A new national memorial to remember six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust would “interrupt substantially” the view of the Houses of Parliament, according to an official advisory body to UNESCO.
The UK branch of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which is UNESCO’s adviser on world heritage sites, wrote to Westminster Council opposing the application to build the memorial.
It raised concern that one million visitors per year are expected to visit the Holocaust memorial and claimed that constructing it there “would have a massive visual impact”, even though the development will comprise of only seven percent of the park with the education centre being underground.
The proposed location of the planned Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Palace of Westminster, has been supported by more than 170 MPs and Peers.
CUFI launched a petition earlier this week in support of the memorial after thousands signed an online petition against.
The CUFI petition raises questions to those who oppose this construction on an environmental level, saying:
- Is 7% of Victoria Tower Gardens worth more than honouring the 6 million Jews who were brutally murdered during the Holocaust?
- Is preserving a small part of a green space worth more than educating future generations against the hatred of anti-Semitism?
Shamefully, some of the opposition to this memorial appears to be far more sinister.
Whilst many genuinely oppose the construction without any discriminatory motives, CUFI has seen evidence of anti-Semitism from some opponents.
This includes conspiracy theories about Jews trying to claim the site and impose their will on the government, which is completely false. Others oppose the monument because of “politics” or even “Palestine”, which should not even be a factor. One conspiracy seen by CUFI claimed the memorial was to spread “Zionist propaganda”. Some of the wording chosen to oppose the memorial also raises questions.
The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation states: “The proposals have been developed with great sensitivity to the existing context and character of the Gardens – we will retain 93 per cent of the open public space, improve views over Parliament and the river Thames and provide a range of accessible seating and a new boardwalk along the embankment.”