The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins on Thursday night but not in London. Havering Council in east London announced that it will not be displaying a Hanukkah menorah outside its town hall this year to avoid “further inflaming community tensions” (aka vandalism and violence by Jew-hating Muslims).
srael365News (h/t Nita) The decision drew criticism with some claiming it was motivated by anti-Semitism on the council. Havering Council has dismissed any accusations of anti-Semitism as “categorically untrue”, adding that “such statements are likely to incite further unrest in our communities”.
Havering Council’s statement read: “We appreciate this is a hugely sensitive issue but in light of escalating tensions from the conflict in the Middle East, installing the candelabra now will not be without risk to the Council, our partners, staff and local residents.”
The council cited both anti-Semitism and anti-Islamic sentiment (anti-Islamic sentiment that would result from Muslims destroying the menorah, no doubt) as the motive for canceling the Jewish decorations.
“We would also be concerned with any possible vandalism or other action against the installation. Due to an increase in the number of hate crimes in Havering, both towards the Jewish and Muslim communities and after consulting with the Leader of the Council, we believe it would be unwise to move forward with the installation, which could risk further inflaming tensions within our communities.”
The council flew the Israeli flag in solidarity following the heinous terrorist attack against the people of Israel and we continue to stand by our local Jewish communities.”
The beginning of the religious festival on December 7 will be marked with a “temporary instillation and event” which will be immediately
In a letter to the Council leader Ray Morgon, local Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell voiced his “grave concern” at the decision. He said: “Should this be true, this would be a grave insult to the Jewish community in Romford.”
Romford Rabbi Lee Sunderland told Havering Daily: “This is an opportunity to stand up to the hostility that would silence Judaism or any form of diversity and celebrate it to its fullest. This may be a Jewish festival but it is a lesson for the whole world and for every generation. Most especially, please let us celebrate this in public and begin to bring the citizens of Havering together now.”
Anti-Semitic hate crime in the United Kingdom has increased by 1350% since Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack on Israel.