With growing antisemitism on the rise, in the United States and across the globe, Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin has issued a statement expressing her strong opposition to all forms of antisemitism.
In her letter, Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin stated:
“I oppose all forms of Antisemitism, including but not limited to dividing Israel with the establishment of a Palestinian state, assault of Jewish people, business deals with Iran, BDS, funding of Antisemitic U.N. agencies like UNRWA and others; defacing Jewish places of worship, business, monuments as well as desecration of cemeteries in Vilnius, Lithuania and elsewhere by building over the graves of the Jewish people.”
The passing of a resolution by the Lithuanian government in 2015 to construct a conference center on the 500-year old Snipiskes Jewish cemetery, invoked a global outcry.
After general elections in December 2020, the changing of the Lithuanian guard and establishment of a new government, officials have moved to address antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
In August 2021, the Lithuanian government announced that it would be freezing plans to develop the conference center on the Jewish cemetery. The decision was met with world applause.
The international community has moved to support a proposal that will see the restoration of the Snipiskes cemetery and return to its former glory. Expert economists believe that Jewish tourism will result in a windfall for the Lithuanian economy, given the positive benefits that Jewish tourism has achieved in neighboring countries, such as the Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. Tour organizers believe that in a post COVID era, this option is a compelling alternative.
The prospect of restoration of the cemetery remains uncertain. There are interest groups that have continued to lobby the government to reinstate the Conference Center proposal. The Vilnius City Council is one of them.
Although the evidence suggests that consensus favors restoration of the cemetery, the realization of such a proposal is far from a slam dunk.
The international Jewish community however, is committed towards achieving a return of the Jewish cemetery to its former glory. Momentum for this cause, has gathered significant momentum over the past few months.