"The Confusion of the Irish"
by Konrad Siegfried.
Foreword by Brit-Am Editor:
#At first, in the 1920s and 1930s, Irish sympathies lay squarely with the Zionists and drew heavily on the presumed parallels between historic Irish and Jewish suffering, as well as the shared traumatic experience of large-scale migration in the 19th century.
#Drawing a parallel with their own history of occupation, the Irish also championed the Zionist struggle for self-determination against the British. A correspondent to The Bell, a leading Irish magazine, raged over current events in Mandate Palestine in March 1945: "Never let it be forgotten that the Irish people ... have experienced all that the Jewish people in Palestine are suffering from the trained thugs gunning tarzans and British terrorists that the Mandatory power have imposed upon the country." #
This early affection of the Irish for the Jews was reciprocated,
During the Israeli War of Independence, Yitzhak Shamir admired the Irish Republicans and took the name "Michael" for his codename, in honor of Michael Collins of the IRA.
This Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs says:
# "The Jewish underground fighting the British during the pre-1948 era was modeled on the old IRA - Yitzhak Shamirs nom de guerre was, after all, Michael, after Michael Collins. In the decades after Israels birth Irish Jews, like Rabbi Herzogs sons Chaim (a future president of Israel) and Yaacov (a great scholar and diplomat), as well as others like Max Nurock of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Geoffrey Wigoder (editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica) contributed greatly to Israeli political, diplomatic, and intellectual life.
# As such, Israel always hoped that Ireland would draw on what David Vital, the distinguished Israeli historian, has termed "an Irishmans intuitive understanding of the Jewish-Israeli predicament" and support it in its struggle for survival and security. As Zvi Gabay, Israels first resident ambassador in Dublin, put it, "as a small democracy, Israel is guided by the same school of thought that built Ireland. The founding fathers of Ireland and Israel - although they came from different backgrounds - learned the same lessons from the same eternal book, the Bible." Anti-Semitism is rare in Ireland; though they are pro-Palestinian. This Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs continues:
#"When Ireland became a republic upon leaving the British Commonwealth in 1949, it was written in the Irish constitution that Judaism was a state religion. It thus had the same rights as Catholicism and Protestantism. The constitution says that whenever there is a state function, for instance for a foreign president, the order of presentations is: the Irish president, the head of the Catholic church, the head of the Protestant church and then the Chief Rabbi.
This produced amusing results. Again from This Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs says:
# "For over twenty years there were three Jewish members of parliament and only one Protestant one. When one asked how this was possible, the usual answer was that the Catholics, who accounted for 98 percent of the population, had nothing against the Jews. They were, however, opposed to the Protestants who had ruled the country in the past.
So what is the source of this schizophrenic mood swing?!
If one views the Irish as the original peoples of Ireland (including Ulster), then the Irish desire for Independence and even a return of the ancient Gaelic homeland of Ulster mimics the Jewish desire of Independence and return to the ancient homeland. Their desire to reunite Ulster to them is equivalent to the Jewish desire for a United Jerusalem.
The Irish desire against a Partition of Irish could be seen as mimicking
the Jewish desire against a partition of their ancient homeland into Israel
and Palestine to appease a violent Arab minority, just as the British appeased a violent Orange minority by partitioning Ireland.
Read about the Curragh Mutiny and the threat of Orange
Violence when the Irish tried to peacefully press for Home Rule:
And even as the Arabs are overall a minority, except in Judea and Samaria (wrongly labeled the West Bank), even so the Orange are overall a minority in Ireland, except in gerrymandered Ulster.
In fact, Jerusalem might be a better example. Jews are a clear majority in Jerusalem. They have been for centuries. Both British and Turkish censuses bore this out. Yet the Arabs claim a majority in East Jerusalem (only by dividing the city borders dishonestly), which is obtained only by an artificially convenient partition. And to what end ... to appease a minority who threaten violence against the Jews, even as the Orange threaten violence whenever talk of unification came up. For ex: the 1914 Curragh Munity saw the first large scale weapons smuggling into Ireland going to the Orange NOT to the Irish. The "Ulster Volunteers threatened violence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curragh_Incident . Yet, even so, Ulster has a bare Orange Majority maintained by an artificially drawn line. In fact 2 of the 6 counties have pro-Irish majorities. Another 2 are divided. Only 2 are clearly pro-British. Ulster is an artificial construct like East Jerusalem. While religious discrimination exists in both Israel and the Arab world, it is clear that the Arab discrimination is far more severe and quite often violent. Jewish discrimination is usually civil only, and can be addressed in the courts - often successfully. Arab courts only listen to Muslims. In 1969 there were "pogroms" against the Irish in Ulster, and 25,000 had to flee to the Irish Republic. This is equivalent to the 19th century Turko-Syrian attacks on Christians, to the Muslim outrages of the Lebanese Civil War, and to the ongoing present attacks on Egyptian Christian Copts. The Civil Rights of Christians are regularly violated in Araby. They are relegated to a dhimmitude status, even as the Irish were set in a dhimmi status in Ulster. And finally, both the British and the Muslims had empires. In fact, the Muslim still desire a Caliphate again. So clearly, the Irish resemble the Jews. But if one redefines the issue as colonialism (incorrectly, I might add) then the Jews are wrongly re-defined as "British" colonials. This makes the Jews start looking like the British in Colonial Ireland and in Ulster today. And it makes the Palestinians look like the Irish, flying in the face of all rationality. The Irish apparently see the issue that way. They did not always. The problem is an assessment of primal cause. If one sees the Jews as invaders, they end up looking like Colonial British. If one sees the Jews are wanting their homeland back, the Jews end up looking like the Irish.
A clear assessment of history shows the Jews looking more like the Irish. But the trick is (and remember I am American): How do you get the Irish to re-adjust their perspective?! One has to remember that the division of Ireland is a constant insult to the Irish mind; and so the Irish maintain a constant anti-British world view in these matters. This would not be so bad but the Irish further aggravate this by conflating (erroneously I might add) their ethnic identification with Catholicism. They ignore the fact that it was the Pope who ordered the (then Catholic) British into Ireland (then dissident Christian) in order to Catholicize the Irish, in the 12th century in a papal decree called the Laudibiliter. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudabiliter So amazingly, the Protestant anti-Papist Orange are only in Ireland thanks to a Papal decree; and the Catholic Irish are fighting the British who are there because of the Pope. No wonder the Irish are schizophrenic. Prior to 1956, before the British signed on to a pro-Israeli stance during the Sinai Crisis, it was easy for the Irish to support Israel. Britain was the "common foe" of both the Irish and the Jews. After the Sinai Crisis, and 1967, Britain's affinities switched (I know some would say the British are still anti-Semitic - this is certainly true of the BBC).
As an American, I would tell the Jewish community to stress these 4 points when dealing with the Irish.
1) The Jews are not colonials, but natives. The Arabs were invaders even as the British invaded Ireland nine hundred years ago. If one accepts Arabs rights to Jewish land based on invasion, then the Irish should have no complaint against the British who took Irish land by military action. That should shock the Irishman into a re-examination of his basic operating assumptions.
2) The division of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and especially the division of Jerusalem should be seen as equivalent to the division of Ireland in order to appease an angry minority (in Israel's case, the Arabs; in Irelands case, the Orangemen).
3) If the Irish merely base their world view on doing the opposite of what the British do, they are still letting the British control them - in an odd sort of contrary way. Irish policies and views should be adjudged independent of whatever Britain does - this is true independence.
4) It should be emphasized, in a sort of Biblical way, that heaven will not smile on Irish desires to erase Irish partition while the Irish, at the same time, demand a partition of Eretz Yisroel (The Land of Israel), call it karma, payback, or, using Judeo-Christian values, reaping what you sew. By all sane reckoning, the Irish have allowed themselves to accept a false premise which brings them to a conclusion directly antithetical to their common historical experiences with the Jews. Remind the Irish that the British Penal laws against the Irish were roughly equivalent to the Russian laws against the Jews in Eastern Europe. Both areas were called the Pale, oddly enough. Remind them that both laws drove the Irish and the East European Jews to America. Remind them that the IRA, and the Hagannah, the Irgun, and the Stern Gang, all fought the British. And remind them that in 1947-48, the Royal Ulster Rifles (the Orange Unit of the British Army) were fighting the Jews in Israel. To be fair, they earlier fought the Arab uprising in the 1930s.
The Irish situation is complex. Both sides can compare themselves to one side or the other of the Palestinian-Jewish dialectic; and what view either side takes depends on some primal assumptions. Colonel Lawrence (of Arabia) was the illegitimate son of an Anglo-Irish (read British colonial) noble, yet he was an Arabist. Maybe his illegitimacy caused him to identify with Ishmael. Simultaneously Churchill who loved the Orange was a Zionist. So whether one is Green or Orange, ones views are twisted by initial assumptions. However, the Irish have no historical excuse to identify with the Arab. And the present Orange identification with Israel may be a case of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. One is amazed that the Orange can support the partition of Ireland and simultaneously support the Jews who oppose partition of Israel. This is altogether inconsistent - since the partitioning of both countries is historically similar. Jewish histories emphasize Jerusalem before the expulsions of the Jews in the 2nd century. Irish records emphasize the centrality of Ulster before the expulsion of the Irish in the 17th century. Indeed, one might see a similarity between the O'Neill rebellions of the 17th century and the Bar Kochba rebellions of the 2nd. And though expelled, by law, the Irish and the Jews kept returning to their respective ancient patrimonies and still assert their claim to them. The Arabs drove the Jews out in Hebron in 1929. There were ethnic cleansing of the Irish from areas of Ulster in 1969. I suspect that if both the Orange and the Green were to consider the history of Israel and Zionism, and the injustice of the partitioning of Eretz Yisroel (The Land of Israel), this would lead to some amelioration of their own problems. The Orange might start to see the partitioning of Ireland as offensive, and the Irish might start to de-Catholicize (a process they have already begun. Indeed, Irish Catholicism is now quite weak in the South. It seems not be be native, but merely a historical response to the British. It survives strongly ONLY in the North where it is an ethnic pride issue.) One advantage the Jews have over the Irish is that the Jews are far more sober. The Irish (Green and Orange) seem to be far too fond of whiskey. That is my view. I am American, so my opinion may not be respected.
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