Irish Jews have strongly condemned the Lord Mayor of Dublin for taking part in a conference which glorified a notorious Palestinian Nazi collaborator.
Mícheál MacDonncha, who is also a Dublin city councillor for the nationalist Sinn Féin party, attended the gathering in Ramallah on Wednesday, the day before Yom Hashoah.
COGAT (the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), Israel’s body responsible for dealing with the West Bank, tweeted a picture of Mr MacDonncha sitting on the podium in front of a large banner featuring a picture of Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
Maurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, said: “The unfortunate timing of the Lord Mayor’s attendance at this event can only be explained by either ignorance or antisemitism.
“The situation in the Middle East is much too important for foolhardy ignorant interference. If the Lord Mayor's presence at the conference was not out of ignorance, then we can only conclude that we are witnessing our Lord Mayor displaying blatant antisemitism.
Al-Husseini was a notorious anti-Semite who held meetings with Hitler in 1941 and SS head Heinrich Himmler in 1943. He also made propaganda broadcasts in Arabic on behalf of the Nazis and helped recruit Bosnian Muslims for a special division of the SS.
On the eve of #HolocaustRemembranceDay the Lord Mayor of #Dublin takes part in a #Ramallah conference, glorifying the #GrandMufti that met #Hitler.— COGAT (@cogat_israel) April 11, 2018
Did Mícheál MacDonncha intentionally chose this timing? Either way, he is participating in a conference glorifying a war criminal. pic.twitter.com/vRtGgqZuGA
In 1943, while the Holocaust was taking place, he said: “It is the duty of Muhammadans in general and Arabs in particular to … drive all Jews from Arab and Muhammadan countries….Germany is also struggling against the common foe who oppressed Arabs and Muhammadans in their different countries.
“It has very clearly recognised the Jews for what they are and resolved to find a definitive solution [endgültige Lösung] for the Jewish danger that will eliminate the scourge that Jews represent in the world…”
Al-Husseini was also personally responsible for blocking the rescue of thousands of Jewish men, women and children from Europe to Mandate Palestine and other countries in the Middle East.
On Tuesday, Israeli authorities said they had barred Mr MacDonncha from entering the country due to his ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The day before, Dublin City Council had passed motions to expel the Israeli ambassador and to support the BDS campaign.
However, Mr MacDonncha managed to enter Israel via Ben Gurion airport, reportedly due to a mistake by Israeli authorities, who mistook his councillor title in Irish - Ardmhéara Mícheál MacDonncha – as part of his full name.