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December 15, 2014 2:38 pm

‘Nothing Has Changed’ at Irish Holocaust Educational Trust Declares Fired MC, as Organization Backtracks on Israel Ban

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Yanky Fachler addresses a Warsaw Ghetto Uprising commemoration in Dublin in 2013. Photo: Michael FitzGerald, ClontarfMedia

The Master of Ceremonies who was fired from hosting Ireland’s forthcoming Holocaust Memorial Day on January 25 after being told he couldn’t refer to Israel at the event has called on the organizing body, the Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland (HETI), to explain how it arrived at the decision to ban any mention of the Jewish state.

Yanky Fachler, the long-standing host of the event, spoke to The Algemeiner shortly after HETI apparently backtracked on the decision, announcing in a press release that there “is no ban on mentioning Israel at the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in Ireland. Israel will be referred to and the Israeli ambassador has attended and participated in the ceremony since its inception in 2003 and will do so again in January 2015. Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI) has this week reassured the Jewish Community in Ireland of this.”

But Fachler – who has not been reinstated to his post after he was told in an October 13 letter from HETI Chair Peter Cassells that “we will be engaging a new MC” – pointed out that in reversing of the policy, HETI did not explain how it arrived at its decision in the first place.

“My question would be, why they did do what they did,” Fachler told The Algemeiner during a telephone interview. “They came to an absolutely unacceptable decision, and someone must be held accountable for it. I don’t know how they did it, or why they did it, but we need to know how they got to this decision.”

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Fachler also pointed out that HETI had yet to apologize for the original announcement. HETI’s undated press release merely corrected the original announcement of a ban on mentioning Israel, before going on to briefly describe its work in Ireland delivering “educational programs through primary, post-primary and third level.”

Fachler said that he did not expect to be reinstated to his post as MC, adding that he was not seeking such an outcome. “In the unlikely event that I was to be asked, I would not be prepared to do it because I don’t think anything has changed at HETI,” he said.

Fachler, a well-known broadcaster and author in Ireland, said that there had long “been tension” with HETI’s Board, none of whom have resigned because of the scandal, over his forthrightly pro-Israel views.

In his own letter to Peter Cassells protesting the original decision, Fachler said that HETI was “creating the impression that it is more concerned with dead Jews than live ones.”

As The Algemeiner reported last week, the announcement of the Israel ban led to a major furore in Ireland, with Jewish groups and former government minister Alan Shatter among those who condemned the decision.

The Algemeiner sent three separate emails to HETI requesting to speak to Mr. Cassells about his original decision, but only received the HETI press release announcing that mention of Israel would be permitted in response.

Meanwhile, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading US-based Jewish advocacy organization, has called for the resignation of those HETI trustees who “voted to exclude references to ‘Israel’ or ‘Jewish State’ from the proceedings of Holocaust Memorial Day…offending the survivors who have made it their home and decoupling the history and destiny of the Jewish People from the Jewish State.”

The Center’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, also demanded an investigation by the Irish authorities over whether HETI may have violated its charitable status with its original ban on mentioning Israel.

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