Christians attack Chief over 'blasphemous' art
By Simon Rocker -The Jewish Chronicle
A small Christian pressure group has stepped up its protest against a statue owned by a prominent Jewish art collector, depicting Jesus with a phallus, by leafleting a North-West London synagogue on Shabbat.
The work, condemned as blasphemous and pornographic by Christian Voice, belongs to Anita Zabludowicz, wife of Poju Zabludowicz, chairman and main sponsor of Bicom (the Britain-Israel Research and Communications Centre) and a recently appointed member of the Jewish Leadership Council.
Members of Golders Green United Synagogue were lobbied as they arrived for the minchah service last Shabbat afternoon.
Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said the action had been taken because letters written to the Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks and Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies, had failed to bring condemnation of the statue. Sir Jonathan was once the rabbi of Golders Green.
He's taking no notice of us, said Mr Green, who wants the statue destroyed. Maybe he will take notice of his own people.
Although the Chief Rabbi had written of his sorrow over a situation¦ that has caused you great offence, Mr Green added: I find it incomprehensible that the Chief Rabbi and the Zabludowiczs have not discussed it. If he failed to condemn it, then, in effect, he's saying they can keep it.
He said that the only comment outside Golders Green was from one man saying he completely agreed with us.
The Office of the Chief Rabbi declined comment, but a JLC spokesman said: Whereas it is not for the JLC to comment on private matters concerning organisational representatives, the Zabludowicz Collection has advised us that the work in question has now been returned to storage and at this time the Collection has no plans to show the work.
In a statement earlier this week, Mr Green, in a reference to a biblical episode, declared: Just as the sin of Achan in taking a valuable but accursed thing from Jericho brought judgment on the whole community of Israel, so his [Mr Zabludowiczs] actions and those of his wife, in clinging on to this valuable but accursed statue, is bringing the slur of blasphemy against the whole Jewish community.
The rest of the council too are complicit in his and Anitas continuing scorn for the One whom Christians hold most holy of all, and that includes the Chief Rabbi, who appears to have told them to ˜Carry on blaspheming.
Mrs Zabludowicz was on holiday this week but a spokesman for her collection confirmed the statue was in storage. The sculpture, by Canadian-Chinese artist Terence Koh, was on display last month in Gateshead.