As the blog Israellycool and others have recently reported, the trustees of Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland(HETI) have forbidden the master of ceremonies at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony on January 25th, 2015, from mentioning the word “Israel” or the phrase “the Jewish State”.
Here’s the letter sent to Yanky Fachler, the former master of ceremonies, from HETI chair Peter Cassells explaining that no mention of the Jewish state will be permitted by the MC at the event at Dublin’s Mansion House.
Six days later, Fachler received another letter from Cassells telling him he was being replaced after 12 years on the job.
Four days before the 2014 HMD event, Fachler had similarly been banned from mentioning ‘Israel’ but had still participated in the event because he did not want to be responsible for a last-minute problem by pulling out. However, he then wrote to HETI suggesting that their stance could be interpreted as caring more about dead Jews than living ones – a letter which likely was the principal reason why he was dismissed.
In reaction to news of the Israel ban at Ireland’s Holocaust Memorial Day event, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff joined other Jewish leaders in complaining of HETI’s attempt to decouple Israel and the Holocaust. Zuroff characterized the decision as one which reflects “abysmal ignorance of the critical importance of the existence of the State of Israel, the lethal consequences for Jews that it did not exist during the Nazi era and Israel’s vital role in absorbing Holocaust survivors and providing them with a secure home after the Shoah.”
In response to the public outcry, Cassells issued a press release on Friday which appeared to backtrack on the policy:
However, it still doesn’t appear as if they’ve retracted the original letter to Fachler, and it is unclear if the new MC (whose name is yet to be announced) will be permitted to mention Israel.
The Israel Ambassador to Ireland still says he will attend the HMD event next month, though how he can attend while the status of the HETI ban on the MC mentioning ‘Israel’ is still unclear remains a mystery.
HETI’s disgraceful policy is yet another example of attempts in Europe to sever the link between Jews and the State of Israel, seen for example when the trustees of the Tricycle Theater said they would not show films at the Jewish Film Festival that were partly financed by public money from Israel.
Tricycle eventually backed down.
HETI must surely do the same, and we believe that the Chair of the Trustees Peter Cassells should resign.
We’ll keep you posted if any new information becomes available.
- Why is anti-Israel extremist Gary Spedding affiliated with Holocaust Educational Trust UK (cifwatch.com)
Categories: General Antisemitism