Not about Ireland

This is about Europe, specifically some countries on the beautiful continent.

The scanned image below is an actual letter written by the Holocaust Education Trust Ireland – in which the Chairperson conveys the message that “Will not refer to The Jewish State or The State of Israel during any part of the ceremony”. The ceremony being the International Holocaust Day commemoration in Ireland.

letter banning any mention to Israel
October 7 letter , Holocaust Education Trust Ireland (HETI) board chairman Peter Cassells confirms banning any mention of ‘the State of Israel’ in relation to Holocaust commemoration

A few thoughts on the matter:

1. Even if any reference to ‘the State of Israel’ are banned, the organizers will also have to ban the Kaddish (mourner’s prayer, in this instance) for the victims being commemorated.

Why? It includes a few instances of the word ‘Israel’. As in ‘Am Israel’, Hebrew for ‘the Jewish people’.

2. The Jews who were killed in the Shoa (Hebrew for ‘Holocaust’), as their ancestors before – have prayed towards Jerusalem, the location of both Great Temples of our ancient history in the land of Israel. Jerusalem (Yerushalayim, in both ancient and modern Hebrew), which was the capital city of the Jewish State, before the Roman destruction and forced exile in the first century of the Common Era.

3. Well, this happened in Ireland, so I can’t help it!

Ireland has a difficult relationship with the State of Israel. Why? Many of the Irish in Ireland (thanks Gd for those living in the US) equate Israel with the British Empire and the Palestinians with..themselves. This is an unfortunate understanding of history, thinking about the way the British knew to ‘administer’ the ‘British Mandate’, inciting the Arabs (different tribes, not yet a Palestinian nation) against the Jews and ultimately creating an artificial state in the majority of the Mandate territory. No, not Israel! TransJordan (the current Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan). And we, also, can’t forget the many Jews who tried to flee Nazi controlled Europe for the Land of Israel and were blocked from entering, many of them returned to Europe and their tragic deaths!

Also, if some in Ireland contest the deep linkage between the Jews and the State of Israel, I guess we could dissect what sort of relationship was built, and when, between their nation and the island they currently inhabit. But who does that in a post-WWII, normal world?

4. The general message I take from the attempts by some Europeans to dissociate Jews from the State of Israel (there are quite a few Jews who naturally distance themselves, without the added pressure) is that Jews as a threatened minority are welcome on the continent, but those who decide to be part, after 2000 years, of the reborn, single, Jewish State – and not trust their dreams, ideals and..lives to others –  are to be considered pariah by civilized Europe.

Most (not all) of the Jews in the State of Israel are either direct survivors of the Nazi killing machine or their children and grandchildren. They have learned a lesson about being a minority, under the protection of others.

5. Some in Europe will shamelessly argue that ‘the lesson’ was not learned by the Jews, and that we’re now tormenting the lives of the Palestinians. And that Christian Europeans are the true inheritors of the lessons of the Shoa. The moral lesson goes further in identifying the Palestinians of today with the Jews of ‘yesterday’. Or even with Jesus Christ, in some other instances. In those cases, the Jews of today are ..well, the Jews of yesterday! Where do I even begin on this one?

If people in Europe actually believe that their focus on the Israel-Arab (and Muslim, at large – unfortunately) conflict is healthy and warranted  – my worries lie with the future of Europe. Because it would mean Europe is acting on instinct, on repressed religiously dictated hatred (even if that’s sometimes disguised in extreme atheism) and other such ‘positive’ factors.

All the while, Russia has invaded the Ukraine this past summer and most European countries are complaining about their exports being affected by the sanctions imposed on the Putin regime.

Also, while Europeans stand guard to the ills of the World (represented by the ‘State of Israel’, of course), we’ve seen much more coverage of Israel’s summer war on Hamas terrorism than we’ve seen about the massacring of tens of thousands at the hands of Islamic terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

Before rushing to recognize ‘Palestine’, Europe should re-examine its political attitude towards, amongst others – the decades long Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus and the fact that a nation numbering some 30 million souls, the Kurds, have neither a state, nor any promises of one.

About the Author
Andrei Schwartz, PhD. - is a Steering Committee member of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps. The Jewish Diplomatic Corps (JDCorps), is a worldwide network of outstanding young Jewish professionals who voluntarily engage in diplomacy and public policy.
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