Robert Avrech over at the excellent blog Seraphic Secret posted the following piece about Ireland's role in the upcoming Gaza Flotilla, a post he provocatively named Irish Ship of fools. Below is an extract.
An excellent article by Ruth Dudley Edwards, an Irish historian, novelist, journalist and broadcaster, on the Gaza-bound flotilla of fools. She correctly notes that this movement is motivated not by humanitarian concerns but a pathological hatred of Jews.It was the Fifties and I was about seven when I pointed to the photograph of Hitler in my republican granny’s lair and said: “What about the Jews, grandmother?” “British propaganda,” she replied.
Grandmother Edwards was not stupid, but she was adept at filtering out information that didn’t fit her world view. As far as she was concerned, the Nazis had been allies of the IRA and enemies of the Brits so they were the good guys.
I retired to discuss the matter further with my mother, at whose knee I had learned about the Holocaust and who was an admirer of Jewish creativity and culture. I will be forever grateful to her for inoculating me against the knee-jerk anti-Semitism of Roman Catholicism and for making me ashamed of my country’s meanness of spirit in slamming the door against Jewish refugees.
Let us be clear. Whether they know it or not, that gaggle of posturing, ignorant Irish clowns who are setting sail towards Gaza on the MV Saoirse are driven by anti-Semitism. Otherwise they would be protesting against — for instance — the Islamist killings and bombings that are forcing tens of thousands of Christians to flee the Middle East, the ethnic cleansing in the Sudan, the ill-treatment of servants and women in Saudi Arabia, the hanging of gays from cranes in Iran, the massacres of protesters in Libya and Syria, the torture of Irish-trained doctors in Bahrain for tending to injured demonstrators and the vicious anti-Jewish propaganda that teaches Arab children to hate.
Hey, I have a fab-u-lous idea for the creatures who are so anxious to bring, ahem, humanitarian relief to suffering Arabs. Try pointing your flotilla towards Sudan where hundreds of thousands are being slaughtered, or Syria where children are being shot down in the streets by Assad’s thugs, or gee, hey about helping out the hapless NATO forces—Obama says he’s leading from behind, which is, I suppose, much like leading with your tuchus—in Libya where the lunatic Kaddafi and his mad-dog sons employ Muslim mercenaries to slaughter, what a shock, Muslims.
A commenter at Seraphic Secret made the following remark.
The Irish have a lot to answer for, and for not the first time, I wish I had a different surname. When asked about my background, I tend to say that my people came from the north of England and Scotland. Some of my Irish-Canadian friends joke that the famine forced all the really smart, energetic, industrious people out of Ireland, leaving the folks who killed each other in a civil war after gaining independence, helped Nazi subs refuel and provision, and support cretinous causes like the Gaza flotilla.
I being the cantankerous sort that I am took exception to aspects of this post and left the following comment.
The first part of Ruth Dudley Edwards' article is lazy and inaccurate for the following reasons. The story about her messed up old granny is a deliberate attempt to associate Irish Republicanism with being pro fascist and anti semetic. There is little or no evidence of this. In truth, her motivation is likely that of an emigrant whose experience in parochial Ireland was an unhappy one. This is probably more for personal reasons than anything else.
Now for some facts. The IRA of 1938-41 which was a splinter of a splinter of a splinter of a splinter of the IRA that achieved independence in 1922 sent 3 men to Germany in 1938. After realising their capability was light, they were refused any help by Berlin. The Nazis wanted people who could invade Northern Ireland or commit large scale sabotage in Belfast which the IRA were unable to do. The IRA instead initiated a bombing campaign of mainland Britain which petered out by 1940 after causing minimal damage and 6 fatalities. If any of you want to take from this that the Irish who won their freedom during 1916-1921 hated Jews and loved the Nazis then go right ahead, but I for one think that like those who constantly bash Israel, you probably have a bigoted (perhaps anti Catholic) motive.
I am glad Eamon referred to the Irish Republican constitution of 1938 which specifically mentions the Jews as having protection under the constitution. When the rest of Europe was enacting laws persecuting the Jews, the Irish were passing laws protecting them. This is one of the reasons there is a forest in northern Israel named after Eamon De Valera. I don't expect there is any other nation other than Israel whose constitutions mentions the Jewish people.
Across the Irish Civil War divide there was a positive view of Irish Jews. Richard Mulcahy is a figure who has been written out of Republican history because he took the moderate pro Treaty side in the Civil War, this despite the fact that he was IRA Chief of Staff during the 1919-21 war against the British. His son recently published his fathers papers in which he mentions several times how Dublins Jewish community contributed to the struggle by storing ammunition and harbouring IRA members on the run.
On the other side De Valera's close associate Robert Briscoe was a devout Jew and Zionist who fought against the British, and against the first independent government which he believed had sold out. His actions were very similar to those in the Irgun who were willing to fight the IDF in 1948. I don't think the late Mr Briscoe, or his son Ben (a former Lord Mayor of Dublin) would take too kindlly to Mrs Dudly Edwards article.
Furthermore, her statement that she was ashamed of "my country’s meanness of spirit in slamming the door against Jewish refugees" makes little sense. World War Two created many times more non Jewish refugees than Jewish ones. The Irish government didn't take them in either. The government of the time was protectionist and introvert and did not, shamefully accept many refugees. Like every nation on earth, Ireland at the time had anti semites but crucially, we kept ours away from power. When it comes to European nations' war time treatment of the Jews, Ireland is one of the last nations that should be criticised. Could they have done more , of course, what nation couldn't.
I'm not sure what you think the Irish have to answer for.
I too wish you had a different second name. And as for your friends who joke that the 1.5 million Irish who perished in the 19th century famine (thousands of whom are buried in a mass grave about 1 mile from where I live) were useless and that their decedents are losers, please tell them that I said I think they are repulsive scumbags. And by the way, the post independence Civil War in Ireland lasted 11 months and cost 2,000 lives. It resulted in a stable democracy that has lasted the test of time. As civil wars go, it was must less costly than most, including your own American.
The" Irish chattering classes" are no different than the American chattering classes. There is also an American ship travelling to Gaza. I resent the title and the tone of this post.
Thoughts ? Would Gubu World readers care to add anything to this fascinating discussion.