Irish Org. Bans Israel at Holocaust Memorial

Directive 'not to refer to the Jewish State or State of Israel' during official Holocaust Memorial Day event sparks outrage.

Tova Dvorin,

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Flag of Ireland
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The organizers of Ireland's national memorial for the Holocaust have banned any mention of Israel, the Jewish Chronicle Online reported last week - demanding the master of ceremonies "not to refer to the Jewish State or the State of Israel during any part of the ceremony" in January.

Outrage against the Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland (HETI), who organized the event, has begun to spread. 

"This decision is both reprehensible and unacceptable to the wider Irish Jewish Community and is at complete variance with the stated aims and objectives of the trust. The community is horrified," Maurice Cohen, chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, responded to the announcement. 

Cohen nonetheless confirmed that the event is still scheduled to be held, and that Irish President Michael Higgins would once again be attending. 

The Israeli Embassy in Dublin said ambassador Boaz Modai would attend as well but also strongly criticized the directive, saying it is "a gross disservice to the victims of the Shoah, to the survivors who found refuge in Israel."

Track record of anti-Israel bias?

HETI had imposed a similar ban on host Yanky Fachler from mentioning Israel during Ireland's national Holocaust memorial day earlier this year.

Fachler complied but then lost his job six days later after 12 years of hosting the event after he wrote to HETI to complain.

Fachler noted in remarks to the local Jewish paper that the two Jewish members of the board were behind his ouster, to the best of his knowledge, and condemned the "dangerous" policy "as it plays directly into the hands of everyone who doesn't like Jews or Israel."

Then-Justice Minister Alan Shatter noted at the time that meetings had taken place between the Ministry and HETI over the decision to sack Fachler for his views adding that he did not request that Fachler be replaced and that the decision was "completely unacceptable."

“I’m concerned that board members of HETI have been influenced in how they’re approaching this issue by the hostility towards Israel in some sections of Irish public discourse and by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” Shatter told the Chronicle.  

Just days ago, the Irish parliament urged the government to recognize the Palestinian Authority (PA)-Hamas unity government as the "State of Palestine." 

The non-binding motion agreed by lawmakers in Dublin called on the government to "officially recognize the State of Palestine, on the basis of the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, as established in UN resolutions".

This would be "a further positive contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", it added.




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