A memorial honoring an Irish military commander who led Jewish soldiers into battle in Belfast was defaced.
A memorial in Belfast for an Irish World War I military commander who led the Jewish Legion has been defaced and is being investigated by the Police Service of Northern Ireland as a hate crime.
The UK’s Independent reported Sunday that the words “scum” and “Nazis” were daubed on a mural honoring Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Patterson, who commanded the volunteer battalions of the Jewish Legion as they fought against the Ottoman Empire during World War One.
The memorial mentions his connection to Israel and the IDF.
“Whilst his men fought with distinction, Lt. Col. Patterson had to defend them from the anti-Semitism of his superiors, even threatening to resign his commission,” Stephen Silverman, director of investigations and enforcement at the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA), told the Independent.
“This cowardly attack on a memorial to one of Northern Ireland’s heroes must be punished with the full force of the law,” he demanded.
Patterson, a Christian born in Ireland, commanded five battalions of the British Army which were nicknamed the “Jewish Legion.” They served at Gallipoli and then in the campaign to liberate the Land of Israel from Turkish rule.
Commander of the First Jewish Force in 2,000 Years
Patterson was a passionate advocate of the establishment of the State of Israel and Zionism.
His body was reinterred, along with his wife’s, in Israel in 2014, near the corpses of those with whom he had served, in accordance with his dying wish.
Patterson was “one of the founders of the Jewish Legion, the first Jewish military force since the Bar Kochba Revolt and the basis upon which the IDF was established,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in 2014. “My parents always spoke warmly of Lt.-Col. Patterson, who worked alongside my father in the 1940s in the US to promote the Zionist idea.”
“As Prime Minister of Israel, I deem it to be a privilege to realize Lt.-Col. Patterson’s wish to rest in the Land of Israel alongside the soldiers of the Jewish Legion whom he commanded,” Netanyahu said. “His return to Israel does historic justice to the man about whom [Zionist Revisionist leader] Zeev Jabotinsky wrote: ‘Never in Jewish history has there been in our midst a Christian friend of his understanding and devotion.'”
By: World Israel News Staff