Holocaust Memorial Day Belfast

I am just back from the Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration in the Great Hall at Belfast City Hall with its marvellous stained glass windows dedicated to the four great provinces of Ireland.

Members of all the faith communities; Christian, Jewish, Muslim and none joined in the ceremony. I counted four MLAs including myself. Naomi Long and Robin Newton were there in official capacities and Wallace Browne was in the row in front of me. There may well have been others there but I did not see them. The North’s Councils were well represented by Mayors and Chairs alike.

The day now commemorates those killed in all genocides since WWII including Bosnia and Rwanda. Tonight’s event really put this week’s goings on at Hillsborough in context.

  • Greenflag

    Does it also include the 1,000 Palestinian civilians murdered by the Israeli Government last year or has that been ‘conveniently ‘ forgotten ?

  • joeCanuck

    Indeed Conall.
    Should also remind us of the needless murders carried out here by small sections of both “communities”.
    Puts things in perspective.
    Demonization of others can lead to terrible outcomes.

  • Greenflag. You may be interested in this speech by Gerald Kaufmann the veteran Labour MP who also as it turns out lost his grandmother to genocide. Please do watch it and undertand that many jews believe like him that their grandparents did not die to provide cover for the murder of Palestinians by the IDF. I went tonight to stand with the suvivors and their families. People like the late Helen Lewis. I will go every year as an Irishman and a republican; and I will bring my children when they are old enough so they to can undertand. You should go. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMGuYjt6CP8

  • villager

    You even give ‘the North’ a capital N! The border won’t disappear just because you don’t use the words Northern Ireland.

  • Happy Holocaust Day.

    Is that offensive? Yes, it is. But what else is one supposed to say? The whole thing is as ridiculous as it is revolting.

    For one thing, why is it on 27th January, the day Auschwitz exchanged mass-murdering Nazi tyranny for mass-murdering Soviet tyranny? Why not 15th April, the day Belsen really was liberated, and that by the British? In some years, that would even coincide usefully with Easter.

    That we are prepared to have it today points to the extent to which the anti-British sectarian Left has taken over our public life, and the extent to which it has made peace with its old adversaries, also massively influential, on the anti-British sectarian Right.

    And that we really insist on having it all points to the extent to which it is so much easier, and even more fun, to concentrate on the wrongdoing of others rather than on that of ourselves.

  • Paul Doran

    Those in power, give little or no attention to these events from our history nor indeed do they learn. They said it would not happen again, it has happenned time and time again.Latin America for example thousands and thousands of Trade Unionists thrown into the Atlantic , because they seek to represent their people.Butchered in their beds,tortured, sexual abused,the endless cycle of deaths. Who Speaks of them.

    When are people the world over going to demand a new era, a world of fariness, of Justice, and equal treatment.Lifting people from Poverty, Lok what is hapeening in Haita, The damage casued now to young homeless children only a fews day gone by and they are talking about Adoption.What Trauma,Who speaks for them only a few days more and Haiti will dissapear from the TV screens left like other disaster zones to fend for themselves.

  • joeCanuck

    Whataboutery on this occasion is pretty disgusting.
    Leave it for another more relevant time.

  • Marcionite

    Whataboutery is what led to holocausts. Does the date actually matter? Murders took place every day. It’s a churlish point and one that detracts from the spirit of comemoration.

  • joeCanuck


    You’ve lost me. Are you disagreeing with me that the Whataboutery (e.g. the valid statement about the ill treatment of the Palestinians,) is inappropriate/irrelevant when talking about the Holocaust?

  • padraig

    [b]’There’s No Business Like Shoah Business'[/b]………………..

    as Norman Finkelstein, the New York born son of Holocaust Survivors said.

  • joeCanuck

    Not funny, Padraig.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “Does it also include the 1,000 Palestinian civilians murdered by the Israeli Government last year or has that been ‘conveniently ’ forgotten.”

    Let’s see, 6,000,000 is to 1,000 as 6,000 is to 1. And some omitted the gas van and the gas chamber. But, hey, let’s not have a realistic appraisal get in the way of some good, old-fashioned Jew-hating.

    “There’s No Business Like Shoah Business”

    And there’s also no business like admiring Noam Chomsky, as Norman does, and never mind, apparently, that Noam was and is apologist for the Red Khmer (or Khmer Rouge). And for how clueless Norman is, well, he’s on record as saying:

    “I think that Hizbullah represents the hope. They are fighting to defend their homeland, they are fighting to defend the independence of their country, they are defending themselves against foreign marauders, vandals and murderers and I consider it to be genuinely to be an honor to be in their presence.”

    In marked contrast, Anouar Malek has a differing view on what Hizb Allah has done to Lebanon, and call this the greatest guest appearance in TV history (as I already dubbed the appearance in the comments to the piece):

    Lastly, Norman is a self-loathing Jew, he must be, since Norman considers it “honor”, his word, to hang with Hizb Allah in the Lebanon, but yet, Hassan Nasrallah is on record as saying [New Yorker, 14 October 2002]:

    “If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.”

    So, Norman considers it “honor” to hang with the most patent of Jew-haters in the Lebanon. Kudos to you Norman.

    Almost forgot, but since turnabout is entirely fair play, death to Hizb Allah.

  • The Blow-In

    Greenflag – Your first posting here is shameful and does you no credit whatsoever.

  • PACE Parent

    How many Mayors and Chairs from Donegal were present?

  • Greenflag


    ‘ I will bring my children when they are old enough so they too can undertand.’

    Understand what exactly ? That human beings will find any excuse necessary to kill their fellow human beings ? Was’nt it Stalin who said that one death is a tragedy but 6 million is a statistic ?

    Jared Diamond in his book ‘The Third Chimpanzee’ lists in his chapter 16 (Black & White) a list of most of the holocausts 1492 through 1990 .

    The victims include Aleuts , Caribs , Tasmanians , Jews , Poles , Russians , Serbs , Bosnians Armenians , Hereros , Hindus , Moslems , Protestants , Bushmen , Ibos , South Sudanese , Ugandans, Tutsi, Hutu, Tamils , Bengalis , Cambodians , Chinese , Timorese, Political opponents (Soviet Union 1929 -1939) . The total for the 20th century alone is approx 100 million with some 20 million being the political opponents of Stalin and the Russian Communist party, and 66 million between 1917 and 1959.

    So when you gather next for next years commemoration you might want to ask the organisers to include more than just the jews and the rwandans and the bosnians .

    They could also include the local NI body count for the past 30 years and if they are really into remembrance they might want to include also the 650,000 Irish who were ‘culled’ by successive English Monarchs /during the Second Conquest 1550 through 1700 . You could throw in the Irish and Indian Famines with their total of about 29 million dead as reminder of the benefits of laissez faire ‘capitalism ‘ in the imperial age .


    The week’s goings on at Hillsborough have nothing to do with any Holocaust . They should not even be mentioned in the same breath . What’s happening at Hillsborough is shameful and pathetic and no Irish nationalist with a shred of self respect should have anything further to do with propping up this failed Assembly !

    more anon

  • RepublicanStones

    Israel does not have a monopoly on the ww2 holocaust, so such a day should not be used to score points against Israel, no matter how valid. It should be about remembering the depths of depravity that humanity is capable of and indeed the indominable spirit which such times bring out in humanity as well, the bravery, compassion, the fraternity and the will to survive.

    Now in regards to Prof Finkelstein – slappy seems to think that by supporting Hezbollah in its resistance to Israeli onslaught, means Finkelstein supports all of Nasrallahs views. I guess that means anyone who supported the british in ww2 automatically endorses the rather unsavoury views Churchill had about other races.
    Of course those of us in the real world have a little more cop on than that. Slappy by inferring such and indeed by labelling the son of holocaust survivors a self-hating jew is merely applying the standard issue response of Finkelsteins detractors, that being a complete inability to critique his scholarship, demonstrate innacurracies etc and so resort to playin the man. Ergo they think it merely enough to play the man, hence he’s a self-hater. Of course such logic demands that any gentile who supports Israel is therefore a self-hating Gentile.

  • Greenflag

    joe canuck ,

    ‘Demonization of others can lead to terrible outcomes.’

    Indeed . This does not seem to have bothered some prominent members of political parties in Northern Ireland in the past and even yet .

    Anti semitism has a long history in Europe . When people try to ‘explain’ the ‘holocaust’ of the jews and gypsies and homosexuals and the mentally ill by the Nazis words fail . How could this have happened in the world’s best educated and presumably ‘civilised ‘ country in the 1920’s and 1930’s ?

    German jews numbered less than 1% of the total population but were vastly overepresented among Germany’s professional classes and business leaders , scientists and intellectuals . Most Germans did not ‘hate’ the jews . German jews were the most ‘integrated ‘ of any jewish population in europe at the time with a quarter or more marrying out of their ‘religion ‘.

    The economic emisseration of the German lower middle class allowed those Germans who did ‘hate’ jews to climb to the top of the political heap . 120, 000 German Jews died for the ‘fatherland’ in the 1914 -1918 War . Despite their sacrifice it did not prevent the nationalist socialists from targeting this religious minority as an easy scapegoat for Germany’s economic ills .

    While it’s all very well and appropriate to commemorate the Holocaust perhaps people might also pause to think how and why it happened and was allowed to happen .

    As the 27 million American unemployed and the emisserated hundred million plus of the american middle class survey diminishing life prospects for their children and grandchildren where will they find their ‘scapegoat’ and who to ‘blame ‘ ??

    I’ve been watching a few Boston Tea Party demos on the web and I’ve noticed that the faces of immigrants and african americans and other racial minorities are absent .

  • Greenflag


    Ex USA President Carter and famous American Noam Chomsky and many Israelis in Jerusalem have spoken out against the effect of Israeli policies on the Palestinians and in particular on those in Gaza .

    btw I’m aware of Gerald Kaufman’s stance on the palestinian issue and commend him for it .

  • Greenflag

    The Blow in

    ‘Your first posting here is shameful’

    Why ?

    Hundreds of defenceless palestinian women and children killed by Israeli phosphorous bombs is also shameful .

    ‘and does you no credit whatsoever.’

    I’m not here for credit .

  • Paddy

    Israel, which was not a participant in World war 11, denied Darfur refugees sanctuary. The Holocaust industry allows Britain’s and America’s richest ethnic group, along with the rogue state of israel, to play victim. What a bore.

  • padraig

    Some of the posts here remind of why political correctness is akin to having a lobotomy. That you cannot ask questions because the Jewish people have [b]suffered[/b].

    I wouldn’t mind but its such an industry.

  • Greenflag

    padraig ,

    ‘I wouldn’t mind but its such an industry.’

    That it is and it provides nice cover all year round for what Israel is allowed to get away with in Palestine and Gaza .

    Where would Hollywood be anyway without the Nazis as number one pin up evil guys although in recent years the ‘nazis’ are running a distant second to the ‘towel heads ‘;( ? What would Combat 18 , the BNP aand the rest of the right wing dross that feast on race hate do without their role model .

    Maybe the latter two can start looking at Israel as a more modern alternative as to how to put the boot in i.e kill women and children while the so called western powers turn a blind eye ?

    Perhaps there’s a Palestinian film director out there who can direct a movie based on Israel’s 50 year long war on the Palestinian people and the manner in which it treats Palestinians ? What chance would it have of getting past Hollywood ?
    Two chances I’d bet -slim and none .

  • slappymcgroundout

    “Now in regards to Prof Finkelstein – slappy seems to think that by supporting Hezbollah in its resistance to Israeli onslaught, means Finkelstein supports all of Nasrallahs views. I guess that means anyone who supported the british in ww2 automatically endorses the rather unsavoury views Churchill had about other races.”

    Unfortunately, in relation to Nasrallah and Hizb Allah, Norman isn’t “anyone”, but instead, “nigger” (read again what Nasrallah is quoted as saying by the New Yorker). The definition of self-loathing is to be a “nigger” and see “honor” in being in the presence of those who consider you “nigger”.

    Lastly, there aren’t many Jews in the Lebanon, and the Christians who can afford to do so have been and still are leaving in droves. They understand what Norman does not. Nasrallah and Hizb Allah are no hope at all. And so you can’t operate under any illusion, one-third (1/3) of the Christian population of the Lebanon has left since 1975, reducing their population from roughly half, or 50%, down to just above one-third, or 34%. And let me leave you with Norman’s great “hope” [Lebanon Star, 28 September 2008]:

    “In the survey conducted by Information International, an independent Beirut body, many Christians cited the growing influence of March 8 faction Hizbullah in Lebanon as a reason for their decision to leave….”

    That same poll found that half of all Marionites, who are 22% of the 34% are “contemplating” leaving the place for good. That’s some “hope” brought by Hizb Allah in the Lebanon.

  • Greenflag

    slappymcgroundout ,

    I won’t argue with your numbers re the sad situation of the ‘marionites’ in Lebanon . But then was it not the Israeli Army which in it’s many invasions of Lebanon ‘recruited’ or took the side of the ‘marionites ‘ . It’s not in the least surprising that the Lebanese christians have come out the worst in the wars between Israel and it’s islamic neighbours .

    Israel has been a force for instabilty in the Lebanon over the past 30 years . It’s to be expected that a natural reaction to Israeli aggression would be a ‘hardening’ of Lebanese attitudes to ‘collaborators’ with the foreign invader !

  • RepublicanStones

    Wow Slappy, that first paragraph reads like a dimestore pyschology ‘expert’. Again I see no critique of Prof Finkelstein’s scholarship, merely an attempt at character asassination. Quite Dershowtizesque to be honest.

    Now as regards the quote from Nasrallah, unsavoury to be sure, however as the quote comes from an interview conducted by Amal Saad Ghorayeb which she actually originally attributed to Muhammad Fneish in both her book and disertation as noted by Charles Glass (who knows quite a bit about the middle east). Prof Finkelstein could probably help you discern the origins of such quotes as he is famous for his forensic attention to detail, quotes and sources etc, hell just against Alan Dershowitz. Of course this is irrelevant, because if unsavoury quotes by people from states or groups you support or sympathise with, means you are therefore condemned with them, Israeli supporters should hang their heads in shame.

    And I see now you have moved your concern from jews to christians. And as Greenie has pointed out the marionites kinda forgot the ‘lebanese’ part of their identity when Israel came calling. They should have taken a leaf out of their Greek Orthodox brethern’s book.
    But if you are so concerned about Christians, you should perhaps donate to Sabeel, they also have plenty of literature you can order, I picked up a couple of very interesting books when I was there in November….but…perhaps you don’t care about those Christians? I suppose you would get used to being stoned


    or spat on


    And I suppose you’re cool with mathematics books dropping the plus (+) symbol because it looks too christian.