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December 18, 2014 3:06 pm

Irish Holocaust Education Trust Had Misgivings About Israel From Very Beginning, Fired MC Claims

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

The row over the banning of the words “Israel” and “Jewish state” from Ireland’s forthcoming official Holocaust memorial ceremony on January 25 continues to fester, despite assurances from Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI), the body which organizes the event, that the ban has been retracted.

Yanky Fachler, the long-standing MC of the event who was informed by HETI in October that his services would no longer be required following a similar quarrel this year, told The Algemeiner that there was precious little indication that the body had satisfactorily dealt with its misgivings about Israel’s role in the ceremony that, he claimed, have been present ever since the first commemorative event in Dublin was held in 2003.

“It is disingenuous for HETI to claim that the Israeli ambassador has attended and participated in the Holocaust memorial Day ceremony since 2003,” Fachler said, in reference to HETI’s statement that “the Israeli ambassador has attended and participated in the ceremony since its inception in 2003 and will do so again in January 2015. ”

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“Until a couple of years ago, that ‘participation’ was silent – and consisted of lighting one of the candles for the 6 million,” Fachler said.

Fachler said that until he helped to negotiate a compromise between the Israeli Embassy and HETI, whereby the ambassador’s role was enhanced through a reading as well as the lighting of a candle, the Israelis had been poised to boycott the official ceremony, holding their own event instead. He pointed out that in the booklet which HETI hands out to participants in the memorial ceremony, “there has never been a greeting from the Israeli ambassador.”

Most seriously, Fachler claimed that Lynn Jackson, the Executive Director of HETI, had accused him, four days before this year’s memorial ceremony, of “politicizing” the event when she instructed him to remove a reference to “the vicious campaign” against Israel in his own speech (Fachler’s intended remarks are reproduced in full below.)  In the end, Fachler said, his dilemma over whether to defy Jackson was resolved by the speech of the then Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, who referred to the “extremists who would, if they could, bring about a second Holocaust by the extermination of the 6 million Jews who today are citizens of the State of Israel.”

Despite repeated telephone and email attempts by The Algemeiner to get a response from HETI to Fachler’s latest comments on the scandal, none was forthcoming by press time.

Meanwhile, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has now weighed in upon the controversy.

“It is totally inappropriate for the commemoration of the greatest crime against the Jewish people to have an edict prohibiting mention of the Jewish State,” the Board said in a statement. “Israel was the aspiration of so many of the victims of the Holocaust and provided refuge for survivors.  Had it existed earlier it could have been the refuge of so many more.”

(Following are the remarks which Yanky Fachler intended to deliver at this year’s ceremony; the comments allegedly objected to by Lynn Jackson appear in the penultimate paragraph.)

The Holocaust showed us how science that can heal – was used to kill.

The Holocaust showed us how education that can enlighten – was used to rationalize away basic moral impulses.

The Holocaust showed us how the bureaucracy that sustains modern life – was used as the machinery of mass death.

The Holocaust showed us how easily civilized society can slip into deliberate, cynical and brutal genocide.

As our annual Day of Remembrance draws to a close, every one of us here today – Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Humanist, believer, non-believer – from whatever ethnic, cultural and political persuasion – must make a pledge to truly eradicate intolerance from our midst.

We must drown out the vile voices that seek to deny that the human catastrophe we call the Shoah ever happened.

We must denounce the corrosive rise in racist and antisemitic rhetoric by a malign minority of politicians.

And we owe it to the victims, to the survivors, and to ourselves, to prevent the memory of the Holocaust being cynically distorted and hijacked by a vicious campaign that denies the Jewish people and the Jewish state – our past and our future.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us in this evening of solemn commemoration.

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  • Steve Loeb

    Kevin Meyers tells Melanie Phillips on Voice of Israel why Ireland is so anti Israel – http://www.voiceofisrael.com/?p=3401%3Fauto%3D1 (Kevin Myers)

  • The Republic of Ireland in 1945 sent Germany a letter of condolence on the death of Adolf Hitler. Churchill had a plan ready in the event that Germany invaded Britain from the Irish Republic.

    • Barry udoff

      Well done! One of the war’s best kept secrets is that Ireland remained neutral and let it’s differences with Engand significantly aid the Nazi war effort. This apart from the IRA’s plan to coordinate with Hitler on a plan to invade Britain. It makes suspect those who wish to erase any mention of Jews or Israel in a holacaust memorial.

      • Martin Gleeson

        I’m completely bemused, Ireland’s neutrality could not have been less secret. For your information ,during the war DeVelera completely crushed the IRA so that any plans they had were irrelevant.
        That Ireland had some recent “differences” with the UK is not secret either.
        Ireland did not “significantly aid the Nazi war effort”,other than by being neutral.
        Perhaps if you know otherwise you could share this knowledge.
        Without Ireland Great Britain’s food supply situation would have been completely dire.
        I return to a point I have made before. Before,during and after the war Irish Jewry lived in safety.
        Ireland did not have a completely heroic war, did any country?.
        An old neighbour of mine(early RAF squadron leader) went out to battle Messershmidts in a Fairey Battle (before the Spitfire/Hurricane) What kind of courage does that take ?,survived being shot down,barely lived through Poland’s winter at war’s end. He lived in constant pain for most of the rest of his life. Only one man’s story,he was a volunteer from neutral Ireland.
        I simply think the comments on here might be a bit less general about “the Irish”.

    • Martin Gleeson

      With respect sir,as far as I know they did not send any letter.Who would it have been sent to then,Eisenhower? Marshall Zhukov?.
      DeVelera’s so called condolences to German Legate Hempel was actually more to do with relations between DeVelera and Sir Winston Churchill.
      If Churchill had his way DeVelera would be dead,as would Menachim Begin and Mr. Shamir later on.
      The British Ambassador Sir John Maffey said many times that DeVelera was neither pro-Axis or pro-Nazi. If his word can’t be taken on the issue,then further arguement is futile.
      Trying to understand this irrelevant and wrong headed “condolences”from any other part of the world is near impossible.
      Sir Winston Churchill was a great man but was a determined British Imperialist .Had he not been voted out after the war he was willing to launch military opposition to Indian independence which would have been great disaster.
      There has been quite a bit more “heat than light” in some contributions about this issue. I would urge anyone to read up on the history and then make up your own mind.
      I sincerely hope that whatever steps needed to heal this hurt are taken. No comfort should be given to the enemies of Israel or the democratic West,internal or external.

  • The world needs to remember the annual Day of Remembrance draws to a close, every one of us here today – Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Humanist, believer, non-believer – from whatever ethnic, cultural and political persuasion – must make a pledge to truly eradicate intolerance from our midst. Moreover, the Holocaust time created a time where Jews could go to Israel to survive without persecution, as there was no place they could stay in Europe, as all there possessions and livelihoods were destroyed. How dare that Anti-Semitics continue to attack Israel, the only haven for Jews in the world. If people want to do something, instead of spread anti-Semitism, then they should work to make the world a safer, more peaceful place for all people.

  • AlanB

    “Fachler claimed that Lynn Jackson, the Executive Director of HETI, had accused him, four days before this year’s memorial ceremony, of “politicizing” the event when she instructed him to remove a reference to “the vicious campaign” against Israel in his own speech”

    Jackson is an Israel hater and should not be allowed anywhere near a Holocaust Memorial organisation. She should resign or be fired.

  • david Jackson

    Yanky Fachler’s intended remarks!! I think these are HETI’s closing remarks as delivered by their MC Yanky Fachler. Does he see the difference.
    He actually finished according to the video I viewed not with ‘Ladies and Gentleman. we thank you..’ But with ‘My friends. I thank you.’ A genuine slip maybe but perhaps also a revealing one.

  • Julian Clovelley

    The wording is definitely political in nature as far as I am concerned.

    Respect for the victims of the Holocaust should stand alone, recognising its nature as an attack on all of humanity and on common decency

    Never again and no-one – that is all

    • Eric R.

      Herr Clovelly,

      Your regret over the Holocaust is about as sincere as if it came from Ahmedinejad, Hamas or Hezbollah.

      We need your regret about as much as we need all those EUronazi Shoah commemorations.

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