Following Outcry, UK War Museum Apologizes, Removes Item Calling WWII Jewish Brigade ‘Terrorists’
The Imperial War Museum (IWM) in the U.K. removed an item from its website this week and apologized for its offensive nature following complaints from a Jewish human rights group.
The description of a photo featuring men from the Jewish Brigade’s 1st Battalion from WWII opened with the words “terrorist activities.” The Jewish Brigade was defined as having been formed in September 1944 and fought in Italy under the British Eighth Army — with this additional assertion: “Many of its members went on to join the Haganah and other illegal formations.”
The poster, part of the museum’s collection on World War II, is currently inaccessible on the website. The IWM on Monday apologized for featuring the item with such an offensive description and said the label was uploaded accidentally.
“We apologize unreservedly,” Bryony Phillips, corporate communications manager for the IWM, told The Algemeiner on Monday. “This was the historic label we received alongside the photograph, accidentally uploaded in order to give the public access to our comprehensive archives. We have now removed this item and are looking in detail at all other captions.”
The photo was removed after Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations Shimon Sameuls wrote a letter to IWM Director-General Diane Lees on Monday urging her to “to withdraw this offensive poster, take disciplinary measures against the apparent antisemite responsible and make a public apology to the Jewish community.”
“The Jewish Brigade under British command were heroes who combated Fascist terrorists in Italy,” he argued. “They were eye witnesses to the annihilation of their people as they joined the liberators of the camps…”
Samuels said calling the Jewish Brigade soldiers “terrorists” is “the greatest Holocaust revisionism imagination.” He added that the offensive description tarnished the museum and “betrays the cause of British integrity.”
Jewish blogger Elder of Ziyon called the description “inexcusable” and “outrageous.” The blogger berated the IWM for “calling [the soldiers] future terrorists” while failing to give any details about “how the Brigade was formed, how the soldiers trained and how they fought.”
Elder of Ziyon also criticized the IWM for referring to the Haganah — an underground military organization in Israel from 1920 to 1948 — as an “illegal” organization. “It wasn’t,” he asserted. “At times it cooperated with the British.”