KotelIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today denounced an effort led by two pastors to build an international pro-life "memorial" in Wichita, Kansas, in what is being described as an exact replica of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, calling it "an outrageous affront to the Jewish people" and a perversion of Judaism's holiest site.

Wichita-based Pastors Rob Rotola of the Word of Life Church and Mark Holick of the Spirit One Christian Ministry are heading a group that has announced plans for construction of an "International Pro-Life Memorial & National Life Center" in Wichita, describing it as "a place of repentance, meditation and healing." 

Holick reportedly said in a press release that the center will include the International Pro Life Institute, whose focus will be preserving, promoting and protecting "the unborn and families against the international Holocaust being promoted by governments and individuals … against the unborn."

The plan calls for construction of an elaborate replica of the Western or "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem, with the addition of 60 Christian crosses symbolizing "60 million abortions" that have allegedly occurred in the United States since 1973. 

Pastor Holick is currently raising funds for the project, and has indicated he will seek tax-exempt status for the facility's operations.

“Over the years we have seen a number of anti-abortion groups compare abortion to the Holocaust, but this takes the misuse of Jewish symbolism and history to another level,” ADL National Director, Abraham H. Foxman, said in a statement.  The expression "The Silent Holocaust" has also been used by rabbis symbolically in order to decry the rate of intermarriage among western Jews.

“The Western Wall, this monumental symbol of Jewish grief and redemption, is being co-opted and distorted to promote an anti-abortion agenda and message", he continued.

“Members of the pro-life movement are entitled to their opinions, but we wish they would not express them at the expense of Judaism's holiest site and the Holocaust.  The use of the Wailing Wall imagery in protest of abortion constitutes an affront to the Jewish people and a terrible perversion of the meaning of Judaism's holiest site,” said Foxman.

“We strongly urge the planners of the International Pro-Life Memorial & National Life Center to reconsider their inclusion of a ‘Wailing Wall’ in their project and to stop using the word 'Holocaust' in reference to abortion,” Foxman added.