Council postpones Jewish Living Experience exhibition citing ‘safety’ fears

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Council postpones Jewish Living Experience exhibition citing ‘safety’ fears

Hounslow Council in west London decides not to go ahead with exhibition of Jewish life citing 'significant heightened risk to personal safety'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jewish Living Experience
Jewish Living Experience

A west London council has sparked anger after calling off a planned exhibition about Jewish culture at its headquarters, citing  a “significant heightened risk to personal safety”.

The Jewish Living Experience exhibition, has been run by the Board of Deputies for 40 years and includes 15 educational banners and items such as a shofar horn and Jewish bread to teach visitors about communal traditions and festivals.

The exhibition had been planned to take place between November 20 and December 1 at Hounslow House, the council’s headquarters in west London.

But The Times reports that a decision was made on November 16th  to postpone the exhibition was taken by the council.

A spokeswoman for Hounslow council said: “Hounslow is one of London’s most diverse boroughs and we cherish and celebrate this diversity. The decision to postpone the two-week exhibition, due to take place in a public space, was not taken lightly and we appreciate the disappointment and inconvenience it caused.

“However, due to the current situation in Gaza and associated increase in reported hate crimes, there is significant heightened risk to personal safety across London and consideration of this had to take precedence.”

The Board said the decision was “baffling” and added: “The Jewish community will not accept being marginalised.”

Edwin Shuker, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, said: “The Jewish Living Experience exhibition is carefully designed to inform and educate non-Jewish children and adults about our way of life.

“At a time of hugely increased antisemitism around the country it is baffling that any council would choose to cancel an exhibition with the potential to provide context and understanding. We have asked for a meeting and been refused. T

“The Jewish community will not accept being marginalised.”

Last week Havering Council was forced into a U-turn after announcing that it would be cancelling the lighting of a menorah installation at the town hall.

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