I wish more Israelis were with me in outlying County Kerry, Ireland, just recently. There, in the tiny town of Cahersiveen, my doubting compatriots would have been reminded of what we face in the international community and why it has nothing much to do with how liberally we conduct ourselves, how many confidence- building concessions we make at the expense of our physical safety or how much we sacrifice of our rights to our historic homeland.
It’s all gallingly beside the point.
Our image has exasperatingly little to do with who we are. Distortions about us are blithely disseminated to the most susceptible and gullible members of society. Israel’s role as a scoundrel is made an axiomatic given, a premise for decent but distant folks, who know next to nothing (least of all Israel’s actual size) and couldn’t care less about the Mideast and its staggering complexities. But they are convinced that we are the bad guys.
That plays right into the hands of foreign leaders who are not, to resort to understatement, overly understanding of our cause. We were, for example, direly warned, via what appears like carefully timed hearsay, that US President Barack Obama doesn’t like our prime minister and holds Israel’s electorate responsible for the country’s isolation. We bring upon ourselves all the ill-will we encounter in the global arena.
Not to be outdone, Europe fully lives up to all the antagonism we have come to expect from the continent’s denizens. They were always highly adept, especially in the darkest epochs, at dressing up their intense bigotry in holier-than- thou sanctimony. It’s no different now, as warnings emanate from a plethora of EU capitals about an impending offensive to coerce Israel to capitulate to all existentially threatening Arab demands. Getting the Jewish state to sign its own death warrant will apparently buoy sagging spirits in the Euro zone.
Been there, heard that. It’s nothing new. Deep inside, most of us Israelis are inured to diplomatic discrimination, which is the latter-day genteel face of Judeophobia.
But some of us are bent on haughtily pooh-poohing anti-Jewish undercurrents, to say nothing of outrightly hostile motives. It matters little whether the likes of Tzipi Livni actually believe that there’s no thinly disguised prejudice against our vital interests and indeed against our very survival.
Tzipi lectured us in her most stentorian tones against subscribing to theories that anti-Semitism stokes anti-Israeli fervor. Yet to deny a grotesque double standard against Israel is either to misperceive reality or to deliberately misrepresent it for narrow political purposes.
I wonder how Tzipi would have reacted to what I saw in picturesque Cahersiveen, home to a population of some 1,300. It beautifully straddles the Ring of Kerry, a tourist trail in southwestern Ireland. The town’s imposing Catholic church is the only one in Ireland named after a lay person, Daniel O’Connell. Famed as the Liberator or Emancipator, he campaigned in the 19th century for Catholic rights, thereby in effect triggering the Irish struggle for independence from Britain. In our terms he can be described as Ireland’s Herzl.
One would assume that there, near O’Connell’s birthplace, we’d find sympathy for a far more ancient nation that won its independence from Britain, after a struggle no less bitter. Moreover, our underground fighters – foremost the IZL (the Irgun), whose leadership included Tzipi’s own father, Eitan Livni – patterned itself openly and proudly on the Irish Republican Army. The late prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s nom de guerre in the LHI underground (a.k.a. the Stern Group) was Michael, his homage to Michael Collins – the revolutionary Fine Gael leader, who headed Ireland’s provisional government in 1922.
But the warm affections that members of our own “fighting family” felt for Ireland were a galaxy away from Cahersiveen. There were no hints of affection there for us. On the town’s main thoroughfare, Church Street, I was buttonholed by three boisterous teenagers in Santa hats, carrying a collection box and big signs reading “Free Palestine.” They solicited my contribution.
I asked: “Free Palestine from whom?”
The cheery trio’s swift answer was unambiguous: “The Jews.”
I pressed on: “Do you know where your money would go? “
The boys: “To plant olive trees.”
“Are you sure,” I continued, as kindly-looking little old ladies generously opened their purses and dropped coins and bills in the collection box, “that this money wouldn’t fund terrorists and murderers?” Their retort threw me for a loop: “What do you have against Palestinians? What have they done to you? They are only against Jews. Jews are evil.”
I pried more. I asked what they know about the conflict. It was nothing except that Israel is the horrid ogre and the oppressed Palestinians are unquestionably worthy of compassion. Indeed the boys never stopped to question any of this.
I inquired who gave them these ideas and who sent them out to seek contributions in the town center. It turned out that it was a school-organized affair and that their teacher brought them all out, as a group, on a school day, during school hours, to do a pre-Christmas Christian good deed by “collecting donations for Palestine.”
I asked if they knew of the Palestinian Authority’s and Hamastan’s persecutions of Christians, but my youthful interlocutors had never heard of the Palestinian Authority and didn’t know that Palestinians are overwhelmingly Muslim.
There was little point in lumbering them with elementary information. Any data seemed entirely alien to the boys, their strongly held opinions notwithstanding. Politely they pointed me down the street where their teacher stood with some of their other classmates.
The teacher, who unsuspectingly volunteered his name to me, said he took out his pupils, all from the town’s single secondary school, as part of a class project “to further a humanitarian goal.” The goal was to collect money to enable the Palestinians to replace olive trees because “Jews stole their lands.”
All around him the cheery kids hoisted “Save Palestine” placards. There was a lot of hilarity. It was a lark. A good time was had. Outdoor frolic on a mild winter’s morning sure beats lessons in a dreary classroom.
I asked if this was a sanctioned school event and was solemnly assured that it was, all part of inculcating in the children a commitment to charitable work. I wondered aloud if something else wasn’t being inculcated. The teacher remained remarkably unperturbed when I repeated to him what the three boys said earlier about Jews “always being villains,” along with one youngster’s aside that “they crucified our Lord.” In fact, the teacher nodded in agreement, without a solitary word of objection.
“Isn’t there another side to this story?” I asked. I was shown a handwritten poster that boasted the Palestinian flag and proclaimed: “There’s a conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians that began in the early 20th century.” That was the one simplistic token to seeming objectivity.
But it was meaningless and ended there. Another homemade placard read: “Together we’ll get rights for Palestine.”
The squawk was all about rights, but distinctly not about the rights of Jews, which are excluded from the official curriculum. The violated rights are those of Palestinian Arabs and the violators are Israeli Jews. And all this is crudely imparted under the auspices of a state’s school system.
The bottom line for Cahersiveen’s juvenile fund-raisers, without one redeeming exception, was that the Israelis are the tyrants and the Palestinians the sainted victims. It’s black and white, with no grays, no depth, no background. There was no qualm about who deserves the unstinting sympathy of decent folks.
And herein lies our problem – the one too many Israelis avoid, be it out of ignorance or political machination. We, as a people, face bias we can do nothing about. There’s powerful predisposition against us. It’s not fueled by our behavior, because nobody knows much about how we behave and nobody cares to learn.
The Cahersiveen youngsters will surely grow into charming decent adults, but ingrained in their psyches from a young age will be the vague notion of Jewish villains and Palestinian martyrs. Indoctrination of impressionable minds – who can’t answer back and who regard their instructors as respected experts – creates biased adults.
Their bias, because it was formed so early, is intangible and impervious to all Israeli public relations and learned discourse. Historical dissertations are too convoluted to dispel preconceived antipathy. Facts are irrelevant.
There’s sadly no remedy for that unwitting indecency of essentially very decent folks. Its parades as high-minded but is irrational.
Some may of course argue that Ireland is a special case. It has a history of anti-Semitism without having ever had a sizable Jewish population. Cases in point are the 1904 pogrom in Limerick, the refusal to allow fleeing Jews (even children) refuge before and during the Holocaust, the fascist Blueshirts, the quasi-Hitlerjugend groupings during the Nazi era and even Taoisseach (premier) Eamon De Valera’s messages of condolence to the German people following the news of Hitler’s demise.
De Valera made a pilgrimage to the German legation in Dublin and visited the home of German envoy, Eduard Hempel, to commiserate with the loss of the Third Reich’s leader. There was no defense for this gesture made after the liberation of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau. The Irish government’s censor anyhow allowed no reporting of the Holocaust. On the other hand Dublin gave safe haven to fugitive Nazi war criminals.
Ireland’s hyped ethical imperative was demonstratively missing when it came to Jews. It still is when it comes to the Jewish state.
Until 1975, Ireland had refused to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, accusing it of contravening UN resolutions. Only literally in the last days of 1993 did it allow an Israeli embassy to open in Dublin. That was after it hosted Yasser Arafat and agreed to a Palestinian legation.
Cashed-strapped Ireland contributes heftily to Palestinian causes. Calls to boycott Israeli products and expel its diplomats are rampant. Decent folks don’t dissent.
But for all that, Ireland isn’t unique. What’s bon ton there is very bon ton in other countries, with other sordid pasts and intrinsic predilections against our sort – predilections that our homegrown left-wing and post-Zionist politicos persuade naïve and complacent Israelis to forget, so we may persist in our self-flagellating ways.
Sarah; As usual you make excellent points. However, I’m not sure that anything Israel or international Jewery does will matter. Two thousand years of hatred and persecution have spread this poison world wide. Christians (most of them) and Muslims are hard wired for Jew Hatred. Thus they don’t tend to question their bias’s of the lies behind them. Indeed, due to our small numbers, most of this hate comes from people who may never have met a Jew.
Even Hollywood is guilty of it. When was the last time you saw a Jew positively portrayed in TV or Movies. The Jew is the crooked (or whinney) lawyer or businessman. In medicine, where Jews in real life (at least in the USA) are prominant, how many do you see on air? Black, Hispanic or Asian yes. Jews rarely.
“When was the last time you saw a Jew positively portrayed on T.V.?”
I’m watching one right now. Cote de Pablo’s portrayal of Ziva David.
As a irish Man who has visited israel and most of the middel east. 1st point to make…Im am NOT Anti-Semitic. The simple fact is that Israel is seen as an apartheid state in Ireland. Look at the new push for israeli settlements by your prime minister. This is seen as a land grab, something the irish know all about this as the sufered it for 600 years and still do.
Seamus (I assume that’s your name), so glad you visited Israel and so glad you’re not an anti-Semite. I don’t think that Sarah’s column meant to suggest that every last Irishman is anti-Semitic.
Nevertheless, if the prevalent Irish view is that Israel is an apartheid state, this betrays a deep bias and a fundamental ignorance/lack of understanding of the facts.
The state which you malign is a mere nine miles wide at it very center. The Irish should realize that imperialist land-grabbers (like the Brits) would have done much better for themselves.
There is no new push for Israeli settlements by our prime minister. You are dead wrong on the facts or you let yourself be willingly bamboozled by noxious propaganda of the crudest kind. It’s Goebbels’ Big Lie all over again and naïve folks fall for ir.
Rather than Israel grabbing land, it is quite the other way around. Israel never launched a war to conquer lands. Israel was attacked in 1948 and again in 1967. The so-called “occupied territories” are lands the Arabs lost in the course of their failed aggressive onslaught on Israel. Their aims were genocidal. Israel’s crime is successfully defending itself and not allowing a second Holocaust three years after the first and then again in 1967.
Many of these lands were settled by Jews before 1948. The Arabs forcibly uprooted them in a bloodbath. After 1967, many returned there (to parts of Jerusalem, Hebron, the Eztion Bloc and places the Irish haven’t heard of). Most of this is now vilified as unlawful settlement by people who should know better, foremost the Irish. OUR land was grabbed – not the other way round.
The original British Mandate over Palestine included all that is now Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Perfidious Albion ripped off 80% of that in 1922 and handed it over to its friends from Mecca and that became the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan, later changed to Jordan – a truly fictional nation. Thus 80% of Palestine was in Arab hands since 1922.
As regards the minuscule leftover 20%, the UN decided in 1947 to partition that, leaving the Jews an untenable patchwork, which the Jews nevertheless welcomed and declared independent in 1948. The Arabs didn’t do likewise in their portion of the 20%. Instead they attacked the Jews, openly and vehemently vowing to finish what Hitler didn’t. Seven Arab nations rushed to their aid and invaded tiny Israel on the day of its birth. They were dreadfully frustrated when they didn’t succeed in annihilating the Jews and grabbing the pitiful remnant of the Jewish homeland that was allotted them.
So who is the land-grabber?
Sarah has a book, Debunking the Bull, coming out soon where lots of this is elaborated upon. I suggest you enlighten yourself. You can already read bits of it on Amazon. See link below:
May Hashen helpo us! Look at who forms our new government and weep!
I know what follows is simplistic, but I have to say it anyway: hatred of Jews has been inculcated by the Catholic church, in Europe and in other parts of the world where Catholicism has been exported and implanted, e.g. Spanish or Portuguese speaking countries. I have lived there and I have experienced it. There are surely exceptions.
One of those exceptions is Ireland. We had until recently a very good record in our dealings with our Jewish Brethren. It is interesting to note that as Ireland has become less Catholic she has become more anti-Semitic.There was one incident of Anti Semitic riots and that was in 1911 in the city of Limerick. The cause was a redemptorist priest who was quickly sent out of the country never to return. The main Nationalist party at the time, came out in defence of the Jews. The Jewish representation in the Irish Parliament was always good with three MPs in the 70 and 80’s. Not bad for a population of less that 5OOO. Both the City of Dublin and of Cork have had Jewish Lord Mayors.The same clause in the constitution that recognised the special position of the Catholic Church as the religion of the majority also recognised the Jewish religion, this was unique in Europe. The Chief rabbi at any state function ranks third place among the religious dignitaries, that is after the Catholic and Anglican leaders but before the other protestant leaders.. Today though the muslims object because they now number 12000 and the Jewish population number less than 2000.
sorry the year for the ant Semitic riots was 1904.
These children aren’t to blame for what and how they’ve been taught by their teachers and parents. My guess is that they don’t know, for example, that an Irish town, Baltimore, was raided and sacked, by the Barbary pirates, in 1631; and a large number of residents carried off into slavery. However, that doesn’t make the un-self conscious display of their ignorance and bigotry less easy to take. One must hold their school administration and media accountable. Is there a Jewish community in Ireland? What have THEY done to counter this pathology?
THere is a proIsrael group in Ireland that is working against this stuff.
Check out irish4israel on FB.
…But I can’t figure out Tzipi Livni. She must be well aware of the rapid and frightening rise of pathologic world-wide anti-Semitism in recent years. Yet she has some sort of mechanism(perhaps its genetic-an extra chromosome somewhere) for continually denying it….to each his own. But she doesn’t belong in high office.
FASCINATING report Sarah !
Ireland is the PARADIGM of Christian Jew hatred…the Irish hate the Jews right out of their most unholy scriptures, out of the so called New Testament.
These isolated retards have sucked up that poison since generations, like Hitlers Catholic ancestors in rural Austria.
So if ANYONE on this forum has any sound arguments against my thesis…PLEASE let me know…
Please Mr Rettenmoser, less of the stereotyping. I certainly, am not a ‘retard’ which in itself is an insulting term, and I most certainly do not hate Jewish people. As an Irish resident and citizen we have for generations been subject to this stereotyping and hatred. I think you’ll find a little less of the sweeping statement will both calm and further the debate.
Mr O’Brien, what are you doing to help counteract the overt antisemitism and hatred of Israel in Ireland? Are you involved in any education programme?
Yikes, oy. Maybe your Austrian surname should have been a warning..? Rare enough to see such rabid prejudices on display. If you were to consult memoirs, histories, biographies on, by and about Jews in Ireland, and you’d learn that you are exactly wrong. It’d hardly matter to you though I suspect, with that degree of self-hatred – transferred – and such frenzied delusions.
You should educate yourself before making your opinion public, just as those school children and the people who encouraged them should do, if your opinions are based on all relevant fact, that is one thing but they have zero credibility when they are not. “the Irish hate the jews” is this based on one article of ignorant school children?
The overwhelming majority of Irish people do not hate the Jews. Most people are too concerned with their every day lives to be preoccupied with the Middle East. The current Minister for Justice is Alan Shatter- a Jew. He is a TD (MP) for Dublin South. Ben Briscoe -a Jew-was a TD(MP) for 38 years. In 1977 Gerald Goldberg -a Jew- was elected as Lord Mayor of Cork which is the Republic’s second largest city. Now please remember that there are only 2000 Jews resident in the Republic out of a population of 4.6 million.
Your THESIS seems to be full of racial hatred and bigotry. Using terms such as “isolated retards” to describe a whole nation sounds like something that would come from the mouth of a Neo Nazi.
I am Irish, I am an atheist and I am a third year student studying for a BSc in Applied Archaeology. Do I fit your description of an isolated retard?
Christianity, Judaism, Islam…all without exception are patriarchal and misogynistic. Really not much difference between any of them. Speaking as both an atheist and an archaeologist I personally think that archaic religions should be left where they belong… in the museum.
And here is my promise:
The DAY OF RECKONING will soon arrive…
“Been there, heard that. It’s nothing new.” – Indeed. There was a universal hatred of Czechoslovakia among the “enlightened” European states in the run-up to WWII for her unwillingness to commit suicide as demanded by Hitler.
I read your piece with interest – and, with my family’s strong Irish connection, no little sadness.
The Irish really have no understanding or passion for the Arabs, like the Nazis they only cosy up to them out of their entrenched Jew hatred…
Irish Antisemitism was already established some centuries ago, when these isolated farmers lived under the undisputed rule of the Christian religion.
This is the root cause of their love for todays enemies of the Jewish people, the fancied antagonists of their God.
Sounds old fashioned ?…Maybe, but the poison lives on…
The Christian religion,in many denominations, are lead and have been lead by priests who unfortunately, have no knowledge of how to read the Scriptures, if indeed they read it themselves at all, and up until recently have never encouraged their congregations to study the Scriptures for themselves. However, there is a HUGE amount of Christians…numbers growing daily, running into the billions now all over the world, that are studying the Bible and understanding that God has an everlasting covenant with His People and Israel which He will never break. They understand that Jesus was a Jew, He came FIRST for the Jews and the mandate in the New Testament is to love and stand with, unto death, His people the Jews. These billions of Gentiles around the world love you and Israel. Watch and see. We want to be a blessing to you.
Chris there will always be hatred in the world while there are people like you in it. That’s coming from an (non farmer)Irish supporter of Israel.
Nicely put – let me second your sentiment.
Yes Mr Rettenmoser the poison lives on … And you appear to have swallowed quite a lot of it.
What you write is true. The same ignorant attitudes are apparent in other countries as well – and in the USA these beliefs are beginning to proliferate with alarming speed. The worst form of hatred towards Jews comes not from the gentile but from the treachery of our own people. The Liberal assimilationists who wish to prove to their neighbours that they are loyal diaspora citizens who would prefer to integrate and perpetually dilute themselves into oblivion – whilst committing treachery to their own people and the memories of their antecedents, who suffered unsolicited atrocities .
Ashamed to be Irish right now, it looks like the kids really don’t see the news much, so sorry Israel, this is disgraceful,
Very angry Irish citizen
Nice of you to say Micael. Slainte!! 🙂 Oh and do write an angry letter to Trocaire. They push a lot of this garbage.
Thank you Jill, I have wrote several letters,but I fear it will fall on deaf ears, sad that we appear to be so pro-palestinian, I am all for equality and peace but these kids dont know the full or even part of the story…
Oops I mean Michael!!
‘Our image has exasperatingly little to do with who we are ‘ because this is mankind’s global war against God and all their hate and rebellion is directed against His people Israel.
Get rid of the Jews and they assume they can rid themselves of the True Lawgiver.
Just as His prophets prophesied in Tanakh all is going according to His plan as the nations NOW get drawn into His trap.
Relax ,faithful Zion, sit back and watch the Lord preform His word in our day !
I am absolutely shocked! Reading your most recent post about Ireland, I am embarrassed to confess I am Irish at this point, I believe everything you have reported and indeed your historical references are all precise, I am ashamed that fundraising for these thugs is not only allowed but almost glorified in broad delight, I am outraged and I will be taking this matter up with the government. Sadly I don’t think they will care too much anyway,
But I do want you to know that there are some Irish people out there who I hppdo know the truth about Palestinians and their hatred of Jews/Israelis, I am so sorry that this is tolerated in my country, I stand beside Israel and her children, may God bless you even more and continue to protect you,
To get right to the point, I hate it when my fellow Jews don’t fight back, with the attitude that “there’s nothing we can do.”
There is something we can do. And if it doesn’t help the Western anti-Semitism, it will at least wake up many of our Jewish people, especially those in Israel.
In a very public way, let the Vatican know what is going on in Ireland and in a very public way, ask the Vatican if they approve of this. Ditto for the head of the government in Ireland.
This is an opportunity to awaken ourselves. Please don’t have the attitude that there’s nothing we can do. It’s called pressure.
Hi. Your article on students in Co. Kerry, Ireland was most interesting. Were they collecting for Catholic charity Trocaire? Thank you.
Welcome back to JP. For a moment I thought you left the JP.
Why don’t we call Obama by his real name? Hussein. This way the world will know what his REAL intentions are.
Don’t you think the HASBARA of Israel is lacking. The whole world “knows” how “bad” we are. Nobody talks about what the Arabs did, are doing & planning to do to us.
Thank you. What Ireland needs is more voices, questions and challenges to the status quo, as you certainly have demonstrated. Having lived in Ireland through my formative school years and early 20s I am ashamed to admit I naively suppoted the goon, Arafat. Now a proud and loud Jew, I use any opportunity to argue the absurdity of the majority Irish ignorance on this topic. During my first visit to Israel I was struck by the similarities between Ireland and Israel as relatively progressive, socialist democracies and saddened by the veil of myopy with which most Irish still view the Israeli’s. Sadly the truth is more inconvenient and harder to admit. The Irish are Jew haters. It’s time to just tell it like it is and place the truth in their faces.
Laura, you are falling into the same trap. Don’t generalise. I’m Irish and I, for one, am not a Jew hater. I’m not crazy about the Isreali government’s policies right now, but I am not a Jew hater. I understand the feelings of Isrealis who are under siege and who need to defend themselves. Incorrect education and lack of understanding on international issues is prevalent in all countries. Sarah has found it in Cahirsiveen, but it exists in cities, towns and countryside of all countries of the world, probably even Israel (I’ve never been there so I can’t really support the hypothesis, but allow me the speculation.). I don’t have a solution to the Israeli/Arab problem, to call it by a simplified name, but let me offer this: I debated at school 40 years ago about the Irish/British problem in Northern Ireland. My thought at the time was that the people just HAD to learn to live with each other, but that it would take a long time – many generations – to work it out. At the time I felt 150 years at least was necessary. However, 1997 proved a turning point and we of the island of Ireland have learnt to live with each other imperfectly and awkwardly, but live with each other nonetheless. Cahirsiveen, like other towns in Ireland in 1981, would probably have had collections in support of the IRA hunger strikers. Now those IRA are in the Dail (our parliament), and life goes on. And I mean that literally, life goes on: without violent death on the news every night. Learn from us for our achievements, rather than ridicule us for our failures. I hope Sarah met people on her Irish visit who she would be happy to meet again and even to call friends.
Excellent article. Ireland’s inherent hatred of Jews is disturbing – the indoctrination of school children should cost that teacher his job.
We do not have an “inherent hatred of Jews”. To say so is ridiculous and not helpful to debate. This incident is disturbing, especially as it involved school children who were simply following the instructions of a misinformed teacher.
I will say that the “Free Palestine” movement has been gaining a great deal of support in Ireland in the last number of years. I went through the Irish education system and was only exposed to anti-Jewish sentiment when I started college and encountered a Palestinian Solidarity society.
I would suggest that people complain to the Department of Education. This collection was made in the name of the school and the teacher is on their payroll.
Dear Sarah, thank you for your report..I believe there is a deliberate brain washing in and through schools, media and on the internet whipping up, yet again, anti-semitism, by certain forces with immense power and wealth, who fully intend to orchestrate a third world war out in the Middle East. As in the 1st and 2nd world wars, a myth is created and sown into the minds of the masses to justify their wars which are ALWAYS orchestrated to gain power and enormous wealth and to achieve their diabolical idea of a One World Order….world dictatorship. I am 70 years old and have watched this nightmare slowly unfolding for years and years but still could not believe that it would come to pass in my life time, however, it seems to be revving up very quickly now. Rest assured there are many people here in Ireland who know the truth and who stand with Israel and understand the “forces” behind this devilish agenda. Hopefully with the help of the Internet, more and more people will have enough intelligence to sort through the lies, disinformation and propaganda which is certainly on there too, but will see the truth and how they are being duped.
I was directed to your blog from both the ‘Israel in Ireland’ and ‘Irish4Israel’ facebook pages, and I read your article with great interest. Sadly, I feel your article has been rather unfair and disingenous to Ireland and the Irish people and if I may I’d like to both correct some of your points and give you a slightly different perspective on both Ireland’s past dealings with Jewish people and present day views.
Firstly, Daniel O’Connell was not just a campaigner of Catholic rights in the 19th century. He was an emancipator for all and not just Catholics. He insisted in 1846 that the British law of ‘De Judaismo’ be repealed as he wanted full rights for Jewish people. At one time he commented ” Ireland has no claims on your ancient race, it is the only country that I know of unsullied by one act of persecution of the Jews.’
Secondly, Ireland has not got a great history of anti-Semitism. One pogram in 1904 in a small provincial town does not an anti-Semitic nation make. It was instigated by a Catholic priest by the name of Fr John Creagh who was soon despatched (and rightly so) to New Zealand. The Jewish population of Limerick made for Cork with the intention of taking a ship to America from Cobh port. These Jews were made welcome in Cork and the vast majority of them stayed in Cork. That is the one recorded period of violence against Jewish people. Admittedly one to many, but certainly not a concerted effort to rid Ireland of Jews.
Other points you make to try and make Ireland anti-Semetic include the non granting of permission for Jews to enter Ireland before and during the Holocaust. Ireland was also negligent in the period after the war. Most , if not all countries at this time were exactly the same. This is not to excuse the practice, but to single out Ireland is unfair to say the least.
The Facist Blueshirts did indeed exist and were regarded as a joke. A brigade of them went to Spain to fight on Franco’s side under a different name as they were made an illegal organisation in Ireland in 1933 and were accidentally fired upon by Franco’s troops. They soon returned to Ireland. Most Blueshirts were ex-soldiers from Ireland’s war of Independence and were well into their 30’s so there was never ‘Quasi-Hitlerjugend’ groups. I might add, unlike every country in Europe at the time.
You are absolutely and factually correct on then Taoiseach (one s) Eamon De Valera’s visit to the German legation. It was a total bloody disgrace and to this day remains a blot on Ireland. A stupid action by our then Prime Minister. I have absolutely to fondness nor love for De Valera, however he made sure that Ireland’s first constitution in 1937 gave constitutional protection to Jewish people. A fact forgotten by most people.
Could I also point out that Michael Collins was Commander-in-Chief and was never head of Fine Gael. Michael Collins was murdered in August 1922, Fine Gael was formed in 1933.
Having said all that, it must be admitted that there is an anti-Israel mood amongst some people. A decade ago it would have been the marginalised left wingers. Unfortunately with the rise of left wing and hard left parties as a result of our tanking economy this mood is increasing. Some of these left wing organisations are not taken seriously with their economic policies, but like all of these organisations they are very good at self-publicity and getting their policies into the public domain. Some of them would regard themselves as the ‘Intelligensia’ (Artists group Áosdana a perfect example) and regard the ‘Palastinian’ cause as cool. Sinn Fein (Political arm of the I.R.A.) are another group who support Palastine. They do because they are told to. Officially they now have to like the United Kingdom so they have to have someone to support and by extension someone to hate. Irish people traditionally have a soft spot for the underdog and amongst these groups of people Palastinians are seen as underdogs. They have not for a moment taken into consideration that the ‘underdog’ may not be right.
These people are loud and organised. They know traditional and new media very well and their message is heard above others. I do not believe they are the majority, simply because the majority are traditionally silent. Rest assured many of us here in Ireland support Israel, take no part in boycotts, which have failed anyway and are perfectly able to decide for themselves.
The children from that school in Cahirciveen have had these opinions foisted upon them by a teacher who obviously has a bias. They would not know a Jew from a Palastinian and will learn in time. The same way there is a growing resentment of Catholic aid agency Trocaire as they have crossed political boundaries and are openly pro-Palistinian. The message might be slow in getting out there, but the pro-Israel message is finally being heard in Ireland.
Thanks, Damian – great info, and balance offered.
You hit the nail on the head as regards the ‘cool’ factor amongst the bien-pensants in Ireland, or more particularly Dublin. Had you mentioned how Shamir and Jabotinsky and company were inspired by Collins and Dev (yes!), that might have been a sign of how different the attitude toward Jews was then, compared to now.
@Damian thank you for writing the above. I am quite literally shocked at the complete bias been thought to these children. Nothing more than lazy teaching and not what I was brought up learning in Ireland. By and large I was always encourged to question and debate what I was learning which clearly these children are not being encouraged to do.
By apologies to anyone who was offended by what the author found in our country but be assured that the vast majority of people in Ireland do not think like this.
Sinn Fein (Political arm of the I.R.A.) are another group who support Palastine. They do because they are told to. Officially they now have to like the United Kingdom so they have to have someone to support and by extension someone to hate.
Meant to add best line ever! Who makes them do this Langley
The IRA supported Palestine because all of the worlds “terrorists” cooperated. Hense Japanese terrorists shooting up Ben Gurion Airport in support of their “brothers in arms”. So IRA “soldiers” could get training at various Arab/Cuban/Communist terrorist support facilities.
Thank you Damian!
I agree completely! I have been in college for nine years and have watched the Palestine Solidarity society gain more and more support. I find their rhetoric disturbing. But unfortunately they have become the voice of authority on the subject leaving little room for rational debate
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How odd of God to choose the Jew,
But not so odd as those who choose
The Jewish God – and hate the Jew.
(Sadly, the Irish are very, very odd)
Helen ,please dont tar all the Irish as odd..I worship the Jewish God and Love the Jew through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and there are thousands of us in Ireland who are worshippers of the the one true God of the Bible and love Israel . we dont follow the majority who profess to be christians in this country including some of our politicians …
David you hit the nail on the head. I thought the same thing as I was reading the article. My understanding is that the Arabs/”Palestinians” pay $millions to companies whose staff churn out lies and blood libels on a daily basis. And have saturated the West with their propaganda for decades, while Israel has maintained a useless dignified silence. I don’t know if Israel will be able to to change those entrenched mindsets, even if they start hiring counter- propagandists today, but I sure hope they start soon.
I’m an Irish Christian and pro Israel. It is true that many in Ireland are against Israel but there are growing number that support Israel.
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved” Romans 10:1
This teacher is blinkered like so many if my fellow Irish citizens, but only so until they hear more facts rather than the spin our mainstream media offer.
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why is there nothing in the media about this? I think that links between Israel and Ireland have been growing over the past couple of years. The two recent soccer matches between the countries were used by the Israeli tourist industry to boost and ‘improve’ the image of Israel in Ireland.
Chris; It’s not important that people “do” something for Israel. It is only needfull that people lack the hatred that so many, including yourself seem to suffer from. Hatred is a disease. As destructive to the hater as the hatee.
Ethan…Antisemitism is a disease…it has to be ATTACKED right on !
Thank you for your piece on the disgraceful conduct by students – and by those who should be offering them guidance and education – in Ireland. As an ex-pat Irishman (in Canada), I am appalled, and I am communicating that to family, friends and associates.
May I suggest though that there is more to worry about from what used to be the Left in Ireland, and Europe generally? It is common to hear of people saying that the Catholic Church taught explicitly that ‘the Jews killed Jesus,’ but that is not my experience in Ireland, or the experience of my nephews and nieces there.
The hostility comes from some kind of romantic nihilism, and deep envy of Jews and Judaism, as Judaism represents a coherence, tradition, accomplishments and continuity that the unreasoning and reflexive critics of ‘Israel’ lack.
Few if any people have a grasp of the origins of what they take for granted – monotheism, rule by law, the sacredness of life, individual rights – and so forth. When told that these largely derive from Judaic thought and practice, they are shocked and often disbelieving.
In my experience, the most insidious and quietly hostile critics of anything Israeli (often simply ‘Jews’ but they’ll never allow that to be said openly) have come from the prosperous, ‘leafy avenues’ in Dublin.
I chance to be reading Chaim Herzog’s autobiog, and am continually stunned by the changes wrought in Irish attitudes to Israel….
Every good wish (le gach dea ghui in Irish)
I am an Irishman and I am writing to apologize to you for the antisemitic insults that you had to endure in Co. Kerry. It pains me deeply that our children are being fed lies and one sided anti Zionist propaganda from left leaning teachers with a zeal for myopic and dangerous interpretations of middle eastern politics.
Israel and Ireland have more in common than most people remember from their painful birth pangs emerging from the British Empire to their fight against terrorism but in today’s snapshot sound bite news cycles it has become de riguer to portray the Israeli Palestinian conflict in terms of oppressor and oppressed.
I just want you and the Israeli people to know that most Irish people lobe and support Israel, her ideals and her democracy. I have written to the school in questions, the local bishop and all 3 members of the Irish parliament to express my disgust at the incident that happened to you but also to demand that elected leaders stand up and stop this tide of anti Israel hysteria being fomented by so called pro-Palestinians. Please see below the email that I sent to the officials and please know that we don’t all espouse such hateful sentiments towards Israel and the Jewish people.
Am y’israel chai.
Breandán G. Magee
Dear Mr Griffin,
I am writing in relation to an incident involving an Israeli columnist who was visiting Co. Kerry, who had the misfortune to be subject to anti-Semitic outbursts from pupils at Colaiste na Sceilge. From the article that Sarah Honig penned it is clear that the teacher who was supervising these children had a lot to do with the nurturing of such antisemitic beliefs and when confronted about them actually nodded in tacit agreement.
In the course of her visit, she was solicited by children from a local secondary school raising funds to ‘Free Palestine’. When she questioned who they were freeing Palestine from, the children replied with “the Jews” and then explained to her that “Jews are evil” and ”crucified our Lord”. Honig recounted what she heard to a nearby teacher organizing the affair, who nodded in agreement with the words of the children.
The group of students were ostensibly raising funds for a ‘humanitarian cause’ to ‘free Palestine’, a brazenly one sided and distorted version of facts on the ground and surely not the balanced perspective one would expect from our nation’s schools. Goebels himself would have been proud of not only the propaganda but the vitriol expressed by these students towards Jewish people. In the same week that the world mourns the loss of 6 million Jews, among them 1.5 million Jewish children, in the death camps of the Holocaust I find this incident particularly nauseating and upsetting.
I would like to know exactly how you as TD for this school are responding to this issue and in particular what public statement you are willing to make to reprimand the school in question. Are we teaching a balanced view on middle eastern politics or do we plan to continue promoting a jihadist antisemitic agenda? The biased and anti Zionist teachings and material of Trócaire clearly have a part to play in this and I would ask you to raise this issue in the Dáil.
The image of this school, Kerry and Ireland has been sullied by this disgusting event and the news has traveled far beyond Ireland’s borders. I would be much appreciative if you as an elected representative of the people would address this matter in a public and forthright manner. Antisemitism in Ireland is one the rise and it is up to our leaders to lead by example and rise above this hysteria.
I would appreciate a prompt response.
Breandán G, Magee
I was perturbed but not shocked of your experience in the west of Ireland.
If you watch the show linked above it may offset things, on the other hand it may make things worse.
I read your column avidly (most probably because I agree with your every sentiment!!) but the piece on Irish anti- semitism made me smile ruefully.
I love travelling and have done for the last 25 years whenever and wherever I could. About 20 years ago I, too, did the Ring of Kerry and running out of film for my camera (yes, it was that long ago!), I stopped at the local village chemist. As I walked out of the shop, a local woman stared at me (and my kippa) and said loudly in a rich Irish brogue, ” I don’t know how you could have done it.”
Absolutely bewildered I asked what I had done. To which she replied, “:Killed our lord.”
Siince then I have lived in different parts of the UK, Singapore and currently in Sydney but have never, ever experienced such virulent anti- semitism. As my Polish grandfather used to say about the Poles, “They learn it (anti-semitism) with their mother’s milk”
Thank you for your great work although I often wonder whether you are spitting in the wind. My experience of questioning Lefties is that they have such a self-righteous attitude that they don”t feel the need to reply. A mere grimace letting you know how far off the mark you really are is normally all I get!!!!
Anthony Wechsler (Sydney)
Having read your article I would like to add some points of information that you did not address, by accident or deliberately. First of all Ireland was one of only a few countries in Europe, if not the world, to recognise Judaism and give Jewish people constitutional protection during the 1930’s. Second many Jewish people have served with distinction in the Irish parliament and within Irish public life. I have never heard them refer to institutional bias or anti- Semitism being rife in Irish life. I am unaware, apart from a pogrom instigated by an idiot priest in the early 20th century, of any state led anti Semitic policies. So to state that Ireland has a history of anti Semitism is a stretch to far (in my humble opinion).
The school children you refer to seem to be young, ignorant and naive. I am sure that as they grow older they will realise that the politics of the Middle East and indeed the Israeli – Palestinian conflict are far more complex and complicated than meets the eye. I do note however that you fail to mention any other aspect of your time in Ireland, perhaps you might provide some more context? Otherwise one might infer that you were looking for examples of anti Semitism rather than simply going on a holiday.
You will notice that my comments are balanced, thoughtful and are not aggressive. Some of the other people commenting on the site might pay the same respect.
Peter, you may be playing the “kind” and “balanced” card, but your question regarding her vacation shows you are neither.
As a close friend of hers, I can assure you her visit to Ireland was purely recreational.
As a Jew who has visited Ireland many times, I can attest to having encountered the same phenamona. it is not all that unique or hard to come by- especially when wishing to relax on vacation.
If my children were involved in that that school in cahirciveen thats spreading hatred..i would remove them immediately…the sad thing is those who profess to be Christians have never read the Bible and if they did they could see the truth for themselves..but as the Bible says ” they worship me with their mouths, but their hearts are far from me” So to all you supposedly christians out ther here is the litmus paper to you true beliefs.(not religious beliefs , religion is mans way to try and get to God on their terms)..are you born again, do you love Jesus, do you love israel ..you cant sit on the fence you are either a fully fledged christian with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a love for Israel or a follower of Hatred…and Satan… there ar 2 roads to follow in this life one is to God (and only a few find it) and the other is to Satan which sadly the majority seems to follow ..another test for you is how do you fare with the fruits of the Holy Spirit recieved when you become born again, namely LOVE,JOY,PEACE,PATIENCE,KINDNESS,GOODNESS,GENTLENESS ,FAITHFULNESS AND SELF CONTROL…yes you have guessed God is a God of LOVE not hatred..that is a true test of your religion..which one are you…
as for me and my house we will worship the LORD
For a country that is as educated as Ireland is, with people who boast a seemingly “good will towards all” and “don’t hate”, I am seeing a disturbing and disgusting amount of hate in comments regarding this article in the Irish Press.
Obviously, the well educated Irish majority lack utter reading comprehension as they decided to turn the issue around claiming the author is “anti-Irish” and ignore the home truths she encountered while visiting here.
There is nothing anti-Irish about the article. It is stating plain facts. Fact, Ireland was nearly the last country to allow for an Israeli embassy. There is no arguing this.
It also states feeling. How someone from outside of Ireland, coming to Ireland would feel if this happened to them- and it did. You cannot attack Ms. Honig for experiencing what she did and feeling how she did. To do that, would go against everything the Irish supposedly believe in- democracy, freedom of opinion etc.
Ireland, as a country may be beautiful, with beautiful people with beautiful thoughts, but there is also a disgusting ugly underbelly to this country, people and thoughts. It is enough to read how much hate, foul mouthing and pure anti Israel, anti Jewish (call it what you like to make yourself feel better about yourself) spews from many comments to realize this.
Ms. Honig, I live in Ireland and I honestly hope that despite this incident you had a good time here. Moreover, I am pro Israel, pro Jewish and am disgusted with how the Irish press, the school have treated this, but claiming bias, attacking you personally and pretending it didn’t happen.
This happens. This is real.
I went to a pro-Israel rally in November and had people sieg-heil at me for attending and waving an Israeli flag. I had to be cautioned walking home with it since it was “not safe”.
Whoever wants to bury their head in the earth and say this behavior is fabricated are either lying to themselves or practicing their arm waving.
As I have said before, this is not just an Irish problem. Anti-semitism is so ingrained into both the Christian and Muslim faiths and culture that it is always just under the surface. Indeed, the popularity of the anti-Zionist/pro-Palestinian cause is more an acceptible form of anti-semitism than any support for people (Palestinians) nobody really cares about. And we must not ignore the fear factor. Muslims have demonstrated worldwide a proclivity for extream violence when roused. Easier for the Europeans to give in. After all, Jews are not going to blow up buses, trains and shoot little girls in the head. And unlike Muslims, we Jews don’t make heroes of them. So I don’t believe the Irish are worse than any others. The Brits may possibly hold the title among non Muslims.
Sarah brilliant article about Irish attitude to Israel. As I worked with the U.N. in Israel back in the 70’s and have visited Israel many times since, last time 18 months ago, I want you to know that in Ireland as anywhere else, “empty vessels make the most sound” . There is a silent majority in Ireland with views you never hear. As in any country, one meets decent people but also can encounter others with a confused outlook on life. Israel is a beautiful country and like Ireland an expensive country. Do not take the views as expressed down in Kerry to you as that of the majority of folk in this country. Regards, Ml.
Hi sarah, greetings from wet and windy Ireland. Initially I was in agreement of your assessment of your visit to Kerry but in hindsight I think differently. ireland is a mixed bag and I am one of those who stand with/pray for and love Israel. Ireland is indeed a sad place in the media as regards Israel bashing but this is not the case in this Kerry school. Lets keep our ammunition for the enemy. Below is a comment I posed on FB Irish4Israel.
” This is a shame but I regard it as more ignorance than anything; I would not run with it. Ireland does not have a history of anti-semitism as some other countries do. I was listening to some work colleagues from Poland, when they got drunk they started sniggering ‘jew’ jokes. That is a greater danger, people from countries with a history of anti-semitism going back centuries. Thank God we have been spared that type of history pretty much. Sarah Honig got a hold of the wrong end of the stick. Ireland is regarded as one of the most anti-Israel countries in EU but it is more to do with the pro-Pal minority than the silent majority. There are still many ppl who are not hoodwinked by them, Eire Go Brea.”
I did write to you earlier regarding your article on the palestinian fundraising for olive trees in rural ireland, I was somewhat outraged , not by your pointing this out but that it is allowed, and sadly if you check the main irish news paper today and the readers comments below it does look like there is some anti-israeli sentiment in Ireland indeed, I find this equally disgusting, as I sincerely believe that the people dont actually know the facts on the ground, and how life is for Israelis who live in the shadow of these so called peace loving Palestinians.. I am so ashamed, is there some way I can swop my passport for an Israeli one…:) ?
I wonder why the principal, rather than investigate and look into this, brush it off and try to turn the attention to this being anti-Irish. This isn’t anti-Irish. I would be appalled to have this man in charge of the education of my children.
He should be having classes teaching about Israel.
If he so wants to touch on “the conflict” he needs to show both sides, and have both sides bring up their points rather than only subscribing to one “truth” and saying the other one is a “lie” and “anti-Irish”. Sickening.
Firstly.Hope you had a nice time in the Kingdom.We have a Jewish Minister.We have had quite a few Jews in public office.Ben Briscoe was one of Dublins finest who served us well.Jews are and always were feared in Ireland as people who you could not trust in business.I for one know the difference between a Jew and a Zionist.To the Kids in your story I say they dont.Not all Jews are Zionists.As a Republican I always lean towards the people in peril. Yasser was a True Revolutionary but I draw the line at Hamas and their likes.At the end of the day Share the land and get on with life.
why doesn’t trocaire organize fund-raising for the Syrian civilians massacred by their own government, as well as the insurgents. There are refugees in camps in surrounding countries that can benefit from Irish generosity. Oops, could trocaire be disinterested due to lack of Jewish involvement? Mind you, there’s no comparison between the well-off Palestinians and the bleeding Syrians
I would recommend replacing this teacher with someone who can teach the students to be analytical rather than brain washing them. Just a suggestion.
Considering the great number and passion of the talkbacks, it is clear that Sarahs newest MASTERPIECE of political journalism has really struck a hornet’s nest !!!
A large part of the Irish are indoctrinated Christian Jew haters…and they still try to deny that UNDISPUTABLE fact…!
That article and the responses it provoked, should be STUDIED and EXAMINED…!
HERE we are at the grass roots of that disease called Antisemitism.
To be honest Chris it seems if anything you are completely Anti-Irish. I suspect that there is an Ulster Unionist/loyalist in you some how. The Irish are NOT anti semitic. The amount of AID that the Irish give each year to the needy (despite their current hardship) world wide regardless of creed or race is unparalleled to some other European Nations. From reading your many comments with regards to this article. It is plain to see you have a bone to pick with the Irish. I find this to be pure and simple Ignorance on behalf of the students and a half arsed attitude from the teacher and nothing more!. I was born raised and educated in Ireland an am a catholic. I can assure you the misdoings of the Jewish people through out the ages are taught in Ireland. I don not nescessarily agree with the Israeli Government but that does not make me anti semitic. I belive in the Israeli state and its right to live in peace. But in every conflict both sides need to be held account for their actions. Whether it be the IRA and British forces or the Israeli army and hezbollah! And once again that is not Anti Semitic! Good day to you sir.
Thank you for the validation of my last comment…
Chris….I’m not sure why i can’t comment in response to your last post but I am happy to hear that I have confirmed you’re Anti-Irish
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