TR-41: Ireland
Ten Tribes Tribal Report
20 September 2010 12
Tishrei 5771
1. The Irish-Jewish connection by RORY FITZGERALD 
2. Irish Links to North Africa and the Middle East
North Africans may have beaten Celts to Ireland

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1. The Irish-Jewish connection

03/17/2010 12:48


At first glance, the Irish and Jewish peoples seem radically different. But scratch the surface and they begin to look like twins separated at birth. The stories of these two wandering tribes share many extraordinary parallels.

The Irish writer Brendan Behan once remarked, "Others have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis." That may be putting matters a little harshly, but he was on to something: These two ancient peoples were destined to wander the world as outsiders, knowing suspicion and derision wherever they went. Through it all, both maintained tight and close bonds with their own kin, even in the farthest corners of the earth.

Both have homelands that are small, sacred and contested. And very ancient: Ireland and Israel both boast monuments far older than the pyramids of Egypt. Some even dare to speculate that the Irish may be connected to one of the "lost tribe" of Israel. Certainly, stone burial chambers called dolmens are found in both Ireland and Israel. These date from about 4,000 BCE. Yet any such mysterious common origins are now lost in time.

IN MORE recent centuries, the Irish and the Jews have inordinately swollen the ranks of genius. A disproportionate number of Nobel laureates have Jewish or Irish origins. Nor is it an accident that the central character in James Joyce's Ulysses is an Irish Jew, notes Prof. Thomas Casey of the Gregorian University in Rome: "Surely Joyce was struck by parallels between the Jewish and Irish experience: persecution, a lost homeland, exile and a global diaspora?"

Both peoples suffered death and cruelty at the hands of oppressors. While many now live in the small, beautiful and intense homelands of Ireland and Israel, the greater portion of both tribes remain scattered to the four corners of the earth.

Both peoples most particularly found a home in the United States. From humble beginnings in America, these two ethnic groups rose to prominence by the middle of the 20th century. By the time of president John F. Kennedy's election in 1960, Irish and Jewish Americans were two wealthiest and most successful ethnic groups in the US.

When these two peoples melded together in the great melting pot of America, they collaborated in some part of the most extraordinary human achievements of all time: the space race, the moon landings and  the defeat of communism and Nazism. This latter enterprise is attested to in cold white marble at the American cemetery in Normandy, where many Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans lie side by side.

Embedded intrinsically within Christianity is the Jewish law, the sacred Ten Commandments, and the knowledge of the one God, which both peoples hold in common to this day.

In 432 CE St. Patrick brought the Nazarene's teachings and the ancient Jewish law to Ireland. Here it was stored and nurtured it through the Dark Ages. While the rest of Europe lay in darkness, Ireland was known as "the land of saints and scholars," a rainy European outpost of the religious teachings that had emerged from Israel.

From Ireland, missionaries then brought these teachings to Scotland, Scandinavia and Continental Europe. From there, Christianity and its core of Jewish law eventually traveled onward to America, Africa and Asia. In the span of human history, Israel and Ireland both played pivotal roles in disseminating to the world the moral teachings of ancient Israel.

As the Irish and the Israelis now strive to build lasting peace in their own homelands, it is heartening to note that in the tapestry of human life, we all share far more similarities than differences.

The writer is an Irish journalist. He specializes in political, legal and religious affairs.

2. Irish Links to North Africa and the Middle East
North Africans may have beaten Celts to Ireland
10 September 2007
WHEN the Celts landed in Ireland 2,500 years ago, they may have been met by a population of North Africans, scientists now believe, writes Jan Battles.

Linguists say a study of Irish and other Celtic languages has produced possible evidence that when the Celts invaded Ireland and Britain there were already Afro-Asiatic speakers here. Celtic languages - Irish, Scots Gaelic and Welsh - incorporate grammatical traits found in Afro-Asiatic tongues that are otherwise unrelated, according to research published last week in Science magazine.

Other Celtic languages that were spoken in continental Europe and have since died out did not have these grammatical quirks. Afro-Asiatic languages are currently spoken in countries across Northern Africa and the Near East. This points to the possibility that there was early contact between Celtic and North African populations in the British Isles.

Orin Gensler, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, said the similarities would be explained if, when Afro-Asiatic people learnt Celtic from the new immigrants, they "perpetuated aspects of their own grammar into the new language". Gensler has studied many grammatical features found in both Celtic and Afro-Asiatic languages. He found many of the shared features were rare in other languages.

Linguists have discovered surprising differences between Celtic languages and related languages such as French, while seeing striking resemblances between Celtic and Afro-Asiatic languages that are spoken in countries including Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

Gensler examined features of the languages such as the order of words in a sentence. In Gaelic and Welsh the standard sentence structure is verb-subject-object, which is a rare sequence. This is also the case in many Afro-Asiatic languages. Celtic languages that used to be spoken in continental Europe had the verb in the final or middle position.

Berniece Wuethrich, author of the Science article, said: "The only other non-linguistic evidence that could point towards this connection is in blood type, but it is not definitive. Irish and British people have different proportions of blood types to most Europeans. Where there are comparable proportions is in the Atlas mountains in Northern Africa, home of the Berber people." Berber is a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language group.

See also:

John Thomas Koch
Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia (p.890)
Hamito-Semitic Hypothesis

Discusses Semitic connections of Irish and Welsh Languages.

Nyland believed that the Celts never spoke Celtic that the Celts never reached Ireland or Scotland, and the Celtic language did not exist until about 750 or 800 AD.
    When the Judeo-Christian Benedictine monks reached Ireland in 750 AD they found there a vibrant civilization, which in some ways was far superior to that which they were familiar with on the European Continent.  Although the monks recognized that this civilization had many characteristics in common with Egypt and Libya, there was also a strong connection with South Central Europe.  They considered that the Celts must have reached Ireland about 400 BC. Bringing with them civilization to Ireland.  They recorded this in the Benedictines own operations manual the "Auraicept na n'Ecese".  ... At the National Museum in Dublin, Ireland one is informed that Celts from Britain did not reach Ireland until late in the occupation.  But, the Benedictine Monks indeed minimized the fact that the vibrant Irish civilization had some of its origins in Egypt and Libya.

       Up to the 21st Century the Rh-negative blood type frequency among these people is the highest in the world.  Berbers and Basques average 32%, Irish and Scots 29% and the Norwegian islanders 17%.  There were never any Celts among these people...

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