IT’S NOT A SEA-CHANGE – IT’S A TSUNAMI

Diarmuid Breatnach

(Reading time main text: 10 mins.)

Marching in a Palestine solidarity demonstration or standing in some prominent spot in Ireland amidst Palestinian flags, solidarity banners and placards and listening to the beeping of horns in approval from passing traffic is a great feeling. Some visitors from other lands are often surprised at the extent of support here for the Palestinians. “It must be because of the Irish history of fighting colonialism and occupation”, they speculate. And some Irish people will nod eagerly in agreement. But it wasn’t always like this. There was a time when most Irish people sympathised or even empathised with the Israelis. And we need to be aware of that and of the journey the Irish people have made from there to here and how that happened.

Irish solidarity with Palestine rally outside the Israeli Embassy in Dublin, Tuesday 18 May 2021 (Photo: D.Breatnach)

Last night (26 May) the Dáil, the Irish Parliament, declared in unopposed vote that the “illegal”1 Israeli settlements amount to an annexation. The Breaking News.ie report on the vote called Ireland “the first EU member state to do so”, hinting that others may follow. And some of the northern European states might, indeed, unhappy with their support for Israeli atrocities through toeing the USA line – but someone always has to be first. The motion, put forward by the Sinn Féin party, passed unopposed, while an amendment by the People Before Profit party calling for the Israeli Ambassador and staff to be expelled2 failed by a comfortable majority of almost two to one. However, 46 Dáil votes in favour of the expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago. The vote and previous cross-party support, with the exception of Fine Gael, predicts a very smooth run for the “Occupied Territories” Bill soon to reach its third and final reading in the Dáil3.

An Israeli Ambassador to Ireland some years ago accused the Irish people of being “the most anti-semitic” in Europe. I think that was around the time of the Israeli Zionist State’s previous war with Gaza in 2014, when the extent of Irish society’s solidarity with the Palestinians was evident and, of course, for a number of decades now the Zionists have been working hard to appropriate Jewry and to daub anyone criticising Israel as being “against Jews”, i.e “anti-semitic”4. However, Maurice Cohen, Chairperson of the Jewish Representative Council was quoted in an Irish Times article that same year saying that there was no major anti-semitism in Ireland and that Irish people were able to distinguish between people who are Jewish and the Israeli State.5

That attitude, of the Irish sympathy with the oppressed Jews not equating support for the Israeli state, required some change, since for decades the majority view been supportive of Israel.

Anti-Semitism in modern Ireland

Christianity has often played a part in whipping up anti-Jewish feeling, using the New Testament story of Jews denouncing the Christ figure and their responsibility for his alleged crucifixion by the Romans. The Catholic and Protestant religions in Ireland played some part in that demonisation. But no notable medieval Irish writer gave us a Jew who would exact a pound of flesh from a human in revengeful debt repayment. Gaelic society had no Jewish ghettoes, no laws against Jews6.

Anti-semitism has existed in Ireland as in all other European countries but not to the extent that it has in some of those countries, for example in England. The 1904 Limerick Boycott or Pogrom is sometimes pointed out to counter such an assessment but the the full story needs to be known. Fr. John Creagh of the Redemptorist Order was an anti-semitic bigot and liar and did succeed in whipping up anti-semitism against the few Jewish families settled in Limerick. But the Bishop of Limerick, Dr. O’Dwyer denounced the bigotry, as did the Church of Ireland Bishop, Thomas Bunbury and a man who assaulted a rabbi was jailed. Nevertheless, the boycott and hostility continued for two years with the support of sections of the media (Limerick Leader, Irish Independent, Munster News)7 and a number of families left Limerick to emigrate from Cork port. However, passing through the city on their way, they were welcomed by people in Cork and given accommodation; such was the welcome that some decided to stay and David Marcus, a novelist and literary editor of the Irish Press and Louis Marcus, filmmaker, were descendants of those refugees, as was Gerald Goldberg, 1977 Mayor of Cork8.

The period of modern active anti-semitism in Ireland was the 1930s which reflected the rise of fascism and attendant anti-semitism around the world. The Catholic Church often saw fascism as a bulwark against atheism and communism and sections of the Irish ruling class regarded it as a defence against advances by the working class and socialism, additionally against Irish republicanism.

The Church and ruling class alliance had crushed the Republican resistance in the Civil War but the Republican movement, despite executions, jailing, internment, exile and repression, remained viable and began to reorganise itself. It did so militarily but also politically and despite the split in Sinn Féin and the formation of Fianna Fáil in 1926, the latter began to pick up electoral support and, by 1932 was in Government, albeit in a minority.9

The previous Government had produced hysterical propaganda against it, even suggesting the party was communist.

The Army Comrades Association, formed to counter Republicans after Fianna Fáil was elected to Government in 1932, went through a number of name changes but has been known as “the Blueshirts” collectively, although they did not adopt the blue shirt as part of their uniform until 1933. Despite their uniform style and “Roman salute” adopted from the Italian fascists, academics and some political activists have denied that the Blueshirts were a fascist organisation. However some of their leaders, including the former Garda Commissioner O’Duffy and a number of Government Ministers and supporters definitely were fascists and anti-semitic.

Blueshirts at Bluebell Cemetery, Dublin County 1934 (Photo sourced: Internet)

Irish Republicans and socialists fought the Blueshirts on the streets. In 1933 the De Valera Government banned a march on Dublin planned by the Blueshirts and later banned the organisation itself, which led to the formation of a right-wing coalition including the Blueshirts to form the Fine Gael political party10.

Irish Republicans and socialists went to fight against Franco in the Spanish Antifascist War (1936-39) and though outnumbered in the order of ten to one by those recruited by the Blueshirts11 to fight for Franco, it was only the Irish fighting on the Republican side who acquitted themselves well, fighting in many major battles and losing about a quarter of their number in action, while the Blueshirts gained a reputation for drunkenness, lack of discipline or of general military merit and saw little military action.

Shankill Road Belfast contingent of the antifascist socialist Republican Congress, at the annual Republican Wolfe Tone commemoration at Bodenstown, Co. Kildare, 1934. (Photo sourced: Internet)

During WWII the German Nazis ran a radio station, Irland-Redaktion, aimed at the Irish population and even containing some broadcasts in Irish but I gain the impression (without having reviewed its material) that it concentrated on anti-Allies propaganda, in particular probably anti-British and also on maintaining Irish state neutrality. It did contain broadcasts in the Irish language12.

ISRAEL IN IRISH POLITICS AND SOCIETY

POLITICS AND DIPLOMACY

The 1937 Constitution established under De Valera specifically mentioned Judaism in Article 44.1 and protected it from persecution while De Valera himself had good relations with the first Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Chaim Herzog (mentioned later here in relation to the founding of Israel). The State under De Valera remained officially neutral through WWII but, despite the IRA, actively friendly towards the Allies.

Some anti-semitism survived and has been picked up and incorporated in attempts to form fascist groups within Ireland which, since the 1930s defeat of the Blueshirts have been tiny and also prevented from having any great influence in society.13

But most of Irish society, especially after the horrors of the Nazi death-camps became common knowledge after WWII, empathised with the Jews. This continued to be the case as waves of Jewish refugees went to Palestine, often battling British soldiers and police who were trying to stop them landing.14

The State of Israel was created by Jewish settlers on Palestinian land in 1948 and was quickly recognised by two world powers – the USA and the USSR but the Irish state, like many others, was reluctant to follow suit, conscious that Palestine had been an Arab colonial possession or “mandate” of the UK, many of whose possessions around the world were being de-colonised.

In Irish eyes the Israeli Air Force attack on Egypt in 195315, two years before the Irish state was admitted to the United Nations, didn’t help Israel’s case. Israel struck without declaring war in support of the French and British attempt to maintain control of the Suez Canal against an Egyptian government’s intention to nationalise it. And the USA, keen to show that the balance of world powers had changed since WWII, publicly condemned the attack, especially chastising the old colonial powers and previous world masters, the British and French16.

President Nasser of Egypt making a speech (Image sourced: Internet). Nasser led the Egyptian nationalisation of the Suez Canal. (Photo sourced: Internet)

The Irish state of course had friendly relations with the USA but the Zionist State had some important Irish connections too. The Chief Rabbi of Palestine was a Zionist, Yitzhak Herzog – late of Belfast and Dublin, where he had also been Chief Rabbi of Ireland. One of his sons, Chaim Herzog, also a Zionist and though born in Belfast and raised in Dublin, became the 6th President of Israel.

De Valera, former IRA leader, founder of Fianna Fáil, later President of Ireland and friendly with Zionist Chaim Herzog (Photo sourced: Britannica)
Chaim Herzog, Zionist, Chief Rabbi of Ireland and later of Israel, friendly with De Valera. One of his sons was sixth President of Israel (Photo sourced: Internet)

Robert Briscoe (1894-1967), an Irish Republican and Zionist, a former prominent IRA Volunteer and TD (1927-1961 member of the Irish Parliament), twice Lord Mayor of Dublin (1956/’57, 1961/’62)17, not only supported the creation of the Israeli State but was a special adviser to Menachim Begin18 after the Second World War. He advised Begin in the transformation of the terrorist Irgun organisation into a parliamentary political movement in the form of Herut in the new Israeli state; the party later became Likud. Briscoe had also fund-raised for the Irgun in the USA.

Robert Briscoe, former IRA Volunteer and TD, as Lord Mayor of Dublin meeting USA President John F. Kennedy on the latter’s visit to Ireland in 1963 (shortly before Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas). (Photo sourced: Internet)

His son, Ben Briscoe (b.1934), also a TD (1965-2002) and Lord Mayor (1988-1989), was a Zionist too. Both Briscoes were members of the Fianna Fáil party, the party most often in government of the Irish state.

Alan Shatter (b.1951), was a Zionist from a Jewish family and TD (1981-2002; 2007-2016) and former member19 of Fine Gael, the party most times in government after Fianna Fáil (and now in coalition with it). Shatter was Minister for Equality and Minister for Defence from 2011 to 2014. Though controversial even within his own party (and at times, Government) Shatter was influential in Irish politics and a public defender of Israel, during the 2009 Gaza War calling an opposing TD “anti-semitic” and on another occasion clashing with Ilan Pappé, expatriate Israeli, anti-Zionist and Professor of History at University of Exeter, England and refuting his scholarship.

Alan Shatter as Minister for Justice with Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan behind him before both were obliged to resign in 2014 over the Garda McCabe whistleblower case. Shatter is a Zionist and defender of the Israeli State who this week alone had a letter defending the state in the Irish Times newspaper. (Photo credit: Brenda Fitzsimmons, Irish Times)

MEDIA

Pathé newsreel film with narration in English was shown regularly in Irish cinemas before WWII and up to the 1970s, sometimes before the main feature film but more often, when two films were shown, between them. Irish audiences on occasion between the end of the War and the founding of the Israeli state, saw British troops and police struggling with Jewish refugees at ports, or ships crammed with refugees being forbidden to land after the War. Even without their own long and recent history with the British, Irish sympathies would naturally go to the refugees, many of them survivors of Nazi death-camps.

The Zionist epic film Exodus starring Paul Newman (1960), purporting to depict the events in the creation of the Israeli State has been credited with being enormously influential in swinging USA popular opinion in support of Israel; it had a significant impact on Irish opinion also. It glorified the Zionist terrorist Haganah organisation (which later became the core of the Israeli Army) and was very anti-British and anti-Arab.

One of the realities of the formation of the Israeli State in 1948, the Nakba (Catastrophe), mass expulsion of Palestinians. (Image sourced: Internet)

Despite whatever concerns might have existed in its upper echelons, the Irish State recognised Israel de jure in 1963.

In 1966 the film Cast a Giant Shadow was produced in the USA and was soon showing in Britain and in Ireland. The film took as its human interest base story that of David Daniel “Mickey” Marcus, a true-life USA Zionist and WWII veteran but in its depiction of the formation of the State of Israel was wildly inaccurate, of course showing none of the massacres or evictions of Palestinians20 carried out by the Zionists, in particular their armed gangs. “Mickey” was a member of one of those terrorist gangs, the Haganah and was played by Kirk Douglas with Senta Berger as the love interest, while even Frank Sinatra, Yul Brynner, John Wayne and Angie Dickinson had cameo roles in the film. Despite its number of Hollywood stars and the support of the Israeli State and their armed forces, it reputedly flopped in terms of financial return on investment.

English language poster for the 1960 Exodus film, featuring Paul Newman at a high point in his career. (Image sourced: Internet)
Cover for the 1966 Cast A Giant Shadow film as a DVD (allegedly deleted and rare, according to EBay advertisement). (Image sourced: Internet)

Both films were popular in Ireland (showing Jewish paramilitaries fighting uniformed British troops and police didn’t hurt) and strengthened feeling of sympathy with Israel.

Also in the 1960s a number of socialist-type communities called “kibbutzim” were established on land in Palestine under Israeli rule and many young people, Jewish and Gentile, went to work in them for some months, out of idealism, to experience change, new cultures, comradeship (and possibly get laid, as the Yanks say).

Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land21 went by permission of the Israeli State and had a very narrow and sanitised experience (if at all) of what life was like there for the Palestinians.

In the 1967 June War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Palestine, the media reporting represented the inaccurate image of the plucky little Jewish State fighting against and overcoming aggression by combined Arab states. This was more easily done in the case of the 1973 war when Egypt and Syria attacked first, but the fact was that Israel had been the aggressor in the ‘67 war, striking at Egypt, Jordan and Syria and the Zionists were now in occupation of land conquered in that war.22

All those ingredients together helped create a culture of Irish society friendliness towards the Israeli State and no Israeli Ambassador was complaining at that time of the words of Irish Government Ministers, much less of the general attitude of the Irish population.

The friendly attitude was reflected also in much of the Irish nationalist movement. Irish language supporters and campaigners, who wished to make Irish a language spoken throughout Ireland and not only in the Gaeltacht areas, admired the Israeli State for its achievement in restoring Hebrew as a daily spoken language, a language that for centuries had been used only in religion.23

IRISH SOCIETY’S VIEW OF ISRAEL BEGINS TO CHANGE

However, people were beginning to see beyond the pro-Israel narrative. In 1974 the United Nations General Assembly recognised the Palestinian right to self-determination, along with the Palestine Liberation Organisation as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, as did the Arab League. The following year the UN General Assembly recognised Zionism as a racist ideology24 (which was not overturned until 1991).

In the Left and Republican movement

By the late 1960s most left-wing organisations around Europe were clear that the Israeli State was a Zionist one, not legitimate and that the Palestinians were oppressed and fighting a liberation struggle. Official Sinn Féin sent a delegate to conferences in Jordan and Kuwait in 1970/‘71; in 1970 too an article in the party’s weekly United Irishman saw Ireland, like Palestine in a national liberation struggle25. The Official IRA prisoners in Mountjoy Jail supported the Palestinians in their journal An Eochair in 1973 and Palestinians were among the guerrilla groups represented in the second Anti-Imperialist Festival organised by the Officials in July 1976.26

Nevertheless the election manifesto of the Workers’ Party in 1983, successor to Official SF, argued for the recognition of the State of Israel, although that was contrary to party policy and to the involvement of WP members in the Irish Friends of Palestine organisation, which was committed to supporting the PLO. However, party policy was soon publicly and internally reinstated in solidarity with Palestine.

Around this time, the British & Irish Communist Organisation, a small but influential organisation, had a pro-Israel position which however it reversed in the late 1980s, shortly before its demise.

In the 1970s the Provisional Sinn Féin weekly newspaper An Phoblacht often featured articles sympathetic to the Irish struggle from a USA-based correspondent signing himself as Fred Burns O’Brien. An Irish anti-imperialist working in London noted, in one of those articles, a favourable reference to the Israeli state and penned a protest letter to the Republican newspaper, pointing out that the Palestinians and not the Israeli Zionists were the natural allies of the Irish people and of anti-imperialists in general.27 The letter was not published and for some time O’Brien’s articles continued to appear in An Phoblacht.

However, once the Provisionals declared themselves to be in favour of socialism, they became pro-Palestinian and in the 1990s the PLO would have representatives attending Provisional Sinn Féin’s Ard Fheiseanna (Annual Congresses).28

Ireland today – the bloody path to being overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian

Large numbers of Irish people were becoming pro-Palestinian and against the Israeli state from the 1970s onwards, a process that accelerated through the decades.

After an air force, naval and ground artillery bombardment in 1972, Israel’s infantry and armoured forces invaded south Lebanon with the support of its right-wing Christian militia ally. That action resulted in between 1,100-2,000 Palestinian and Lebanese Muslims dead and 100,000-250,000 internally displaced.29

In 1982 the Israeli armed forces were back in Lebanon again, allied to right-wing Lebanese Christian militia. Estimates of Palestinian and Lebanese killed during that conflict vary from 1,100 to other sources quoting about 2,000 killed, most of them Palestinian and Lebanese. From 100,000 to 250,000 people were displaced internally due to the invasion and fighting and that and other events contributed hugely to the ongoing Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). However on this occasion the Israeli armed forces suffered considerable casualties, often in ground struggle with Hizbollah fighting from tunnels.

Massacres of civilians in refugee camps became part of the war in Lebanon, with both Syrian and Israeli culpability.

A scene from the aftermath of the Sabra and Shatila Massacre 1982 facilitated by Israel (Image sourced: Internet)

On 12 August 1976, supported by Syria, Christian Maronite forces managed to overwhelm the Palestinian and leftist militias defending the Tel Al Zaatar refugee camp in east Beirut, which had been under siege since January. The Christian militia massacred 1,000–1,500 civilians, which unleashed heavy criticism against Syria from the Arab World.

Six years later, on 18th September 1982, the right-wing Christian Phalange (also known as Kataeb Party), in the presence and under the protection of the Israeli armed forces, its ally, massacred occupants of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp in Beirut. Estimates of the number of massacre victims vary with the highest number at 3,500, mostly Palestinians and Lebanese Shiites.

1987 saw the beginning of the First Intifada of strikes, civil disobedience and riots (which did not end until 1991). That year alone 289 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza were killed by Israeli state forces with another 15 by Israeli zionist civilians, while only ten were killed on the Israeli side, six civilians and four of the armed state forces. In addition, Mossad agents shot the Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali in the head in a London street. Overall during the First Intifada the Israeli army killed more than 1,000 Palestinians whilst 164 Israelis were killed.

The Second Intifada began nine years later and ran from 2000 to 2005 with a death-toll of 3,000 Palestinians and 1,000 Israelis, as well as 64 foreigners.

Unarmed Palestinian women confront armed Israeli soldiers in December 1987, during the first Intifada. (Photo credit: Robert Croma, Mary Scully Reports).

After Hamas won their landslide victory in the 2007 elections to the Palestinian Authority, Al Fatah denied them taking administrative power in the West Bank but a similar attempt failed to do so in Gaza. The Israeli armed forces withdrew from Gaza but kept control of one of its gates, its air space and sea. Minor armed conflicts continued until 2009, when Israel launched an intensive attack on the enclave, dubbing it Operation Cast Lead. Over the 22 days of the assault, in which Israel used white phosphorous shells against civilian areas (against international law), 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, of which 431 were children.

In 2010 the Israeli Navy intercepted ships, one of which sailed from Ireland, bringing aid to Gaza on the high seas, boarded them under arms, killing ten Palestinian solidarity activists on a Turkish ship and sailed the ships into Israeli port. In the process they jammed the radar and radio of the ships, confiscated the cargoes (though some were eventually released to Gaza), confiscated the mobile phones and laptops of crew and passengers (the memories of which they inspected, wiping many photos and film), seized the ships, detained the passengers and crew in jail and deported them.

Carlos Latuf cartoon draws on the film Jaws to depict the Israeli Navy’s stalking and attack on the Irish aid-to-Gaza ship, the Rachel Corrie. (Image sourced: Internet)

In November 2013, Palestine was accorded “non-member observer status” in the United Nations and would henceforth be referred to officially as “the State of Palestine”.

When the Israeli Ambassador called Ireland “the most anti-semitic country in Europe was I think, as I said, 2014, during or soon after his state’s assault on Gaza that year.

On the Palestinian side 2,251 were killed during that war, of which 551 were children and 299 women; in addition 11,231 Palestinians were injured, including 3,436 children and 3,540 women. More than 1,500 Palestinian children were orphaned. 18,000 housing units were destroyed in whole or in part and 73 medical facilities and many ambulances were damaged.30 There was widescale damage to electricity generation and supply and to sewage treatment plants, which resulted in heavy sea pollution; factories also were destroyed.

On the Israeli side, the casualties were 67 Israeli soldiers, five Israeli civilians (including one child) and one Thai civilian killed, while 469 IDF soldiers and 261 Israeli civilians were injured. Hardly an Israeli building was damaged despite the approximately 300 rockets fired by Palestinian guerrilla groups.

This was not war of two belligerents and the casualty statistics underlined that; the Israelis had an airforce, the Palestinians have none; the Israelis had a navy, the Palestinians have none. The Israelis had sophisticated long-range and even remotely-controlled weapons; all the Palestinians have is their home-made rockets, most of which fall short or are destroyed by Israeli defence systems. Of course, the Palestinians have no anti-air attack defence systems whatsoever. The only effective armed response that Palestinians have is their guerrilla forces which are only effective within firearm reach of the enemy, when they can certainly take their toll, as the Israeli Occupation Forces found when they invaded Gaza and were forced to retreat.

Irish society saw enough of this, on videos, in reporting on TV and in print and drew their conclusions despite the media bias nearly always in favour of the Israelis and against the Palestinians. The solidarity activist organisations helped educate the Irish people but it was mostly what the latter saw and heard and the process of their own brains that transformed their view.31

In 2017 the Palestinian flag was flown above Dublin’s City Hall by majority vote of Dublin City councillors for one month in solidarity with the Palestinians.

The latest Gaza “War” just concluded was another in a long list and the current truce can only be, as those before it, a temporary one. The Zionist State project requires oppression and repression of Palestinians which in turn can only give rise to continued resistance. The Zionist State cannot defeat the Palestinian will to resist but nor can the Palestinian resistance defeat the militarily far superior Israeli State with its huge military, economic and political support from the United States of America. The states of the world that would wish to support the Palestinians or at least end the periodic bloodbaths will need to withdraw their support from the US-led alliance that supports the Zionist State.

THE ATTITUDE OF IRISH SOCIETY TODAY

Altogether, the opinion of most of Irish society today on the Israel-Palestine conflict is vastly different to what it was in the 1950s, 1960s and even 1970s – a sea-change has taken place of which Irish politicians have had to take note. People today have alternative sources of information to the Irish and British mainstream written and TV media, with major news networks such as Al Jazeera and RT. In addition, some mainstream media has decided to expose Israeli’s actions. But also video and photographs from smaller organisations and individuals get shared on social media and are seen by hundreds, thousands or even hundreds of thousands.

Part of the Ha’Penny Bridge, Dublin annual New Year’s Day Palestine solidarity demonstration organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign 2020 (Photo: D.Breatnach)

The Palestinian solidarity activities of what has been broadly the largest oppositional movement to the State, the Republican Movement, through its publicity and the activism of its members of course helped develop awareness in Irish society of the justice of the Palestinian cause and, conversely, of the injustice of that of the Zionist State. The small socialist and communist organisations also played a part.

Although all those, including in particular in more recent times solidarity groups and individual activists, have made a huge contribution, the main element responsible for the change has been the visible behaviour of the Zionist State itself, along with its Zionist supporters, both inside and outside Israel.

And the “sea-change” has become now a tsunami.

End.

FOOTNOTES

1Declared illegal by the United Nations, since they are all on land seized in conquest by Israel in 1967. Many Zionists however regard them as the logical extension of the Israeli state, a kind of Zionist “manifest destiny”. On the other hand, many others consider the Israeli state itself to be illegal, a racist, religious state on ground seized from the Palestinians.

2A traditional diplomatic way of expressing extreme displeasure with the state represented by an embassy.

3Sponsored by Irish Senator Frances Black, a singer, social and human rights campaigner, its full title is Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 and has been proceeding slowly since 2018. The Bill would it make it illegal to import, repackage or sell products from the ‘Occupied Territories’ within the territory of the Irish State, liable on conviction to heft fines. Its passage and implementation would represent another ‘first’ in the EU for Ireland.

4Originally it meant “against the semitic people” and since the Arabs are “semitic people” too, it would mean being hostile to them also — which would make Zionists anti-semitic, in part. But we’ll use the term here to mean “anti-Jewish”, which is how most people understand it these days (except for the Zionists, for which it means “criticising Israel”).

5https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/jewish-population-here-not-experiencing-hostility-says-official-1.1896293

6Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, written during the reign of Elizabeth I of England, figures the Jewish financier demanding the pound of flesh from the Christian merchant, a terrible portrayal and it is that which remains in the memory and even in the language, while the Jew’s recounting of the insults he has received before that are mostly forgotten. England had anti-semitic laws in terms of settlement, trade and other rights until the 1930s and semi-official tolerance/ encouragement of active anti-semitism right up to WWII.

7And Arthur Griffiths, shortly before he founded the original Sinn Féin party.

8While it is stated in many sources that some families remained in Cork and although I can recall recently reading about the welcome the city gave them, I regret that a number of searches have failed to date to reveal that source.

9Fianna Fáil remained governing in minority until 1938 when it was in majority, was in minority again in 1943, in majority in 1944 until ‘48 when it was in Opposition.

10The party is often to this day called “Blueshirts” by opponents.

11And blessed by many Irish bishops and priests as “crusaders for the Catholic Faith”.

12See link for in SOURCES at end of article for review of Hitler’s Irish Voices: The Story of German Radio’s Wartime Irish Service by David O’Donoghue (Beyond the Pale Publications) in History Ireland.

13The difficulties of capitalism recently, the breakdown of the two-party system and the Covid19 pandemic have provided opportunities for far-Right and outright fascists organising in Ireland and anti-semitism features among them in particular in the three tiny fascist parties. However, they tend not to promote their anti-semitism, preferring instead to concentrate on anti-immigration, homophobia and islamophobia.

14Even though the British had been encouraging Jewish migration to Palestine since at least the Declaration by the British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour in 1917.

15The British had previous control over Egypt, having fought the French and the Egyptians and in fact still had troops there until June 1956. But their days were numbered there from the Arab nationalist coup in the Egyptian Army in 1952, which is what led to the nationalisation of the Suez Canal.

16President Eisenhower threatened to hurt the UK financially and the British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, was forced to resign.

17The Lord Mayorship of Dublin is a largely ceremonial position but of course not without some influence; the chosen candidate is elected by City councillors at their Annual Meeting in the summer and occupies the position until the election of the successor the following year.

18Leader of the Irgun and sixth President of the Israeli State.

19Shatter resigned his membership in 2018; he was the sitting TD with the largest property portfolio of any member of Ireland’s cabinet while a cabinet minister (2011-2014).

20And even rape before murder, as was acknowledged officially a few years ago.

21Because of its location in much of the Christian Bibles, Palestine is considered the “Holy Land”. However it holds sites revered by Jews and Muslims too.

22It was in that war that Jerusalem and much additional land was occupied by Israel and part of the Zionist project is to make Jerusalem the Jewish-only capital of the Israeli State (hence the recent Zionist civilian harassment of Palestinian families living there).

23Other Jewish languages were used such a Yiddish – mostly German in composition — by the Ashkenazi Jews and Ladino — mostly medieval Spanish-Portuguese but with many other influences — by the Sephardic Jews.

24Resolution 3379.

25The Lost Revolution, Brian Hanley & Scott Millar (2009), pp.213, 215, 221

26Ibid, p.334.

27I wrote the letter and it was not the only one they didn’t publish. My father Deasún Breatnach, who was Editor of the paper for a couple of years, told me that he had been refused permission to publish another letter I had written.

28The PLO at the time was controlled by the Al Fatah organisation and in 1989 signed up to the disastrous Oslo Agreement, which in time led to their losing their place in the leadership of the Palestinian movement and of the Palestinian Authority to Hamas. Both Palestine and South Africa were initially seen in some quarters as great examples of the alleged benefits of “peace processes” and both the PLO and ANC delegates at the Ard-Fheis were employed to help swing the Provisionals’ membership between the Irish version of the “process”.

29Most of the statistics are taken from a Wikipedia source clearly influenced by pro-Israeli contributors: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict

30https://www.ochaopt.org/content/key-figures-2014-hostilities

31A notable exception to this whole process has been the Unionist section of the British colony in Ireland, the Six Counties. In particular the Loyalists love to hate anything the Republicans support and for that reason profess to hate the Palestinians and to support the Israeli state, despite some connections of theirs with British and Irish fascist groups who are anti-semitic.

SOURCES(in order of use)

Irish Parliament votes to declare Israeli ‘illegal settlements’ and annexation: https://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/dail-to-vote-on-motion-calling-for-expulsion-of-israeli-ambassador-defeated-1133487.html

“Occupied Territories Bill”: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/bills/bill/2018/6/

Gaza War 2014 casualties: https://www.ochaopt.org/content/key-figures-2014-hostilities

Anti-Semitism in England: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_United_Kingdom

Limerick antisemitic Boycott and riots: https://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/the-limerick-pogrom-1904/

Blueshirts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueshirts

Irish Christian Front: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Christian_Front

Anti-Semitism in Ireland (in particular during the WWII years): https://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/jews-in-twentieth-century-ireland-refugees-anti-semitism-the-holocaust-dermot-keogh-cork-university-press-15-99-isbn-1859181503-hitlers-irish-voices-the-story-of-german-radio/

Protection of Judaism in the 1937 Irish Constitution: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Ireland#Religion

Herzog: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaim_Herzog

Robert Briscoe, IRA Volunteer, TD and Zionist: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Briscoe_(politician)

Ben Briscoe, Jewish, Lord Mayor of Dublin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Briscoe

Ben Briscoe Lord Mayor of Dublin and Zionist: https://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1103&context=phr

Alan Shatter: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Shatter

Zionist Hollywood films:

(1960): https://www.timeout.com/movies/exodus

(1966): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cast_a_Giant_Shadow

Massacre and rape by Israeli soldiers in one village: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safsaf_massacre

June or Six-Day War: https://www.history.com/topics/middle-east/six-day-war#

Timeline and statistics in a Zionist-influenced Wikipedia site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Israeli%E2%80%93Palestinian_conflict

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