Allied in Anti-Semitism – the Irish Connection


[Editor's note: This is the first installment of a four-part series. Click the following to read Part II, Part III, and Part IV.]

Many may be aware that the pro-Palestinian movement in Ireland played a particularly significant role in the Gaza flotilla incident as well as previous attempts to penetrate the Gaza blockade. After the death of nine on board the Mavi Mariner, there was a very substantial fallout with the Irish Government which prompted my letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs Michael Martin.

Tensions remained high throughout that week due to the delayed approach of the “Irish” ship, the Rachel Corrie, which was in itself something of an international incident. Martin is continuing to agitate against Israel. He called again at a European Union gathering for an international enquiry into the Gaza flotilla incident. On the June 15th, he requested that the Israeli Embassy remove a member of staff due to suspicions that Irish passports were used by Israel in the killing of Hamas’ Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January. However, he said their investigations had not discovered any links with Israel and the staff member being expelled is not suspected of wrongdoing. He asserted Israel’s involvement was an “inescapable conclusion” as the passports were used by the same group who forged British and Australian passports.

After the capture of the Rachel Corrie, it was disappointing to hear Israeli representatives state in the media that they considered the members of the ship to be human rights activists in contrast to the crew of the Mavi Mariner. This sentiment was repeated by Benjamin Netanyahu, who took the unusual step of making a statement to the Irish media released via the Israeli Embassy in Ireland on June 7th:

Yesterday, the entire world saw the difference between a humanitarian flotilla and a hate flotilla by violent, terrorism-supporting extremists. … Only on one ship, on which dozens of thugs from a terrorist organization – or, to be more precise, an extremist, terrorism-supporting organization – had prepared in advance, armed with axes, knives and other ‘cold’ weapons were our soldiers compelled to defend themselves against a tangible danger to their lives. According to the information currently in our possession, this group boarded separately in a different city, organized separately, equipped itself separately and went on deck under different procedures. In effect, they underwent no checks. The clear intent of this hostile group was to initiate a violent clash with IDF soldiers. … This is a continuous process that enemies of Israel have been orchestrating for years in order to deny Israel’s right to defend itself. It began in 2001, with an attempt to arrest Israeli officers abroad, and continued in 2004 with similar attempts. Then there was the Goldstone report, which was born after Operation Cast Lead.  This process continues today with the attempt to prevent Israel from stopping the smuggling of missiles and rockets into Gaza.

I agree with Netanyahu’s statement, but with one important exception. The opening line describes the Rachel Corrie as being part of a “humanitarian flotilla.” In the latter part, he seems to be associating the Turkish ship alone with an international movement to prevent Israel from defending itself. While I understand he wants to emphasise the difference between the Rachel Corrie and the Mavi Mariner, this is drawing too much of a distinction. The spirit of the pro-Palestinian movement in Ireland is very far from “humanitarian,” as I will illustrate.

I don’t take any pleasure in bashing my fellow countrymen, but I have to say with some regret that Ireland’s impact on Israel has been extremely negative, particularly in recent years. The conduct of the Irish participants of the Gaza flotilla and the behaviour of their allies leads only to this conclusion. This has origins in the history of the Irish state.

Ireland never had a large Jewish population – at its height, they numbered 5,000, mainly descended from immigrants fleeing the Eastern European pogroms of the late 19th Century. They are just one-fifth that number today. The Irish people inherited the Roman Catholic credo of the “perfidious Jew.” There was a common Catholic fear of Jews, Communism and freemasonry. Anti-Jewish sentiment was also very common in Irish trade unionism and amongst the working classes as in many other parts of the Western world. Jews were seen as economic aliens who exploited the Irish people as moneylenders, and as labourers preventing Irish workers from obtaining employment.

These negative stereotypes were inherited by many in the Irish republican movement which was as strongly tied to Catholicism as British Unionism was associated with Protestantism. Arthur Griffith, the founder of Sinn Fein, was notoriously anti-Semitic. He supported the most serious episode of violence towards Jews in Irish history, the Limerick Pogrom. This was a two year boycott of Jewish businesses, organised by a priest, Fr. John Creagh, in 1904, although there had been intermittent protests and attacks since 1884. The small Jewish community fled Limerick, never to return. Griffith asserted, “When Catholics – as Catholics – are boycotted, it constitutes undoubtedly an outrageous injustice, and similarly, if Jews – as Jews – were boycotted, it would be outrageously unjust. But the Jew in Limerick has not been boycotted because he is a Jew, but because he is a usurer.” His claim of just boycotting moneylenders is false, since the great majority of the Jews affected were, in fact, tradesmen, shop keepers, and tailors. It clearly echoes the “not because they’re Jews but because they’re Zionists” pro-Palestinian stance of today.

Some IRA members, such as the high ranking Sean Russell, collaborated with the Nazi’s. Many were interned during the war. Writer and IRA member Francis Stewart assisted the Nazi propaganda machine in Berlin. He was an overt anti-Semite who never regretted his role in the Third Reich. He was elected leader of Aosdána (an elitist government-funded arts group which boycotts Israel) in 1996. There was never any real confrontation with the vicious anti-Semitism of mainland Europe, and so, Ireland remained surprisingly unsympathetic even after the Holocaust. Only a tiny number of Jewish refugees were granted sanctuary in Ireland. By contrast, quite a number of shady individuals connected with the Nazi’s took refuge there. Even Nazi wartime propagandist, Lord Haw Haw, a Unionist who blamed the Jews for the expulsion of the British from Southern Ireland, was welcomed back (then deceased) for reburial in 1976. Sinn Fein still regard Russell as a patriot and commemorated him with a statue in 2004.

Many in Ireland identified with the Palestinian cause, albeit mistakenly in my view, not just in moral terms but also because Irish history bears significant similarities with that of the Jews. “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland intensified in the late 1960s around the same time the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) became more active. In the 70s, Sinn Fein publicly supported the Palestinian cause and identified the PLO as kindred spirits. The IRA and the PLO became extremely close. They learnt a lot from each other (strategy and terrorist technique) and often trained together. The IRA received substantial funding and military aid from Colonel Gadafi, and also collaborated with Hamas and Hizullah.

After Sinn Fein gained political acceptance in the 1990s, they remained extreme in their criticism of Israel. They have demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland and advocated boycott. Aengus O’Snodaigh (MP) described Israel as “without doubt one of the most abhorrent and despicable regimes on the planet.” When the Israeli Ambassador explained the cause of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, O’Snodaigh repeatedly compared him to Goebbels. He was one of the politicians who attempted to sail on the flotilla, but was turned away by the Cypriot authorities.

  • ben

    The whole this is so puzzling…sad even. The Jews in Palestine suffered under the British at least as much as the Irish did in Ireland. The British would shoot to kill Jews trying to enter Palestine, and may Jews were in fact killed trying to enter the country. The British gave weapons and support to the Jews' Arab enemies, and encourage chasing Jews from areas with Arab majority populations. British officers even commanded the Arab armies that invaded the fledgling Israel, and were pivotal in taking Jerusalem away from the Jews until 1967. The Irish have a lot more in common with the Israelis than with the Palestinians…and they did their own cause great harm by allying themselves with Arab usurper terrorists. I love Irish musicians though…the whole thing saddends me greatly, as a people I have great fondness for show such unfettered hatred towards me and my people.

    • Alan

      look the reality is for the most part there is no unfettered hatred you will always have a few unfortunately but it is the vast minority the problem is not with the Jewish people but with the actions of the Israeli government furthermore no one in their right mind supports Hamas the I.R.A and that picture at the top of the page does not represent the view of the average Irish republican let alone the average Irish person and never has

    • So Sad

      "unfettered hatred towards me and my people"- Ha ha, I've never heard such an expression of self-pitying, ridiculously exaggerated victimhood in all my life- Oh, on the other hand, not since the last post by a typically war-mongering ultra-agressive Israeli fascist apologist, cloaking themselves in the laughable sanctimonious martyrdom that passes for argument on this website. -"Oh – some Paddy farted in an Israeli elevator- These Irish are the most anti-semetic creatures on the planet and we will never ever forget this insult to our people!!!!".
      God help the Palestinians.

  • euwei choi

    In a Large Northern American City one can easily see the Prejudices of "The Irish"
    And once they GET DRUNK they DON'T try to hide it.

    • Alan

      first of all the people in said north american city are not Irish they are AMERICAN!!!!!!!! calling them Irish does not make it so. As for the drunken Irish stereotype thats just lazy that being said it's no more than i would expect

    • Jack

      Yes. But I can tell you that as a Jew Irish Catholic girls give great oral sex, particularly after they have imbibed several mugs of Guinness. Real sluts.

      • masscon

        So is that what Jewish men think of us? They can get us drunk and we'll put out? Thanks for letting me know.

  • Anti-Fascist18

    Didn't the bastard – and sorry, spared because he was an American citizen born in New York, DeValera pay a condolence call at the NAZI German Embassy (stayed open throughout the war, providing information to U Boats) in Dublin on May 4, 1945 on the occasion of Hitler's death?

    Too bad the British didn't shoot the bugger.

    Case closed. Michael Martin is an Arabist tit-sucker.

  • Michael Pat

    Unfortunately it is true that the more republican and leftist elements in Ireland and the Irish media and most of the government are very anti-Israel, and they falsely draw a parallel between the situation in Gaza today and that in Ireland a century or more ago. A study of the facts of history would easily prove them wrong, but in the debate on Israel facts are often drowned out by passion.
    Given the abuse of Israel in the public forum in Ireland, I am amazed that Netanyahu and the Israeli government are even bothered to treat Ireland with so much consideration and courtesy.

    • david

      this passion you speak of being hatred of Jews.

    • Jack

      Thats because Irish businessmen (people who actually work and create businesses) don't give a squat for what these fat mouthed pols and academics spout. Ireland and Israel are both Hi-Tech. This is true of much of Western Europe, for that matter. There is a disconnect between businessmen and the crap in their academies, newspapers, and fat mouthed pols. Trust me, I know..I have been to western europe many times and those who actually create industry don't much listen to these "useful" idiots. Its all about banking, globalization, capital.

    • Steve

      Michael Pat. You are spot on. I didnt hear any Irish protesting when those planes flew into the world trade center in New York. The palestinians who they support were handing out sweets in the streets celebrating it. I am Irish and I support the right of Israel to exist. The Palestinians want to destroy Israel and then after they have achieved that objective its time for Sharia law in Europe.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/themadjewess themadjewess

    Out of all of the people I have ever met, the Irish are REALLY Jew hating. Its amazing considering they are so small.

    • Alan

      There is a dramatic difference between disagreeing with Israeli governmental policies and being Jew hating as you so eloquently put it. I'm offended by the inference that Irish people are inherently anti-semitic it's simply not true and for anyone to state otherwise simply proves them guilty of the type prejudice they are railing against

      • jaythehistorian

        The motto of 2010 version of the Jew hater is "There's a difference between disagreeing with Israel governmental ….. etc etc". Catholics are certainly not taught how wonderful Jews are.during their studies in Catholic schools. In contrast, in the deep South, while of course there are Jew haters, there are Christian Zionists who support Israel more strongly than most American Jews.

        Alan; when is the Irish ship and convoy leaving for Kurdistan to protest the continued murder of Kurds.. . When is the Irish ship scheduled to sail to Turkey and through the Bosporus to deliver aid and protest the mistreatment of the Armenians. .
        Why don't you have the courage to admit you and other Irish hate Jews. But now it is different. No one will ever remove Jews from their Eternal homeland. Jews will not let a boat load of degenerative alcoholic Jew haters interfere with it's rightful self defense. You Irish during WWII were the biggest traitors in the country. American Jews want to pretend the US has been a Garden of Eden. They deliberately hide how cowardly Irish mobs supported by the predominantly Irish police departments of NYC and Boston had regular programs against American Jews. But now we have our own country. Just as the Irish suffered a holocaust, the Jews ,now that they have a country will do whatever is necessary to protect it's people. Jews may be the universal scapegoats but the Good Lord did bless Ashkenazi Jews with by far the highest mean IQ. This is pertinent because Einstein and several other Jewish scientists made David Ben Gurion promise he would never sign the NNPT because they knew Jews most have be able to nuke the next Hitler. Edward Teller the inventor of the H bomb, spent several months per year from the early 1950s to the early 60s helping Israel develop an H bomb.So a boat load of Jew haters, or a Muslim US President with a below average IQ, will not stop Jews from protecting themselves.

        • Alan

          first of all i don't hate jewish people i genuinely empathize with Jewish people they are the only people in the world that have been fucked over consistently for longer than we irish have. However I have to ask how it can be deemed that i hate jews because i disagree with some of the israeli governmental decisions i disagree with almost all of the current irish government's decisions does that make me a self hating irish person. I don't want people to take away your right to defend yourselves but there are innocent people on both sides who's lives are being decimated by horrible governmental decisions on both sides. As for higher mean IQ you don't really believe that do you IQ has little to do with intelligence it has far more to do with the educational opportunities a given person has IQ tests were originally used to try to racially denigrate black people now you are using the same flawed techniques to claim superiority for your particular race it would be funny if you weren't so ardent in your belief that such a statement legitimizes anything you say

          • ilan

            I have a friend from Ireland. His response to me when I told him Israelis have been attacked since 1948 there day of creation as well as before in that land by the mufti of jerusalem in the 30's and the general history of oppression towards jews didn't justify them having a homeland. His response was if jews want to stop being hated why can't they just stop being jews. His girlfriend says worse to me. Every irish person I have met has made ANTI JEWISH comments not anti Israel comments. BTW using terms such as nazi state and apartheid state when they are 100 percent untrue to vilify israel is a form of anti semetism. Criticizing settlements isn't

        • masscon

          "They deliberately hide how cowardly Irish mobs supported by the predominantly Irish police departments of NYC and Boston had regular programs against American Jews." I grew up in Boston and never heard of any of this. Can you be more specific?

    • Jack

      Is that a measurement of their male genitalia? The Irish have been referred to as "Bog Trotting, Masturbating, Wife Beaters."

      • Alan

        the first part of your comment makes no sense so i'll ignore that stupidity, as to the bigoted nonsense you spewed after that if you want to criticizes antisemitism maybe you should be less of a racist cuntbag yourself

  • Patrick

    I would like to clarify what people will no doubt view as an "argument ad Hitlerum" towards the Irish.

    The Irish maintained neutrality in the war largely because they had a Holocaust of their own that they were trying to recover from. British-imposed slavery and genocide in Ireland was a reality for hundreds of years, much less 5.

    Apathy towards WWII should have been typical and feelings of rage and indignation should be understood from Irish when the Holocaust is taught in every civilized classroom, and not even a rumor of British genocide enters a textbook.

    In reality, Ireland and Israel have much in common.

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    I'm afraid that the author of this article has completely misrepresented the experiences of the Jewish community in Ireland and has cherry-picked his facts in order to suit the argument he is trying to make.

    The attitude towards the modern state of Israel currently found on the left or centre-left of Irish politics is in line with that of the majority of western Europeans, but that does not mean they reflect Ireland's historic attitudes to the Jewish people or indeed any form of anti-Semitism. To be critical of Israel and its policies in relation to Occupied Palestine is not a form of anti-Semitism – no matter how much those who defend Israel's actions wish it to be so.

    The historical facts, rather than the a-historical slant above, show that Ireland has always been tolerant of the Jewish community that formed part of our nation, and that such outbreaks of anti-Semitism that did occur were few and far between, and again, often fitted into a current European trend. In fact, Ireland, if anything, bucked the broad trend of European culture and was more like late 19th century France or early 20th century Germany for most of its modern history in its easy assimilation of the Irish-Jewish community.

    The so-called Limerick pogrom remains so notorious simply because it was so out of character, and out of step with Irish and Irish-Jewish relations. But even the most ardent wish fulfilment cannot inflate what was a small scale affair, however tragic for those who suffered from it, into some grand evidence of an anti-Semitic streak in Irish Nationalist or Republican politics. In fact all the evidence we have proves it was the other way around.

    In the mid and late 19th century Irish Republicans in Ireland and overseas made common cause with Jewish born radicals on the left in Europe and the United States. There were close political and revolutionary ties between Zionist groups and Irish Republican groups such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood (the IRB: popularly known as the Fenians). These ties continued right up to the time of the Irish Revolution.

    Pádraig Mac Piarais (Patrick Pearse), the Irish revolutionary, poet and writer, and one of the founding fathers of the Irish Republic, had very close friends in Dublin’s radicalised Jewish community, and in fact was invited by Irish Jewish students to address a meeting in the British Unionist dominated Trinity College in Dublin that was banned by college authorities. Instead a massive open-air debate was staged by the students that Mac Piarais addressed on the issue of Home Rule for Ireland.

    Many Irish Jews supported and were active in the Irish Republican movement during the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent Irish War of Independence. The Briscoe family for instance was heavily involved with the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin and went on to help found the current government party in Ireland, Fianna Fáil (the Republican Party). The chief rabbi of Ireland during this period was condemned by the British as the ‘Sinn Féin Rabbi’ because of his outspoken support for the Irish cause, and like other members of the Jewish community suffered the wrath of the British Occupation Forces. There are numerous accounts of Dublin’s Jewish community hiding arms and equipment, men and documents, on behalf of the Republican movement. During the debates and negotiations surrounding the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Irish and Jewish/Zionist leaders again made common cause, creating alliances that lasted for decades.

    In fact the greatest threat to Ireland’s Jews came not from Irish Republicans but from the virulent and violent anti-Semitism that swept Britain during WWI and that the British Unionist minority in Ireland embraced wholesale. Look to the speeches of British Unionist leaders in Ireland in the 1910s and ‘20s and the language bears a marked similarity to the language of 1930s and ‘40s Germany. And much of the ensuing violence was the same.

    • Giúdach Éireannach

      Bhuel a chur, a Shéamais!

      Thanks for decent posts! I know most of the things you've mentioned, but some details are new to me. Indeed, quite a few Jews were prominent members of Sinn Féin and IRA. Amazingly many, given the tiny size of the Jewish community.

      And it was not just a tactical alliance. The mother and the aunt of the renown Irish writer David Marcus, Fanny and Molly Goldberg, were in CnaB; the ‘Sinn Féin Rabbi’, Isaac Herzog, spoke Gaelic and admired the Irish culture.

      But the most important point is that criticizing Israel and supporting the Palestinians, or even rejecting the state of Israel outright, doesn't turn someone into an antisemite. But accusing 'the Irish' in antisemitism (or drinking or whatever) is blatant racism.

      I'm politically an anarchist. My socio-political views are close to Indymedia and some other radical left sites, which the author of this article calls 'antisemitic'. I believe that all states and hierarchic power structures in general are a bad idea, but Israel is particularly bad. It is an apartheid regime, permeated with chauvinism toward the Arabs and Muslims. Zionism used to be a diverse Jewish national liberation movement, but it had mutated long ago into a self-contradicting odd remnant of British colonial legacy.

      But I also happen to be a traditional Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jew. The author of this article would have a hard time, trying to prove that I'm a 'self-hating' Jew. There are many Jews, who reject Zionism for a number of religious, humanitarian, cultural, political and philosophical reasons. So what? The states are not holy cows, they come and go. IMHO, the ancient Celtic Ireland was better than today's capitalist states in many ways. A state and a country are two very different things. If a Korean 'demonizes' the North Korean state, does it make him an 'self-hating anti-Korean'? It merely makes him a radical thinker.

      As an addition, I also happen to be an Irish citizen with family links going back to noble Celtic clans. So, what am I really: a 'self-hating Jew', a living proof of 'jewish leftist conspiracy' or a terrible 'Irish antisemite'? The real life doesn't fit into the stupid stereotypes…

      • An Sionnach Fionn

        Thanks for the reply. I've only become aware of it now. I could have written several hundred more posts on Irish-Jewish (or Israeli) relations but hopefully the ones I added were enough to show up the anti-Irish nonsense for what it is. The presence of Fanny Goldberg Molly Goldberg in the revolutionary Cumann na mBan I only became of recently. There are some wonderful stories out there crying out to be told :-)

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    As for Éamon de Valera, this is the man recognised by Ireland’s Jewish community and the state of Israel as a friend of Jewish people. It was de Valera who specifically incorporated protection for the Jewish community in Ireland into the 1937 new and republican Constitution of Ireland, after consulting a number of his close Jewish friends (friends who had hid and protected him from the British during the Irish Revolution – and the Free State forces during the subsequent Civil War), in particular the Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Isaac Herzog (the father of Chaim Herzog) who was a close confident. De Valera saw what was happening in Europe with the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism long before any other statesman of the time and made sure Ireland’s Jews had legal and constitutional protection.

    De Valera also made sure that some Jewish refuges did reach Ireland during WWII and in the ensuing Cold War realignments in Eastern Europe; often in the face of opposition from the Irish civil service bureaucracy that was still dominated by a core of Unionist-minded civil servants left over from the days of British colonial rule. To express their gratitude Ireland’s Jewish community arranged the planting and dedication of the Éamon de Valera Forest in Israel in the 1960s in recognition of his consistent support for Ireland's Jews.

    I could go through the rest of the article but I think this is enough to show that it is an unfair representation of the historic links between the Irish and Jewish peoples. Links that continue despite the slightly colder relationships that currently prevail (in large part because of Israel’s recent actions).

    Ireland is a friend of Israel: but not an uncritical one. And articles like the one above do not represent the reality, and the totality, of that friendship.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/themadjewess themadjewess

      Seamus;

      Occupied Palestine

      There is no 'palestine' on a map to be occupied.

  • Ric

    Seamus it does appear that you have cherry-picked your facts in order to suit the argument you is trying to make

    You are misrepresenting what the article says. The article did not say the Irish attitude towards Israel was exceptional other than the over-representation of the Irish on the Flotillas and the links with the IRA and PLO. There is no explicit reference to the notion that criticising Israel is inherently anti-Semitic. The impression I get is that there are links with the anti-Semitism of the past and the hatred of Israel today but it is not an absolutist black and white inference that all criticism of Israel is inherently anti-Semitic. Ease of the pro-Pal propaganda.

  • Ric

    I’m afraid Ireland has not “always” been tolerant of the Jewish community. There is a traditional 19th century song from Dublin (the name escapes me) that refers to Jews killing children. Nonetheless the treatment of Jews in Ireland has been better than many parts of Europe. That may in part be because there were not a significant number of Jews in Ireland until the late 19th Century so I wouldn’t put it down to some sort of Irish “1000 welcomes” benevolence. Late 19th Century France (the Dreyfuss affair etc.) and early 20th Century Germany and Austria both had serious problems with anti-Semitism so your comparisons show you don’t know much about the issue.

  • Ric

    The Limerick Pogrom was not a small scale affair. There was violence towards Jews since Easter Sunday 1884 since they were evident Christ killers. It wasn’t that significant compared to the violence Jews experienced in mainland Europe but it was still a very nasty affair indeed. Whether you like it or not there was an anti-Semitic streak in Republicanism – the evidence is there whether you like it or not. There was plenty of anti-Semitic material in the United Irishman – the primary Republican newspaper in Ireland. Just because the Jews in Ireland weren’t treated as badly as in other European nations does not refute that.

  • Ric

    I’ll take your word that Paddy Pearse had friends in the Jewish community and was invited by Jewish students to speak at TCD but the words “big” and “deal” come to mind.

    Yes a good number of Irish Jews involved in the Irish national movement. Irish nationalism clearly wasn’t consistently anti-Semitic and in any case Jewish people have involved themselves in what they considered good causes even if they weren’t always completely welcome. Sounds a bit unlikely that there was Irish and Jewish/Zionist alliances that lasted for decades – if there were they certainly weren’t significant. I can’t recall any reciprocity from the Irish side if there were. There wasn’t much support for the state of Israel form Irish quarters when it was founded. Ireland only invited Israel to establish an Israeli Embassy in the early 1990’s.

    Its plain crap to say the British unionists were more anti-Semitic than the Irish republicans. It was anglo-Irish families who took the Jews of Limerick in after the Catholics gave them a good bashing. Yes there was some anti-Semitic sentiment in Unionism but it was no worse than that of Irish republicanism and not on as wide a scale.

  • Ric

    I didn’t see any mention of Éamon de Valera in the article. De Valera was not anti-Semitic AFAIK but if “de Valera saw what was happening in Europe with the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism long before any other statesman of the time” he notably did not allow many Jewish refuges into Ireland during WWII despite your contention. Your contention that Unionist minded civil servants stopped more coming is simply an absurdity. Who was in power? Irish politicians knew there would be scenes of outrage of a significant number of Jewish refugees came to Ireland. They let in a small number of Jewish children after the Holocaust but only temporarily. A generous friend indeed.

  • Msg. Barry O'Toole

    As I am geneticly half Irish I read this piece with great sadness but not with much skepticism. I blame the Catholic Church (which I still in many ways love) for this. The Church makes too much of the mob of Temple employees calling for Jesus to be crucified. They were at the very biggest only a small fraction of the Jewish Community even in Jerusalem. Sadly this anti-Semitism persists to this day if somewhat less obvious.

  • Frank Adam

    The British did not shoot De Valera in 1916 just because he was US born and his mother was still in New York. In 1916 the UK was angling for US benevolent neutrality and eventual US entry into WW I on the allied side and to have shot an Irish America would have been very poor politics when the Germans were losing US sympathy with their U-boat campaign, .
    Dev like Napoleon, Nehru in India, and the Tudors in English history is another illustration that the hottest nationalists come from the fringes.

  • callie

    This article is quite true indeed. I am Irish American and after the war many Nazi's got to come to Ireland because they fought the most hated Brits. We hate the Brits and history shows rightfully so.
    As for Israel, yes, we have more in common in terms of values and beliefs with Jews than with Hamas but our hard headed leaders and the lot who make noise are the ones who get heard. If Hamas would release Shalit, recognize Israel and stop the rockets the blockage would stop. If Ireland is a friend to the Palestinians in Gaza then help free them from Hamas!
    Enough nonsense, Hamas is corrupt, evil and murderous even of their own people. We Irish should wake up and remember who we are and where we come from.
    We don't want others to suffer under the tyrants and the mullahs.

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    The implication of the article was clearly that there is an inherent anti-Semitism in the Irish Nationalist and Republican tradition and a series of ‘facts’ were presented to prove that contention.

    As someone who comes from that tradition I know the claim to be completely untrue. Furthermore the alleged facts were anything but factual but were instead simple distortions of reality. An argument straight from the Glenn Beck School of ‘history’.

    If you had instead put forward criticism of some on the left wing of contemporary Irish Republicanism for falling in with the broad, and at times extreme, hostility to Israel found throughout the left and centre-left in Europe I would have had some sympathy with that argument. It is one I have made myself. If you had then gone on to point out the similarities in history between the Irish and Jewish peoples, and the historic links between Irish and Jewish Nationalists, you would have been on far firmer ground.

    Disparaging remarks like ‘Pro-Pal’ propaganda reveal a mindset that is intent on making the facts suit the agenda that is being pursued, and misrepresenting Irish history.
    Late 19th century France had problems with anti-Semitism because the French Jewish community had become so fully integrated within broader French society. Likewise the Jewish community in Germany had become fully integrated into society there – hence the true horror and self-mutilation of German society perpetrated by the Nazis in the 1930s and ‘40s.
    In Ireland the integration of Jews into Irish society did not lead to the reactions that were seen in other European nations at any time in our history. The so-called Limerick pogrom was, quite literally, a one-ff affair that the majority of Irish Republicans decried and opposed at the time, and did not affect broader relations in Irish society. Otherwise explain the support of the Jewish community, especially in Dublin and Belfast, for the Irish Nationalist cause, at the risk of their own lives and property? Explain the presence of Jews in the ranks of the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin?

    The pogrom in Limerick city, while indeed nasty, was a tiny affair compared to the daily reality of life for Jews in other places in contemporary Europe.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jaythehistorian jaythehistorian

    To add to my impression that the majority of Irish dislike Jews because they were Jews, I recall going out with my family to a restaurant . My mother in law's close friend was one of the those rare Jews who were born in Ireland . Our waitress was also from Ireland. When the Irish Jew treated the waitress as a fellow Irish women and began talking about Ireland, the slutty waitress clearly didn't feel any kinship with the Irish Jew. She made that clear by commenting the section of Dublin the Irish Jewish women was from, was "where the rich live". She knew not to add the word Jew but she clearly was hostile. Of course I was with the typical American Jews who suffer from magical thinking i.e. if you pretend non Jews like you , they will like you and ignored the hostile bitch.

    • Chaim

      That's funny. I once was in a restaurant where I saw a woman speak in a condescending tone to a lowly waitress. The waitress was unresponsive and after she returned to the kitchen, the wealthy-looking customer proceeded to denigrate and make insulting remarks to her companions about the waitress, calling her a "slutty Irish bitch".
      Of course, the real issue is that the customer was Jewish and the waitress was naturally an anti-semetic Irish slut, like the majority of the Irish. Of course.
      This website is full of people like you, hiding behind the sanctity of religion, cloaking themselves in holy shrouds, where critical voices become insults to the Divine.
      All of you here in one place – Frauds. Charlatans. Liars. Deceivers. Bad Spirits.

  • Ric

    Seamus I also come from a Republican tradition albeit perhaps not as overtly as yourself. My grandfather was a member of the “Original” IRA and fought the British forces in 1920-21. I recall amusing stories such as where he would refuse to speak to old friends and neighbours if he caught them reading “The Independent” etc. However, he reacted strongly to the actions of the Provisional IRA which he regarded as debased immoral terrorism like many of his time. There is also criticism of modern Irish Republicanism and this appears to only be Part One of the article lol

    I don’t know how many Irish Republicans opposed the pogrom but remember the point was not made to damn wider society and to imply that Jews were treated like this everywhere in Ireland. However, key members did support it. Authur Griffith very vocally indeed. I already explained why the Jews supported Irish Republicanism. Similarly why did so many white people speak up for and support people like Malcolm X who vocally expressed hatred of whites.

  • Ric

    Seamus you accuse others of agendas and distorting/misrepresenting Irish history but do prove one single “fact” in the article to actually be untrue. You can’t and you know you won’t get away with it. You call them “alleged facts” – yet this is well known fairly standard historic material. All you do is accuse others of distortion and offer highly selective facts of your own to attempt to prove your own agenda – namely “there never ever ever ever was any anti-Semitism in the proud Irish Republican movement”. The article was clearly not intended to be some sort of thesis but to address certain facets of anti-Semitism in Irish history which is an entirely legitimate endeavour. It clearly was not intended to be a comprehensive account but does contrast the genocial anti-Semitism found elsewhere with the sentence “There was never any real confrontation with the vicious anti-Semitism of mainland Europe” which makes clear it wasn’t nearly as bad in Ireland but there was a failure to confront the implications of the Holocaust.

  • Ric

    Seamus. The Limerick Pogrom (that you repeatedly refer to as the “so called”) was not a one off affair. There were anti-Semitic incidents for 20 years before the actual pogrom took place. According to Scottish historian Ian S Wood in his book “Britain, Ireland and the Second World War” (2010), many people in Ireland thought the Holocaust images that appeared in the media were forged by the British. After they were shown not to be there was a resurgence in Limerick (now little known) of anti-Semitism. Seems they weren’t content to chuck them out after all.

    You compared late 19th Century France with how it was in Ireland. There was greater integration but nationalism encouraged Jews to completely divest themselves of their Jewish identity. Some did but many didn’t or did just partially. No argument there. However, France and Germany/Austria were extremely anti-Semitic at the time so from your own perspective if you wish to defend Ireland of the charge of anti-Semitism you made a mistake. It was during this time that the strains of what would become a more racially based anti-Semitism became prominent.

  • Ric

    Seamus. You appear to deny there is any pro-Palestinian propaganda. That is an absurdity. Whether a person agrees with their cause or not the Palestinian propaganda machine spews out constantly. If you deny there is any such thing as Palestinian propaganda no doubt you also deny there are darker anti-Semitic elements in this movement too.

    The Limerick pogrom was a nasty affair in its own right so don’t try to say it is otherwise. Comparing it to the ghastly pogroms in Europe does not make it any the less so. You stated in your initial post “even the most ardent wish fulfilment cannot inflate what was a small scale affair, however tragic for those who suffered from it, into some grand evidence of an anti-Semitic streak in Irish Nationalist or Republican politics. In fact all the evidence we have proves it was the other way around.”/. Ardent wish fulfilment indeed. You have an ugly attitude towards the entire issue. It was not established as a proof of an anti-Semitic streak in republicanism but as a signifier of it generally.

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    Unfortunately two of my Comments answering directly some of the points made in the main article were submitted to review by the Administrator and since they didn’t appear I presume they were deleted – though why is open to question… So I will try again.
    The charge of anti-Semitism against Éamon de Valera has been answered and proved to be a base lie.

    The charge of anti-Semitism against Arthur Griffith is on far firmer ground. Yes Griffith displayed an intolerant attitude to Jews in Ireland (and beyond, in fact), associating them with international Freemasonry and the like (in Ireland in the early 1900s the Freemasons were closely allied to British rule, and linked to the infamous Unionist Orange Order). But it is widely acknowledged that this was part of a broader anti-immigrant/anti-British thrust to Griffith’s beliefs than a specifically anti-Jewish stand. Griffith was man of incredible contrasts. Though given to anti-Semitic utterances he became close friends with the Irish Republican activist and lawyer Michael Noyk – who was also a leading member of the Dublin Jewish community! The two worked closely together in the Republican Movement during the War of Independence and Griffith’s attitudes towards Jews in the years before his death stand in stark contest to his earlier beliefs, a well documented and recognised conversion.

    Furthermore Griffith was an Irish Nationalist, not a Republican. Both he and his Sinn Féin party came under Republican influence much later (primarily via the IRB), which is why Griffith supported the 1921 Treaty with the British and became a Free Stater. I’m afraid you show a basic lack of knowledge of the complexities of Irish history.

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    As to the fact that anti-Semitism in Ireland was largely confined to the British Unionist minority in Ireland, that is beyond dispute and I’m surprised you even attempt to challenge such a well known and established fact.

    During WWI Britain was swept by an anti-Semitic rage, primarily because of the association with Jews with Germany (thanks to their very successful integration into Imperial Germany’s society), and because some believed there was an international conspiracy to bring down the British Empire. This was made worse by the Russian Revolution which again was presented by many as a Jewish inspired Bolshevik conspiracy on a global scale. Among the cheerleaders of this anti-Semitic wave was one Winston Churchill, whose White Russian allies were responsible for the slaughter of 100,000 Jews – which he championed, while advocating similar wholesale mass murder for the Irish! British Unionist in Ireland embraced this anti-Jewish hatred and in the infamous Northern Pogroms of the 1920s along with tens of thousands of Irish men, women and children ethnically cleansed form the North of Ireland by the Unionists and their British allies were large numbers of the Jewish community in the north-east of the country, including several prominent Jewish-born Labour leaders. These refugees found a new and welcoming home in this part of the country.

    The article itself names the infamous William Joyce (Lord Ha Haw) who was an American-born British Unionist in Ireland who aided the British Occupation Forces during the War of Independence and was forced to flee into exile in Britain, where he became a British Fascist. His return to Ireland for reburial in the 1970s was an entirely private family affair, and had nothing to do with either the Irish Government or any other organisation. The insinuation that it had official sanction is a blatant lie.

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    As for the Irish Republican Army GHQ officer, Séan Russell, his opposition to Nazism and Fascism was well-known, and it was simple expediency that drove him to seek aid from Germany during WWII (as did many other national minorities around Europe). In this he was opposed by many in the Republican Movement, causing splits and resignations. Another part of his motive in going to Germany was to secure the release and return to Ireland of the famous former-IRA Volunteer Frank Ryan, who had served with the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War fighting the Fascists and their Nazi allies with many other Irishmen, and had been captured and later brought to Germany where he was held in captivity until his death.

    While Russell may have been naive in his dealings with Germany he was neither a Nazi, Fascist or anti-Semite, and publically expressed this while in Germany and at the risk of his own life.

    Again the points put forward in the article are a series of fantasies, distorted versions of reality based upon half-truths, lies and manipulation.

    And again I make the point: if the argument was the kneejerk willingness of some contemporary Irish Republicans on the left wing of Irish politics to condemn all actions by Israel out of hand I would something in that argument to agree with. I have had that debate many times. But if the argument is to tarnish Irish Republican history with the base and evil charge of anti-Semitism then I vigorously disagree. That is simply untrue.
    Anti-Semitism is an evil, pernicious thread that runs throughout Western Civilization and I’m sure has found fertile ground in Ireland as elsewhere in the world. But not to the extant implied in the article above, and certainly not with the movement or most of the individuals named.

    Historical facts please, not made-up history. For is that not one of the essences of anti-Semitism – false, invented and distorted histories?

  • Ric

    Seamus – No need for conspiracy theories – plenty of strong content that gets on. The problem with you Seamus is that you keep talking but don’t do any listening. Again I say there is no reference to Éamon de Valera in the article so why do you think there was any charge against him. This is going in circles.

    Griffith did more than display an intolerant attitude towards Jews. He was an anti-Semite – even when it was proven that Dreyfus was conspired against he still chose to believe he was guilty. This is a classic attribute of anti-Semitism – hate despite all evidence to the contrary. Yeah he was a friend of a single Jew – again I say big deal. Even Hitler let the Jewish doctor who saved his mother’s life leave Germany. If Griffith softened towards Jews later in life good for him but the point is that he was at his most active as one of the influential main architects of Irish nationalism he was vocally anti-Semitic. Please save the freemasonry associations – most of the Jews in Ireland were poor Eastern Europeans who had left everything behind – only paranoid anti-Semites like Griffith could associate them with it.

  • Ric

    Yes I did know that Griffith initially supported a sort of dual nationalism like Austria-Hungary. It is taught in Leaving Certificate History. However, ultimately the difference between nationalism and republicanism is pretty minor. Griffith was still a leader of the overall movement – the same movement that led towards eventual Republicanism in Ireland – thus his stance is entirely relevant. He was extremely vocal as a leader of this movement – an intellectual influence which is undeniable. The fact that he became a free stater did not change this – it was simply a schism of the entire movement.

    You may be surprised that I challenge the notion that anti-Semitism was not confined to British Unionism. I’m not at all surprised you attempt to challenge the notion that there was a strain of anti-Semitism in Republicanism because as a republican you seem totally unwilling to see any negatives in your own movement. Note there was no contention the movement was an anti-Semitic movement like fascism in Germany – just that there was a strain in it which wasn’t that terribly unusual at the time. This is a fairly modest claim but no it distresses you to acknowledge anything that sullies your precious beliefs.

  • Ric

    There were something akin to pogroms in Northern Ireland but don’t forget there were similar conditions in the South where tens of thousands fled to the North and the UK especially after around 20 or so Protestants were killed in West Cork – oh sorry I suppose your Republican truth filter must have removed that. There was no pogrom in the North orientated specifically at Jews so that point is not relevant. If there were Jews driven out like the Catholics then it was due to their political allegiances rather than any specific anti-Semitic motive unlike (please note) the Limerick Pogrom.

    I know that William Joyce was a Unionist – it is stated in the article. There is no insinuation in the article that there was official sanction for the reburial but his remains were welcomed back into Ireland by the community despite the fact the war had only ended 30 years before and despite the fact he was a Unionist at a time when Republican sentiment was much stronger than today. That says something. You see the article as a singular attack on republicanism but it isn’t since it mentions Joyce as well.

  • Ric

    Yes there were anti-Semitic reactions to Russian communism etc. but this was common territory with Jewish territory. It spread all over the world so the UK was no exception but the article my dear friend was on Ireland and relates to a few basic facts which yes also involve Irish republicanism since it was a dominant force in Ireland at the time. Don’t try to confuse the issue. Winston Churchill did support the White Russians but was in no way responsible for their attacks. Do you not think he would be condemned if he had advocated the slaughter of 100,000 Jews? Of course he would. He was one of the few consistent allies of Israel even though he committed the folly of establishing Trans-Jordan in 1922.

    The fact remains that many Republicans threw their lot in with Nazi Germany. This is very well known. Your friend de Valera interned many in the Republican movement because they sought to compromise neutrality by using the Nazi’s against Britain. It would have been a disastrous strategy for Ireland. Some say Russell was naïve in his collaboration but the fact remains that he did collaborate so his opposition couldn’t have been that strong to their movement.

  • Ric

    Say what you like about Russell but ultimately the Jury is out on his real intentions. It is interesting the Republicans decided to honour him in 2004. Many objected to his statue in Dublin. Seriously can the well known violence toward the Jews and events like Kristallnacht have worried him all that terribly?

    You wrote: “Again the points put forward in the article are a series of fantasies, distorted versions of reality based upon half-truths, lies and manipulation.”. Another choice quote: “Historical facts please, not made-up history. For is that not one of the essences of anti-Semitism – false, invented and distorted histories?”. I asked you clearly to say what facts were untrue but you have failed to do so despite your verbose lengthy posts. That is pathetic behaviour – overt propaganda on your part. Don’t be afraid of the truth. Stop name calling and do some serious critical thinking of your beloved provos.

    The article criticises modern Sein Feiners like Aengus Goebbels O’Snodaigh who is leftist AFAIK. The article only mentions a few republican luminaries that were anti-Semitic. There are others aswell. All I ask is for you to have the grace to stop pretending things are being said that clearly aren’t.

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    This so-called article is nothing more than a rehash of the lies and distortions published by the right-wing British historian and writer Simon Sebag Montefiore in an article that appeared in the Spectator magazine in Britain in 1997, in the tail end of the war in the North of Ireland. The Spectator is a right wing British Unionist and nationalist publication and the article was part and parcel of its anti-Irish agenda, and was recognised as such.

    This is simply the same tired old lies, all of which were disproved in the original article by a long line of Irish and American academics, being pushed again. It is the British equivalent of the ‘Elders of Zion’ nonsense, except aimed at the Irish Republican movement in Ireland, and just as vile.

    Griffith was most active as an Irish Nationalist in the middle of the Irish War of Independence – when he was close friends’ with several members of Dublin’s Jewish community. And the charges of specific anti-Semitism have long ago been looked into and found to be untrue, being tied into wider issues of Griffith’s attitudes to British Unionism in Ireland: foolishly so on Griffith’s part and to his discredit. Griffith’s own daughter acted as a flower-girl at the Jewish wedding of his Jewish and Republican friend Michael Noyk in the midst of the Irish Revolution!

    I am no fan of Arthur Griffith, and I blame him as one of those who betrayed the 1916-1923 Irish Republic and for being part of the group of small ‘n’ Nationalists who instigated the Civil War in Ireland, from the so-called Free State side. So I have no interest in defending his name or reputation – except where lies and falsehoods are being charged against him.

  • Séamas Ó Sionnaigh

    The differences between Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism is why in part a Civil War was fought in Ireland from 1922-1923! Yet again the complex nature and subtleties of Irish history and politics elude you.

    Now we have a repetition of the lies made by Peter Hart, the Anglo-Canadian apologist historian for British rule in Ireland, several of whose works have been condemned by international historians for their inaccuracies and distortions! Condemnations which he has yet to answer. What next?! This is Irish history via the Orange Order. Amazing…

    Your claim that no Jews were ejected by Unionists from the North for being Jews is again untrue. Have you ever heard of Sir Otto Jaffe, a leading Jewish businessman and Unionist, who was also the Lord Mayor of Belfast, who fled for his life from Belfast in 1916 during the anti-Jewish pogroms imported by Unionist into Ireland from Britain? But of course you haven’t heard of him of him, no more than you have heard of David Abrahamson and the Irish Jewish families forced to flee Newry by Unionist mobs in 1914, or Russian-born Irish Jew Sarah Medalie murdered by the British Occupation Forces during their burning of Cork City in 1920?

    What has the Provisions IRA to do with anything I wrote? All my points related to the Old IRA, that is the Irish Republican Army that fought in the Irish Revolution, and the Irish Republican Army up to the 1940s and ‘50s. And with reference back to the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Fenian antecedents of the IRA.

    The fact that you don’t know the difference between any of those organisationas really does show you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. Which makes the false accusations all the more deplorable.

  • Ric

    Seamus wrote: “This so-called article is nothing more than a rehash of the lies and distortions published by the right-wing British historian and writer Simon Sebag Montefiore”. Séamas I gave you the benefit of the doubt but have come to the conclusion you are a deeply dishonest individual who is beyond reasoning with. This content is well established historic fact and no amount of you saying it is lies etc. will change that. It’s not a “so-called” article. It’s an article full stop. If you disagree that does not make it any the less an article only a childish person would say that.

    To compare this material with the ‘Elders of Zion’ is farcical. That was a book invented as a conspiracy and has been used to commit acts of genocide against the Jews. It attributed the desire for world domination. By contrast the material here merely asserts that there was some anti-Semitism in Republicanism. However, that will never satisfy you since you are behaving like a child who has had his toys tainted. You go on blaming the British and Unionists for every vestige of anti-Semitism like no noble republican had the slightest anti-Semitic thought in his head. Sad.

  • Ric

    Griffith was highly influential for decades. He was friends with one Jew. Himmler himself said the German people agreed with the Nazi anti-Semitic programme but many were saying “oh my Jewish friend isn’t like that” (paraphrase) – he said this during an infamous conference on the Final Solution. Just because Griffith had a Jewish pal (the famous Michael Noyk that apologists like you use) does not make him any the less anti-Semitic. The charges of anti-Semitism have not in any way shape or form been disproven unless of course (as I suspect) you only follow the G. Adams understanding of Irish History. I said it before but you don’t listen so I’ll say it again – it is a classic facet of anti-Semitism to associate Jews with your enemy unjustly. In communist Russia they were capitalists while simultaneously in the US they were commies. Thus your thesis that he was just misguided does not hold up.

    I believe you are a fan of Arthur Griffith for the simple reason that you can’t stand anyone even remotely associated with anti-Semitism to be linked with Republicanism. I read about the 1997 biography by Brian Maye but even that failed to rehabilitate his Griffiths rep.

  • Ric

    “Yet again the complex nature and subtleties of Irish history and politics elude you.”. I’m not an expert on History – I opted for archaeology at university but I’m still quite familiar with Irish history. The civil war was fought over the settlement with the British. Nationalists would have tended to side perhaps more with the Free Staters but so did very many Republicans – de Valera did in all but name and so on so the dichotomy is not as clear cut as you’d like.

    Seamus, Sir Otto Jaffe, an ancestor I believe of Steven Jaffe of NIFI, did not leave simply because he was Jewish. Sentiment towards him was unpleasant as he was German Born. After the torpedoing of the Lusitania in 1916 he was accused of being a German spy. There may have been partly to do with being Jewish but plenty of non-Jewish Germans who were naturalised citizens of the crown were subjected to similar treatment so stop this deceptiveness.

  • Ric

    There appears to have been some tension between Unionists and Jews in Newry where people were harassed and there were violent incidents. This relates particularly to the Abrahamson family but there was not any sort of pogrom. If there was then you would have to say the whites who left South Africa when it became uncomfortable for them also experienced a pogrom. It was nothing like the Limerick Pogrom so spare me the provo revisionism.

    You ask when did anything you write have to do with the provos? I assumed because you are a common Sein-er fanatic. Go on – I bet you are. I do know the difference between the groups – I made the distinction here first FFS. You are a fanatic as you can’t bear to hear a single word against your precious movement. When you do you try to cast others into dispreute by calling them liars, fantasists. Open your ears and listen. No one said Republicanism was inherently anti-Semitic or an anti-Semitic movement – just that some elements in it were. Think for a second: is that really so harmful to your movement when anti-Semitism was not at all uncommon at the time? Not really that much.