Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Business Like "Shoah" Business: Local Jews Fighting Expansion Plans By The Los Angeles Museum Of Tolerance

People who oppose, question, or are even indifferent to the Holocaust or the worldwide network of McHolocaust franchises constructed to promote and protect "Holocaustianity" are considered "anti-Semitic". So if Jews themselves oppose the expansion of a Holocaust Museum, does that make them anti-Semitic also?

In the 14 years since it opened, the Museum of Tolerance has become an international sensation, attracting millions of visitors with its message of compassion and mutual respect. But to Sharron Lerman, who lives two blocks away, the Pico Boulevard landmark has become something more: a bad neighbor. Full story published November 14th, 2007 in the Los Angeles Times. Supplemental report aired on KCBS Channel 2 in Los Angeles.

Lerman and about 100 of her neighbors, many of them Jewish, some even members of the museum themselves, are trying to stop the museum from enclosing its open-air memorial plaza to build a two-story cultural center with a cafe and rooftop garden -- a complex that could be rented out for weddings, bar mitzvahs and other private functions. The longtime neighbors are pressing their campaign against the museum's owner, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the organization named for the famed Nazi hunter. While they maintain they support the museum's mission, they believe the proposed expansion will further disrupt the peace and quiet of their neighborhood. Even now, Lerman and other homeowners complain about tour buses rumbling through their neighborhood, visitors taking valuable parking spaces, and police occasionally blocking access to streets when dignitaries visit.

The expansion would require a loosening of conditions imposed by the city from the museum's beginning to protect the community. Among the changes: Operating hours would expand significantly, keeping the museum open until midnight for private affairs that are now prohibited. An existing cafe for museum patrons would be opened to the public. And a 100-foot buffer separating the museum from homes -- an area now occupied by the memorial plaza -- would be reduced to 20 feet.

Museum leaders, who enjoy the backing of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Los Angeles Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman and Howard Berman, among other political heavyweights, say they have done everything possible to reduce the effects on neighbors. They say they have stationed extra security staff outside the museum, for example, and passed out fliers reminding bus drivers to stay off neighborhood streets. The city has also posted signs barring buses from Roxbury Drive and Castello Avenue next to the museum.

But museum executives acknowledge that buses continue to travel on the two streets -- in violation of the museum's operating permit. "We don't want to be disrespectful of our neighbors," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center. "We're not perfect."

Hier said the proposed cultural center was necessary to raise revenue and to accommodate the phenomenal growth of the museum, which has gained a global reputation for its exhibits and educational programs about the Holocaust, extremism, diversity and other subjects that have attracted an estimated 4 million visitors since 1993. Additional background information about the museum available HERE.

The 13,500-square-foot cultural center would fit within the existing footprint of the 80,000-square-foot museum. The facility also would annex about 7,400 square feet from an adjoining private Jewish high school for exhibits.

Museum supporters are trying to blame the problems of trash and noise on the adjacent Jewish high school.

City Councilman Jack Weiss testified on the museum's behalf last month before a department panel. Weiss voiced skepticism about the possible problems for the neighborhood and said the museum's benefits far outweighed its shortcomings. "They have done literally a world of good, and any smart city would be lucky to have them and nurture them," Weiss said. "It would be perverse public policy to punish them now for their enormous success. Good public policy will nurture their future success at healing the world."

Commentary: You gotta love it! The Jews are squabbling amongst themselves - over a Holocaust museum, no less. I guess living next to one isn't such a "fulfilling" experience as visiting one. And note how nearly the entire Jewish nomenklatura and their sockpuppets, none of who live in the neighborhood, are lining up in support of the museum.

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