in the Holocaust, was postponed indefinitely in the wake of calls for a boycott.
Muslim news and opinion site 5Pillars opposed the exhibition’s ties to Yad Vashem, which it described as a “Holocaust museum based in Jerusalem which is partially financed by and supports the state of Israel”.
1. This is a statement from the Al Rasool Al Adham centre on cancelling the Yad Vashem event. pic.twitter.com/5MWrXACXEO— Roshan M Salih (@RmSalih) January 3, 2019
On Tuesday, Yad Vashem criticised “external pressures” which led to the cancellation of the event, insisting it is a “non-political institution”.
Simon Bentley, who chairs the Yad Vashem UK Foundation, said it was "disappointed that this innovative and educational Yad Vashem produced mobile exhibition will not be part of the inter-faith initiative planned at the Centre for Islamic Understanding at the Hippodrome in Golders Green".
He added: “Yad Vashem, as the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, is a non-political institution which is committed to imparting the memory of the victims and the events of the Shoah in order to accurately document one of the darkest chapters in the history of humanity and to keep the memory of the Holocaust relevant.”
The exhibition was due to be shown between 4pm and 6pm on Sunday at the Centre for Islamic Understanding at the Hussainiyat Al-Rasool Al-Adham mosque at the Golders Green Hippodrome.
After it was called off, the mosque said it “didn’t know of the international connections some organisations had or of the political affiliations … Once that was made clear the event was cancelled”.
The Islamic Centre has been approached for comment.
Writing for the JC, Faith Matters founder Fiyza Mughal said: "Who exactly are those seeking boycotts against Yad Vashem speaking for?
"They are not speaking for the Palestinians. They are also not speaking up for Muslims.
"They are speaking up for those who want to keep the status quo going, the very status quo that throttled the life and voices out of the stories of Muslims who saved Jews."