Irish Jewish community claims victory in Holocaust flap

Spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Dublin says that until three years ago it was HETI policy not to invite the ambassador to the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony.

By
December 23, 2014 19:40
2 minute read.
ireland

Flag of Ireland. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Ireland’s Holocaust Education Trust and the government of Israel have come to an agreement regarding how the Jewish state will be referenced during an upcoming Holocaust memorial ceremony in Dublin, the local Jewish community announced on Tuesday.

Jewish organizations engaged in vocal protests following the leak of an October 7 letter by HETI chairman Peter Cassells, in which he stated that “it was decided in future, the emcee of Holocaust Memorial Day will not refer to the Jewish state or the State of Israel during any part of the ceremony.”

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In response to the public outcry, Cassells issued a press release backtracking on the policy and stating that he had “reassured the Jewish community in Ireland that Israel will be referred to in Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations.”

Last week, a spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Dublin told The Jerusalem Post that until three years ago it was HETI policy not to invite the ambassador to the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony, a policy changed following Israeli lobbying.

“This year the ambassador will be reading a text provided by the organizers of the event,” embassy information officer Dermot Meleady told the Post. “Although the Israeli dimension and the conditions of the embassy’s participation in this event are less than what we would ideally desire, we consider it preferable to participate in the event than not to do so.

“The Embassy of Israel in Ireland has requested that the text to be read by the ambassador at the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony in Dublin will include reference to the indelible connection between Judaism, the Jewish people and the State of Israel as the refuge of the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust,” he added.

“The embassy is awaiting a reply to this request.”

In an email to the Post on Tuesday, Maurice Cohen, chairman of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, said that Israeli Ambassador Boaz Modai had sat down with members of HETI and that “the outcome of this meeting was an understanding that, at future events marking Holocaust Memorial Day, the ambassador of Israel to Ireland or his representative, will deliver an address in which the clear connection between the Shoah of the Jews during World War II and the State of Israel will be stated.”

While Cohen had initially informed the Post that an unsatisfactory outcome would result in “considering asking for those trustees that were involved in this decision to resign from the board of HETI,” following the agreement he stated that his organization “looks forward to continuing its support of HETI chaired by Mr. Peter Cassels.”


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