Saturday, November 20, 2010

Photo of the Day

The Israeli Flag flies alongside the Union Jack and the Cross of St George in Northern Ireland.

I snapped this picture during the week somewhere near Enniskillin in Co Fermanagh. Obviously this is a loyalist area but my question is this. Why do some loyalists identify themselves with the Israeli cause. Perhaps it is a conservative Christian influence. Perhaps, but in truth I suspect it is some form of sectarian game where loyalists have decided to support Israel simply because many republicans sympathise with the Palestinians. Furthermore, many loyalist organisations have known connections with far right groups in Europe which brings with it a natural sympathy for their anti Semitic ideals. Defending Zion is hardly a cause they can be genuinely enthusiastic about. But in this case, I suppose I will give them the benefit of the doubt.


Paul said...

'Defending Zion is hardly a cause they can be genuinely enthusiastic about.'

It has much to do with Christian Zionism, they (Conservative Unionists) tend to be very keen on it. They also to an extent view themselves as being similar to the Israelis, in that they are surrounded by a hostile religion that is seeking to subjugate or destroy them. So a mixture of religious influences, paranoia, a touch of sectarianism and a counter to Irish republican's anti-Semitism.

Ted Leddy said...


Excellent points. I know many conservative Protestants in the north identify with the Christian right in the US which as we know is very Pro Israeli. Also the siege mentality cannot be under stated.

I don't however accept that Irish Republicanism is anti Semitic by nature (if that is your insinuation). Obviously the far left wing element of the republican agenda, of which there are several splinter organisations share the anti Israel (often anti Semitic) ideals of other far left groups.

However, traditionally I don't believe Irish Republicanism is anti Semitic. A very influential early Republican was the Jewish figure Ben Briscoe from Dublin. When you think of a Jewish revolutionary you probably think communist. But Briscoe was a devout Jew, a Zionist and a hard core Irish Republican who not only fought the British, but the new Irish state which he felt had sold out republican ideals. He was very close to De Valera and when the Republican constitution was created in 1937 it specifically enshrined the rights of Irelands Jews. As far as I'm aware other than Israel, no other country has done this. This provision was however removed in a 1972 amendment along with the "special position" of the Catholic Church.

Furthermore, I just finished a book by Risteard Mulcahy, whose father Richrd Mulcahy was the Chief of Staff of the IRA during the 1919-1921 war. The book is a discussion of his unpublished memoirs and tapes in which he regularly praises the Dublin Jewish community who largely supported and protected Republican persons.

There were of course anti semitic individuals in Irish Republican politics, most notably the fascist Eoin O'Duffy. However I take satisfaction out of the fact that he became discredited completely even before the horrors of fascism were fully known.

Paul said...

Good points overall, mentioning O' Duffy, it could be pointed out that vastly more republicans during the 30's followed him to Spain then joined the International brigades. Also as we have discussed earlier the clumsy sending of the Hitler telegram by Dev, would suggest at least a strong fascistic streak amongst republicans of that period. Looking at republicans today, I can see none that support Israel. There is abundant evidence though that many of them have views which border on fascistic or anti-Semitic. They tend to belong to the 'we are all Hamas now' crowd.

Either way I can't help but regard contempory Irish nationalism or republicanism with irony. As my mate Seamus has said 'remember the golden rule - he who has the gold makes the rules'. Irish sovereignty will evaporate to the tune of 85m Euros. Sorry to say it mate, but you stand to have considerably less sovereignty than you had pre-1921 in relative terms.

theysystemworks said...

I never understood the connection. Most Israelis seem to sympathise with the Irish, rather than the British, in my experience, and express no special affection with Ulster Unionists.

The Jews of Ireland were intensely Zionist and supported the Republican cause for similar reasons. Its a shame what Irish Republicanism has become, hi-jacked by Marxist, anti-Israel drug dealers.

I'm inclined to say Christian Zionism is a factor, but I read articles on this subject by Rory Miller who suggests most of it was just a reaction to Irish Republicans coming close to the Palestinians, Pan-Arabists and now even the Islamists. Though the whole 'siege mentality' thing the Unionists have may have may lead to some support for the Israelis. I know South Koreans who feel the same way. I believe Connor Cruise O' Brien wrote a history of Israel titled 'The Siege'.

thesystemworks said...

This is not a reflection my my actual views, but a satirisation of anti-Zionism, which is popular in Ireland:

The IRA helped violently bring about the illegal creation of the Irish State, which was built on the mass displacement of Protestants that had lived in the region for centuries. This little ethnocracy on the edge of Europe handed its educational institutions to the Catholic Church, the only people who really benefited from the creation of the Republican regime - other than the a cligue of vile nationalists whose families dominated the country in almost all respects for decades. Members of Opus Dei in the Irish government like Michael Woods ensured the Catholic Church would get over one billion euros from the taxpayer to cover the legal costs associated with their child abuse.

The vast majority of Irish people do not live in Ireland. This racist state, that gives massive privileges to the speakers of a near-dead language - which served a useful agenda of ethnic cleansing - does not speak for all 80,000 000 Irish people. The region was ruled from England for centuries and its foundation was against the wishes of the majority in Westminister, the democratic parliament of the UK. I call for one state solution to the Irish question: One State in the British Isles!

Ted Leddy said...


On O'Duffy, every European country had it's fascists. Ireland was no different. I don't have any figures but I am fairly sure more Irish fought for the Republican government than fought for Franco's fascists.

On Dev, while I was no fan of his I am positive that sympathy for fascism or Nazism was not a factor in his decision to visit the German embassy that day. During the 1930's he was highly critical of German and Japenese agression whilst adressing the League of Nations. As I have argued before, I think that spectacular miscalculation of his was more about his strict interpretation of neutrality.

On the Bailout. Thanks by the way. We owe you one. There is a pint with your name on it next time your in Dublin. It is obviously highly humiliating for us. However, despite the never ending horrible economic news I remain confident about Ireland's future. While the Public finances are utterly F#$ked the underlying economy is not that bad. The private sector is actually generating growth. My generation is highly motivated and very entrapreneurial so I think we'll bounce back. It is a significant loss of economic sovereignty no question. But worse than Pre 1922 ? I wouldn't go that far. Especially considering we were ruled directly from Westminister by a mad gang of imperialists.

Ted Leddy said...


I too was aware that many Israelis tend to sympathise with Irish Republicans. This is partly due to the Irish Jewish influence in Israel and the legacy of the 1945-1948 conflict in Palestine. An Irish Catholic guy I met, who had served with the IDF and who was married to an Israeli woman told me that he won his Belfast cousins over when he told them that Jewish militants killed more British soldiers in 1945-48 than Irish Republicans killed in the last 100 years.

It is not completely true that Irish Republicanism has been hijacked by Marxist anti Israel drug dealers. This is part of the same decades long dispute of "the IRA have stolen Republicanism from the constitutional republicans in Fianna Fail and Fine Gael." I am an Irish Republican and I consider myself a friend of Israel. The same is true of Alan Shatter, Enda Kenny, and many other mainstream constitutional republicans.

I have read similar pieces by Rory Miller. He is an excellent academic.

I don't really understand where you're coming from with your final comment. But there is a post coming tomorrow that addresses that issue comprehensively. Watch for it.

thesystemworks said...

My final comment was simply applying typical anti-Israel discourse to the situation in Ireland, and show how misleading this demonising speech can be. However, there is no doubt that lots of Irish Protestants were murdered after the War of Independence, and the bulk of the Protestant population left between 1912-22.

I hate socialism with every fibre of my being. Marxist Republicans have no place in Ireland. They seserve to be demonised.

Paul said...

'I wouldn't go that far. Especially considering we were ruled directly from Westminster by a mad gang of imperialists.'

You may have misinterpreted my sentiments with regards to pre-1921. I actually regard the Irish struggle at that time as just, unlike its later manifestations. However I did state an arguable fact, you will have less sovereignty as a consequence of this than you did in 1921. I mean what is the point in sending TDs to the Dail, when they have no control over the budget?

Now mad gang of imperialists time, I accept that many were. Although they were decent enough to sacrifice their empire in two global struggles against German militarism. Not only that but a quick look at history certainly reveals many acts of lunacy - Amritsar, the unjust treatment of Jews in Palestine denying them a state etc. I have no problem believing that. But the fact is that the EU is controlled by appointed officials - a commission. Was Ireland before 1916? No, Irish MPs had full voting rights and the Home Rule Bill was supported by many MPs outside of Ireland as well. Just like many normal English folk nowadays support a united Ireland. Personally I'd be happy either way, I love the Irish but that debate is for another day.

On the mad imperialists by the way, more than a few were from Ireland such as Mickey O'Dwyer governor of the Punjab at the time of Amritsar. I read somewhere that the cost of the bailout to my family is going to be approximately $600 a year. Given the choice I'd rather invest that directly in Ireland myself with a nice holiday. But with everything EU, individual choice is moot.

thesystemworks said...

''When you think of a Jewish revolutionary you probably think communist''

No way! I think of the Jews who fought and supported the Confederate States of America, like Judah Benjamin and such (I've always been a Confederate sympathiser, and I kvelled on learning of the Jewish support the CSA got).

Of course, the Zionist revolution comes to mind first - as you said, we killed more British troops between 1945-48 than the Irish Republicans did in 100 years!

Ted Leddy said...


I get it now. Well argued. The protestant population of the 26 counties is about ten percent. I have no idea what it was during 1912 to 1922 but I would love to know.

I was not aware of Jewish support for the confederates. Very interesting. I will look into that. There might be a "Random Interesting Piece of History" post in that one.

thesystemworks said...


If your into law, Judah Benjamin's textbook on sales still happens to be the definitive work on the subject in the UK and Ireland (after the Civil War he fled to England). He was the Confederate Attorney General, Secretary of War and Secretary of State.

There is a book called 'The Jewish Confederates' by Robert Rosen and a very nice text called 'Jewish Roots in Southern Soil' - they both explore the Jewish/Reb relationship in depth. Most Jews at the time lived in the South, and they were primarily Sephardim of Portugese origin. Louisiana and South Carolina had the highest Jewish populations in America at the time. Several thousand Jews fought in the CSA, effectively the head of every Jewish household.

On Ireland's Protestants, I think there has been a subtle increase in interest in the subject:

It is now well known that everyday Protestants, not wealthy landowners or prominent unionists, were targeted by death squads after the war, particularly in Cork and the border counties. They would often kill eldest sons in the family so nobody could inherit the farm. After a series of sectarian murders in West Cork, the trains were apparently packed for weeks with fleeing Protestants.

Protestant population trends in the Republic:

Ted Leddy said...


Interesting comments about pre 1921, particularly coming from a former Britsh soldier. I read recently about one of the larger scale engagements of the 1919-21 war. It occured in a place called Ballinalee in Co Longford. IRA men under the leadership of Sean McKeoin (future Fine Gael Justice minister) engaged British soldiers from the local barracks. After inflicting a number of fatalities they took about 20 soldiers prisoner. Their wounds were treated before they were released unharmed. McKeoin himself was captured some months later and sentenced to death for the killing of an RIC man. However several soldiers from the Ballinalee incident testified to his good treatment of them whilst in captivity. The death sentence was delayed lasting until the truce, where upon he was released.

On the soverignty thing. I really don't know what to think.

"But the fact is that the EU is controlled by appointed officials - a commission. Was Ireland before 1916? No, Irish MPs had full voting rights and the Home Rule Bill was supported by many MPs outside of Ireland as well".

This is a fair point. Regarding the commission, I suppose the same could be argued about any EU country. It is true that we no longer control our own finances, for at least a period of four years anyway. Still, electing MP's to a foreign parliament is not my idea of sovereignty.

The Home Rule bill was highly controversial, between mutinees in the British Army and Ulster loyalists arming themselves in opposition it may never have happened. I often think that the most important thing to happen Ireland between 1914 and 1924 was that a wide scale war (Balkan style) between catholic and protestant was avoided.

Back on topic. What is sovereignty ? I take it to mean being in control of your own Political, military and economic affairs. Ah well, two out of three isn't so bad !

Paul said...

'Back on topic. What is sovereignty ? I take it to mean being in control of your own Political, military and economic affairs. Ah well, two out of three isn't so bad !' Ted, that is vastly over-optimistic I fear. Because the autonomy of the tow are dependent upon the capital of the one.

It is true, that the Irish War of Independence saw many incidents of compassion as well as hatred. However this is perhaps unsurprising when you consider the history of many units involved. For instance the Cameron Highlanders had been previously based in Cork and many had wives from the area. At one point they even sent Gaelic speakers into pubs to try and eavesdrop on local republicans. There was generally less animosity between locals and some regular Army regiments. Needless to say the Auxiliaries (an RIC outfit) did not fall into this pattern of mutual empathy. A good source on this is 'British voices from the Irish war of Independence' a fascinating read. The opinions of Montgomery and Percival (infamous for losing Singapore) make great reading. Percival in particular understood the insurgency very well.

With regards to the EU - I have no respect whatsoever for that corrupt joke. Neither Britain nor Ireland possess full sovereignty anymore. At least however you were given a say via referendum. Brown by comparison committed treason, surrendering sovereignty to a foreign body without a legal or moral authority to do so - tosser.