Clarifying the issues:
The Šnipiškės Jewish cemetery is a 500-year old cemetery in which over 50,000 Jews are buried. The Sports Palace edifice was built on less than a quarter of the cemetery. According to a recent radar scan, the bulk of the cemetery lies in tact.
The Lithuanian Jewish community is opposed to the conference center development. Lead developer Turto bankas has verified that the Lithuanian Jewish community Chair wishes that any initiative should comply with Jewish law. The Turto Bankas Vilnius Congess Center (VCC) project and the development of the conference center is a de facto violation of Jewish law.
The Committee for Protection of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe (CPJCE) has accepted a decision by a rabbinical court and the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) that the VCC project is prohibited and a violation of Jewish Law. The CER is the leading Jewish authority in Europe and represents over 800 Rabbis and communities in Europe. The work of the CPJCE falls under the jurisdiction of the CER.
All leading Jewish authorities are unanimous in their condemnation of the conference center proposal.
The Sports Palace is located on the cemetery. Turto bankas agrees with this fact. Official documents show there are bones and skeletal remains encrusted in the edifice. See VIDEO in which the current Minister of Justice for Lithuania, Ms. Evelina Dobrovolska stated that there are "bones and skeletal remains under and within the Sports Palace."
The VCC project does not comply with a 2009 Agreement which was signed by the Lithuanian Jewish community and Lithuanian Government, aiming to protect the cemetery from desecration.
The development of a memorial or financial payment cannot replace a cemetery. The notion undermines a fundamental Jewish tenet of what a cemetery is.
Jewish law prohibits a cemetery being used for any purpose other than as a cemetery, even a museum.
The International Jewish community is committed to the restoration of the cemetery and beautification of the area.
Despite the tragedies of the past, most Jewish community members of Lithuanian descent feel a historical and cultural connection to Lithuania.
Lithuanian members of the Jewish community who oppose the conference center, are Lithuanian patriots, who love the country they were born in.
A 2015 Seimas resolution which authorizes the development of the VCC, (the proposed conference center) is unenforceable and a violation of the Lithuanian constitution. The resolution is also a violation of a 2002 International Agreement between the US and Lithuanian government, a violation of a 2008 US Senate resolution, and a violation of the 2014 Cemetery Protection Act (an amendment to the Freedom of Religion Act of 1998). Further, the 2015 Seimas resolution is a violation of European Rights Convention (Articles 8 & 9).
For further information see the Šnipiškės FACT CHECKER