Despite the revelation that a ‘Beware of Jews’ sign removed from a lamppost in Stamford Hill was part of an art project, Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE has insisted that it is still anti-Semitic.
The sign was found on Monday and removed by police on Wednesday morning after an outraged response by the Jewish neighbourhood safety group, Shomrim.
On Wednesday afternoon, Parisian artist Franck Allais admitted that the red triangle sign depicting a silhouette of a man wearing a traditional Jewish Fedora, was part of his art project, which involves numerous other triangular signs around London. He has since apologised for causing offence.
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But Rabbi Gluck, the president of the Stamford Hill branch of Shomrim, told the Hackney Post: “I still think this is a very serious thing. People need to think more carefully about the effects that their so-called art projects can have on a community.”
Gluck, who also founded the Muslim-Jewish Forum, added: “Of course the intentions of this artist matter, but the consequences are more important. We spoke with the police this morning, and we’re satisfied that the sign has been removed and will be investigated through the usual channels.”
Members of Stamford Hill’s Hasidic Jewish community, the largest in Europe, said that the community was too strong to be threatened by this sign.
Abraham David, who lives in Stamford Hill, told the Hackney Post: “I don’t feel threatened, the sign does not bother me and I generally feel safe in the community.”
Samuel Shraker, also from the area, agreed, saying: “I personally don’t find the art project offensive, I thought someone did it as a joke.” However, he also acknowledged: “If it caused offence, then it shouldn’t have been done.”
Another resident, David Smalls, stated: “Personally I don’t feel bothered by it. We are very safe, I don’t think we should make a big deal out of it, because it’s not real. London is a multi-cultural society which is inclusive of all religions.”
Additional reporting by Lilufa Uddin.