31 Oct 2011
An excellent summary.
As for those "Irish revolutionaries [who]are known to have expressed sympathy for Zionism in the early 20th Century" one deserves special mention: Michael Collins.
Curious how the antisemitism, and the version of it that expresses itself ascomplete lack of empathy and understanding of Israel's plight and a refusal to find out the facts of the case, continue even after the Vatican at Roncalli's urging changed its teachings. And the Vatican, notoriously unsympathetic to Jews under Pius XII and before, and then later, quick to express its palpable lack of sympathy for Israel for another reason as well -- the desire to do nothing to offend Muslims in the hope that they might not mistreat Christians in the Middle East. That stragegy -- see "The Dhimmi" by Bat Ye'or -- hasn't worked. It's weakened the one state whose existence should give Christians hope in a Muslim sea -- the Infidel nation-state of Israel. B Bishop Moubarac of Beirut, a Maronite, understood this perfectly back in 1947.
The antisemitism which one associates with some in the Vatican persists in Ireland, and persists now among the left, and the farther to the left, the more consumed with third-world Jellybyism, the political figure, the more likely he is to be anti-Israel.
Michael D. Higgins, for example, is a winner of the Sean MacBride Prize, and Sean MacBride, himself a winner of the Lenin Prize, was viciously anti-Israel in his day.
It's amazing. There is, however, a different strain. Sometimes it may be explained personal connections or experiences. Irishmen who spend a long time in the United States, as distinguished professors of this and that, merely by reading a press that is not so anti-israel, and perhaps even establishing ties of sympathy (and more) with Jews, can come to a different view. There is Paul Muldoon. There is Seamus Heaney. From the outside, they are better positioned to see how unfair, how grotesque, is the Irish coverage of the Jihad being waged, and permanently to be waged, against Israel. Conor Cruise O'Brien is another example -- but he had wide experience of the world, of men and events, and was not to be fooled in the manner of a sean-macbride or of his epigones.
Then there is the effect of the conflict in Northern Ireland. The Unioniists, as Protestants, as readers of the Old Testament who have not yet been "cured" by the World Council of Churches, identify with Israel. And the Catholics in Northern Ireland put out their PLO flags while the Protestants put out their flags of Israel. It's an emotional war by proxy.
There's more one could say. But the article says so much already.
31 Oct 2011
Great piece Rob.
Can you find any more anti-Israel statements from our new President, Michael D. Higgins? I'm sure there is a world of dirt to be dug up there, since the Irish media never investigated any of it.
1 Nov 2011
Some interesting comments Hugh. The Christian policy of appeasement to Islam hasnâ€™t worked. If anything it has worsened the situation. I often wonder if there is an unwritten law as indicated in the workings of the world, which states it is just as unwise to back away from conflict as it is to seek it out. It is folly to attempt to appease a group that donâ€™t wish to compromise or have any intention to do so.
Michael Collins was an impressive figure. A man not afraid to make unpopular choices unlike De Valera. Some believe De Valera was anti-Semitic but he was well liked by the Jewish community here.
Interesting you mention the Vatican. I think it was Rory Miller who suggested Irelandâ€™s initial stance of hostility toward the existence of Israel was led by the Vatican. I believe Vatican radio declared Israelâ€™s existence akin to that of the Third Reich in 1948. Whilst the Vatican made a remarkable transformation in its relationship with Israel under John Paul II, Ireland didnâ€™t follow suit.
Indeed Sean MacBride was one to delegitimise Israelâ€™s right to defend itself such as in Lebanon. It cannot be a coincidence that several members of his family were notably anti-Semitic, and he was related to Nazi collaborator and out and out anti-Semite Francis Stewart.
The recently deceased journalist Cathal Oâ€™Shannon did an excellent documentary on the remarkable tolerance shown toward dubious visitors after the close of WWII. Although it may be exaggerated, there does seem to have been an element of unspoken anti-Semitism permeating areas of Irish society.
The effect of the Irish mediaâ€™s bias toward Israel by the Irish Times etc. is that Palestinianism becomes an assumed truism. Occasionally though a few can be surprisingly open-minded, and willing to listenâ€¦
I remember Michael D. Higgins and a member of the American Embassy speaking on "Ireland AM" (a breakfast show on a channel called TV3) less than 24 hours after September 11th. Higgins along with one presenter, were extremely critical of America. Higgins basically said it was tragic but was a result of US foreign policies. The American chap was pretty much silenced by his attitude, which came uncomfortably close to justifying the act - this at a time when it was believed that 50,000 could have died! Events like that made me question the commonly assumed decency of the left.
18 Nov 2011
In my genre of writing, I get a fair amount of hate mail, and the worst comes from people with Irish names. Generally speaking, Catholic Gaels seem to be the most antisemitically active group in America, from Fr. Coughlin and Taylor Caldwell to the names on the masthead of Occidental Quarterly and all things "Occidental."
Some of my best friends are... etc., but I still think that there is a pattern here. Why such a pattern obtains more in some Catholic peoples (e.g. Croats, Poles) and less in others (e.g. Italians, Swiss) I am not sure, but it would be interesting to read a book on this subject.
18 Nov 2011
It is difficult to know if Catholics are the most anti-semitic today. On the opposing side of that argument, the new anti-Semitism has its spiritual home in British culture, anti-Semitism was a seerious issue even in post-war Britain leading to the emergence of the 49ers, and the name Taylor Caldwell suggests a more anglican origin. Nonetheless I agree that there is a Catholic phenomenon of antagonism towards Jewish people. Hearing terms like "perfidious jew" in common prayer until recently didn't help. A study on religious and cultural affiliation on the subject of Western anti-Semitism would be very interesting, and revealing in terms of hostility re. Israel
23 Nov 2011
G. Murphy Donovan
Curious! The pandering of Irish politicos may be a legacy trait from a past where telling their betters what they wanted to hear was a survival tool. I'ts also possible that the Irish political class, like the American Left, think indignation on behalf of Palestinians is a substute for reflection at home. When can we expect Catholic clerical pedophiles, and those who protect them, of to be named publically and brought before the Irish bar? Inshallah!.
24 Nov 2011
Most Irish people haven't got a clue about the complexities of the Israel/Palestine conflict. They simply substitute Israel for British colonialism and Palestine for Irish freedom and automatically favour the Palestinians and damn Israel.
Anti-semitism isn't something Irish people can relate to because when do they meet Jews? There isn't a large enough Jewish population in Ireland to actually know'Jews'.
I am an Irish Catholic and would rather live in Israel than any Muslim state. But that doesn't mean everything Israel does is morally or legally acceptable to the civilised world. Comparing the actions of Palestinaisn terrorists with the actions of a democratic sovereign 'western' state is the road to ruin for Israel.