Irish Holocaust Memorial Group Retracts Ban on Mentioning Israel

Holocaust Education Trust Ireland does about face in wake of criticism of original decision.

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(JTA) — Despite initial guidelines banning the mention of Israel, speakers at a Holocaust commemoration ceremony in Ireland in January will refer to the Jewish state.

The Holocaust Education Trust Ireland, responding to complaints after a website published a letter indicating that the event’s longtime master of ceremonies, Yanky Fachler, should “not refer to the Jewish state or the State of Israel” in his speech, announced on its website that it had reversed that policy.

"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," read the announcement. "Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI) has this week reassured the Jewish Community in Ireland of this."

An array of Jewish leaders and Jewish organizations, including Ireland’s former justice and equality minister, who is Jewish, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, criticized the original policy, which was reported December 11 in The Jewish Chronicle of London.