Tribal Report no.17

Compiled: 19 March 2009, 24 Adar 5769
1. Britain: Columbus was a Scot?
2. Australia: The greatest General of them all was an Australian Jew!
3. Ulster: Ian Paisley launches Northern Ireland Friends of Israel


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1. Britain: Columbus was a Scot?

Columbus was a Scot, Jimmie - Whaur's yer Walter Raleigh noo?
Posted By: Gerald Warner
Extracts Only:
According to Spanish historian Alfonso Ensenat de Villalonga, the discoverer of America was born to Scottish shopkeepers settled in Genoa and was christened Peter, surname Scotto. In a further genealogical tour de force, Villalonga claims that the Scotto family came originally from Douglas, in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

If you assume that this news will be received with jubilation on the unfashionable side of Hadrian's Wall, you may well be mistaken. For this claim collides with the already well-developed Scottish revisionist theory that America was discovered a century before Columbus, in 1398, by Henry St Clair, Earl of Orkney. Needless to say, this theory involves the Knights Templar - an indispensable ingredient in almost any piece of counterknowledge - as well as a great deal of other hokum besides.

St Clair, it is alleged, belonged to a family closely involved with the Order of the Temple. In fact, the opposite was the case: the St Clairs were among the witnesses against the Templars at their trial in Scotland. The Order had been suppressed almost a century before the time of Henry St Clair, but such details do not distract conspiracy theorists from their theses. It is claimed that carvings in the Rosslyn Chapel (Da Vinci Code alert!), built by the St Clairs, illustrate a variety of grain found only in the New World.

In reality, they illustrate bog standard corn as grown in Britain.

2. Australia: The greatest General of them all was an Australian Jew!
Streetwise: The forgotten Anzac

Extracts Only:

Rehov Sir John Monash
John Monash was born in Melbourne in 1865. His father, Louis Monash, settled in Australia in 1854 from his home town of Krotoschin, near Breslau in Prussia, a town where almost one-third of the population was Jewish. He prospered as a merchant and nine years after arriving, he returned to Europe to marry Bertha Manasse and took her back to Melbourne.

John was born two years later, the only son of three children. The man who was to become famous as a soldier in World War I, an engineer and an administrator had distinguished Jewish ancestry. His grandfather had been a publisher and printer of learned texts. His uncle by marriage was Heinrich Graetz, the historian of the Jewish people whose magnum opus was published between 1853 and 1870.

After his father returned to Australia with a wife, his fortunes were sadly reversed and the family was never again to be wealthy. According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography they also abandoned most Jewish practices, although in the Encyclopedia Judaica he is said to have remained a practicing Jew all his life. John used to sing in the East Melbourne Synagogue choir and celebrated his bar mitzva there. The parents spoke Yiddish but also English, so the three children grew up speaking only English.

In many ways a typically Jewish family, the parents drove their first-born son hard, as immigrant Jewish parents often did. At school he was a good student and later became competent in running, shooting and riding, also excelling in mathematics and languages.

He chose to study arts and engineering at the University of Melbourne, but found the first year lectures unexciting and spent more time doing his own course of concentrated reading at the public library of Victoria, mainly in English literature and history. He was also attracted to the theater and went to plays at least twice a week.

He finally graduated in 1884, having supported himself teaching mathematics. He played the piano well enough to perform in public and delighted contemporary society gatherings with his virtuoso performances. (Later in his memoirs he compares the conduct of a battle to a symphony, with every instrument knowing its place, just as the different elements of a battalion in action do.) He became involved in student politics and joined the university company of the 4th Battalion, Victorian Rifles. Within 14 months the raw recruit had risen to color sergeant, the start of his brilliant military career.

By 1895 he had decided on a combination of soldiering and engineering as his life's work. "Military theory had begun to excite him and he enjoyed the control of men in a hierarchical disciplined structure," says the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

By the turn of the century he was well established in both of his chosen fields and had become a pillar of Melbourne society, living in a mansion with a luxurious chauffeur-driven car and other servants. On the military side, he was appointed to command the 13th Infantry Brigade, as colonel, and wrote a pamphlet, "100 Hints for Company Commanders," that became a basic training document. He was elected president of the Victorian Institute of Engineers and was prominent in the Boy Scout movement.

The true challenge to his leadership and intellectual qualities came with the start of World War I in 1914. His first job was as chief censor for a month until he was appointed to command the 4th Infantry Brigade of the Australian Imperial Force. He commanded a convoy of 17 ships which reached Egypt in January 1915 and took part in the Gallipoli landings which were unsuccessful, although his troops distinguished themselves. He also had to contend, at several points in his career, with rumors that he was a German spy and traitor.

In May 1918, as lieutenant-general he was appointed to lead the entire Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzacs) on the Western Front and his troops played a decisive part in breaking the German lines on the Amiens front. It was at the Battle of Hamel Hill, in July 1918, that his tactics won a much-needed victory for the Allies, and as a result he was knighted in the field by King George V.

Throughout his distinguished career he did not deny there was anti-Semitism, but he habitually ignored it and denied he had ever been subject to discrimination. Once home, the Jews who claimed him, rightly, as one of their own, thrust a leadership role on him that he could not have escaped even if he'd wanted to - synagogue board membership, communal spokesman and a figurehead president of the Australian Zionist Federation.

I am grateful to my old friend and amateur military historian Frank Adam in Manchester for pointing me in the direction of a brilliant film about Monash, The Forgotten Anzac, which can be viewed at au/tv/documentaries/interactive/monash/ and sheds much light on the man who was called by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery "the best general on the Western Front in the First World War." He died in 1931 at 66 and had a state funeral attended by 250,000. The burial was conducted with Jewish rites. Today many memorials survive including Monash University in Australia - and of course a street in South Tel Aviv.

3. Ulster: Ian Paisley launches Northern Ireland Friends of Israel


The Northern Ireland Friends of Israel marked its launch in Belfast last week with addresses from trade unionists, politicians and community leaders, including veteran unionist Rev. Ian Paisley.

Paisley, "the controversial firebrand preacher turned peacemaker," in NIFI's words, spoke of the similarities between the struggles of Israel and of Northern Ireland against terrorism, prayed for peace in Jerusalem and called for peace in the Middle East akin to the past few years of calm Northern Ireland has enjoyed due to power sharing between his Democratic Unionist Party and the Irish Republican Sinn Fein.

Paisley, who turns 83 on April 6, spoke at Great Hall Stormont on March 12, the seat of the Northern Ireland government, last Thursday. He is a British MP and a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and a former Northern Ireland cabinet member.

More than 200 people attended, including Northern Ireland government ministers, British MPs, and members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Also in attendance were members of the Belfast Jewish community and representatives of Christian groups.

There has been a upswing in anti-Israel activity in Northern Ireland recently, according to attorney Steven Jaffe, the lead organizer of the launch, who represents Belfast on the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

"Three local authorities passed resolutions boycotting Israel, as did the Irish Congress of Trade Unions," Jaffe said on Wednesday.

Since the 1970s, the IRA has supported the Palestinians, "both regarding themselves as freedom fighters," he said.

Despite this, "Northern Ireland is a very Bible-orientated community. There are more pilgrim tours from Northern Ireland than from any other part of the UK. The people here feel a very strong connection to Israel," he said.

Protestant trade unionist Terry McCorran co-organized the event. He is a member of UNISON - The Public Service Union, the second largest trade union in the United Kingdom, with more than 1.3 million members.

McCorran was inspired to help Israel after speaking with an Israeli trade unionist at a trade union's congress at which it was decided to boycott the Jewish state because of the recent military operations in Gaza, Jaffe said.

"The NIFI are dedicated to fostering better relations between Northern Ireland and Israel," Jaffe said. "We want to make sure Israel has a fair airing in the local media, a major issue in the UK, and we want to engage meaningfully with anyone committed to a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict."

"There are many parallels between the Northern Ireland peace process and that in the Middle East. The differences are key in addressing that conflict," he added. "This isn't just a Jewish initiative."

Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, addressed the launch meeting, leaving "no doubt as to the nature of Hamas and its desire to destroy Israel."

"Clearly Hamas would have to change greatly before it could be admitted into the peace process," he said.

"The great thing about this event," Grunwald told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, "was that in the seat of power, a large almost entirely non-Jewish audience gathered in support of Israel. "

"Good news about Israel in the UK should be broadcast as widely as the bad. The great news here in Northern Ireland is that we have launched a group of friends of Israel, which combines grassroots commitment with the support of political leaders," Jaffe said.

Brit-Am Note:
An anti-Israeli blog commenting on the above news item commented:
##Interestingly, Sir Ronald Storrs, the first British military governor of Jerusalem, had claimed that the Zionist "enterprise was one that blessed him that gave as well as him that took, by forming for England 'a little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism." The Zionists would be the Orangemen of Palestine, a settler population safe-guarding imperialist influence in a region set for de-colonisation .##
We say there may be something to this but not in the negative sense.
Israel really a bastion for western Israelite values in a sea of barbarism.
Israel protects the Western world.
Israel is the front line.
Help Israel and we help ourselves.


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