For the JC July 15 2022
Philanthropist Sir Lloyd Dorfman has condemned Jewish critics of the proposed Holocaust memorial next to Parliament as “appalling”, in an exclusive interview with the JC.
A trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Foundation, he said: “I am passionate about this project. It’s very important. The opportunity to build a Holocaust memorial and a learning centre next to the mother of Parliaments, this would be the most prestigious location for any Holocaust memorial and learning centre anywhere in the world.”
He said he had seen “all the arguments from the other side, most of which are misinformation and incorrect”. He called arguments against the memorial “spurious”. “All the things they’ve come up with are complete nonsense, trying to spoil an opportunity for survivors who live in this country to be there at the opening, next to the Houses of Parliament. The fact that the naysayers are led by Jews, Jewish peers in particular, is appalling.”
Sir Lloyd did not specify which peers he was referring to. In 2018, Baroness Deech, Lord Carlile and Lord Grade were among a number of Jewish peers who signed a letter to The Times “objecting to the location and design” of the planned memorial.
Some objections to the plan have raised concerns about the future of the proposed site, in Victoria Tower Gardens, but Sir Lloyd said: “When it’s built, 93 per cent of the gardens will remain as gardens.” He said the tendency of the gardens to become “a swamp” is “going to be fixed”, and the children’s playground there will also be repaired from its current run-down state.
He said: “I find it quite distressing, and I cannot understand why the most vociferous protesters against this are actually Jews. The other sad thing is that the intention was always to try and get this done in time for some of the survivors to visit, and this [opposition] is not helpful. I think their behaviour is appalling. This is an incredible project, supported by the five living ex-prime ministers, and hopefully the sixth as well, the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others.”
Sir Lloyd rejected the suggestion that the memorial should be attached to a museum as “missing the whole point”.
He said: “A Holocaust memorial and learning centre should be a stand-alone institution in its own right, and not attached to another museum.”
In April, the High Court quashed plans to build the memorial at Victoria Tower Gardens, despite the fact that the project had originally received planning permission last year after a six-week public inquiry. The Government is awaiting the outcome of an appeal against the decision. The budget has risen to £103million, according to figures released last week by the National Audit Office.