Library attacked after Herzog event

Former Israeli President Chaim Herzog was born in Belfast in 1918.
Former Israeli President Chaim Herzog was born in Belfast in 1918.

The Alliance Party, UUP and DUP have circled their wagons around Belfast’s renowned Linen Hall Library after it was subjected to a tirade of sectarian abuse on social media.

The library was targeted after it hosted an event on 13 March to mark 100 years since former Israeli President Chaim Herzog was born in the city.

DUP MLA and former education minister Peter Weir said there was “a deluge of nasty anti-semitic and sometimes personal bile” directed towards the Library and its staff. The experience has given him “a small insight into the daily abuse” the Jewish community suffers, he added.

UUP chief whip Steve Aiken, who attended the event, described the abuse as “downright despicable” and added that it “smacks of the worst form of anti-semitism”.

Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn, who also attended, said library staff were shaken.

“Belfast and Northern Ireland should be proud of the achievements of Chaim Herzog and his extended family,” he said.

The library responded that it is “wholly neutral, non-partisan” and welcomes people “of all cultures, nationalities, political affiliations and persuasions, and religions”.

It added: “We are open to considered and constructive conversation, opinion and debate.”