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Attacks against Jews in Irish Free State.



  • Registered Users Posts: 26,050 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    No, but that's not what you're trying to prove. You're trying to prove the the government and/or the church worked to keep this particular event out of the out of the history books.

    As far as I can see, you've got nothing on this. But I'd have more respect for you if you'd say so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,780 ✭✭✭BalcombeSt4

    No, of course, I don't have any type of documented evidence, nor do I believe priests & government ministers were meeting in a smokey darkroom going over a list of incidents that could or couldn't be mentioned.

    I do believe however the overall influence of the Church & Conservative politicians helped to mould the state in a self-censoring society, a "manufacturing of consent" were incidents like this or the antisemitic diatribes of Olivier Flanagan were not fully appreciated for how horrific or disgusting they actually were, and even still to this day don't seem to be taken seriously, just meh, "he was just a cute hoor" sort of attitude.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,050 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    Well, I think there's quite a difference between "the government and the church" doing a good job to keep this out of the history books, and it not appearing in history books because "a self-censoring society" didn't fully appreciate the significance of the event. Two thoughts:

    First, I'm a little leery of a narrative in which conservative social attitudes are seen as something forced on Irish society by the government and the church. That seems to me to deny the Irish people any agency, or any responsibility. This was a very conservative society and, while we can examine the historical reasons for this, a narrative in which conservatism was simply imposed on them by a political and ecclesiastical elite doesn't stand up to scrutiny. If anything, the movement was at least as much the other way; government and church were conservative because they reflected the society from which they emerged.

    Secondly, you've assumed all along that there has to be some sinister explanation for why this incident doesn't feature in the history books. But I don't think this requires any particular explanation; there were a great many similar incidents during this period, and very few of them are noted in general histories — the general climate in which such incidents happened, yes; the individual incidents, not so much. It's only exceptional cases, like where teh victim is notable or where particular consequences follow, that attacks of this kind feature in the general histories. Most of them are much more likely to be discussed in more focused works, in articles, in monographs — as this one was, in fact. So it seems to me that you are looking around for an explanation as to why this event was supressed when, in fact, there is no particular reason to think that it was supressed at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,780 ✭✭✭BalcombeSt4

    Some very good points there, great post.

    But I disagree with you fundamentally that the Irish are naturally a conservative people, it is a conservatism driven from the top downwards. They certainly were not conservative during the 1918 - 1924 period. When for example the Mansion House was packed out on the 18th of November 1918, when the Dublin trades council & socialist party of Ireland organized a meeting inside it, to commemorate the one year anniversary of their brave comrades who carried out the Russian Revolution & the establishment of the Russian Soviet Republic with quotes from Trotsky on the flyer. And all the Soviets declared throughout Ireland in creameries, factories, asylums, mines, etc... and it is no coincidence that was a period the Catholic Church was unable to control the mass of poor Irish & working class. It wasn't until after the civil war the Priests & Bishops reinstalled their authority.

    Kevin O’Higgins soon after the Irish Civil War (or counter-revolution) bragged “we’re the most conservative revolutionaries to ever see through a successful revolution”. The Free State Speaker of the Dail Michael Hayes who was a centrist himself had the measure of O’Higgins when he said “he didn’t understand it…… what the whole struggle had been about. He reduced it to the notion of the Irish People simply getting a parliament.” He “despised the attitude of protest, the attitude of negation, the attitude sometimes of sheer wantonness and waywardness and destructiveness which…. has been to a large extent a traditional attitude on behalf of the Irish people.” He was determined to cure the patient of the Irish character and establish respect for “the rule of law”. Anyone who’s ever read much on Kevin O’Higgins knows that that is a fair description of him in the early 1920’s.  To establish “law & order” he surrounded himself in the cabinet around ex-Clongowes Boys & member of the Catholic upper professional classes, who could barely conceal their contempt for a semi-lawless but land-hungry peasantry.

    The Irish Catholic Church had a number of features to it that helped secure its place in Irish society. The Church here had an aura of an oppressed church & it identified very much with the Irish poor, during the land wars of the late 19th century most of the junior clergy sided with the Land League, and again during the Tan War a lot of priests & even some small few Bishops supported Sinn Fein, (although most priests & Bishops were against the IRA’s guerrilla campaign) even into the period of the early Troubles again junior clergy were at the front of the civil rights marches, some even joined the Provos, like the Claudy Bomber I don't think very much but it is interesting, and even that first Provisional IRA army council was heavily influenced by the Catholic church, Sean MacStofain wrote how he took the Church's line & was against abortion, divorce & gay marriage, Billy McKee was the same, he got pissed off because the Marxist-Leninist IRA leadership banned rosary beads at IRA funerals and the thing McKee became famous for was defending a Catholic Church from a Loyalist mob with UVF gunmen in the mob. So conservativism was even imposed on the most (or one of the most) revolutionary organizations in the country, whose aim was a 32 County Socialist Republic, but they made it clear time & time again that their Socialism had nothing to do with the Soviet Socialism of Russia or China as that evil, Godless blasphemy.

     Contrast the Irish Church with say Spain, where the Church was identified with large landowners & the Monarchy, and during the Spanish civil war it backed Franco & the Fascists, so it's no surprise the CNT/FAI and other Marxists & Anarchists destroyed churches & executed members of the clergy.         The same thing happened in France, the Church was identified with the aristocracy & monarchy, and French revolutionaries set out to destroy all three of them suppressed the Catholic Church and creating the Cult of the Supreme Being. In Ireland, militants were fighting to defend churches and in Spain & France militants were fighting to destroy them.

    Irish Nationalism/Republicanism became intertwined with Catholicism, even tho I'm opposed to Ulster Loyalism, when they said Home Rule was Rome Rule, they had a point.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,050 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    The Great War had a generally socially radicalising effect throughout Europe and in some countries - notably Russia - did result in enduring social and political change. Indeed, to the extent that the rise of Sinn Fein at the expense of the IPP, and the ensuing War of Independence, was contributed to by the Great War Ireland, too, is a country that experienced enduring social and political change arising from the War. However in most countries there was a postwar reaction back to the centre and right, and I think that was intensified in Ireland by the experience of the Civil War. Civil wars have a way of knocking the stuffing out of movements that depend on hope, on the expectation of progress, and on belief in the possibility of change.

    To a significant extent, this was Ireland reverting to type. Irish society had been socially and economically conservative since the Famine. (Famines are a bit like civil wars in this regard.) Even nineteenth-century movements that we might think of as politically progressive, like the Land War, were an attempt - ultimately successful - by the peasantry to acquire the economic and social status of property-owners. There's a great gap between the Land League and the Paris Commune.

    As you point out, the church in other European countries was the church of the powerful and wealthy, the landowning class. This was very much not the case in nineteenth-century Ireland; the Catholic church was the church of the people and, in some ways, was very much more democratic and egalitarian that most other social and political institutions. I won't say that social and economic background counted for nothing in the church, but it counted for a great deal less than in did in most other areas of life; the (institutional) church was a meritocracy in which talent and ability could advance with little regard to background in a way that was not true in the law, the civil service, the army, etc.

    Which means that, socially and culturally, the church was much more representative of the broad middle of Irish views and values than the public service, the police, the Irish Parliamentary Party, etc. So I don't think that Irish society was sexually puritan, socially conservative, etc because the church made it so; rather the Irish church was sexually puritan, socially conservative, etc because it reflected the Irish society from which it was drawn. And Irish society had those characteristics because - gross oversimplification, but I think there's an important point here - because of the Famine, and resulting trauma and collective post-traumatic stress. And Irish society reacted to that experience, and expressed that trauma, through the church, because the church was representative.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,780 ✭✭✭BalcombeSt4

    I can't disagree with too much of that.

    I do think had the civil War (counter-revolution) not happened & the carnival of reaction that followed partition not taken place, then Irish society would have liberalized itself much sooner (North & South).

    That's an interesting point about the famine trauma being expressed through the church, there really was no other national organization like a Social Democratic or Communist party to express it through. The problem with groups like Young Ireland & IRB is that they're underground movements & conspiratorial, there not widespread among the populace, & don't become a nationwide movement until they carry out an action that resonates with the people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,171 ✭✭✭Rechuchote

    Incidentally there were several heroic Jewish résistants during the War of Independence: Michael Noyek, Estelle Solomons and Bob Briscoe spring to mind.

    Here's an interesting piece about Jewish nationalist activists and also the right-wing governments up to and after 1932. Lots of religious maniacs involved in fomenting pointless anti-Jewish hatred.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,780 ✭✭✭BalcombeSt4

    "Michael Noyek, Estelle Solomons and Bob Briscoe spring to mind."

    Wasn't one of these lads part of a delegation that went to Moscow to establish diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union & the Irish Republic? I could be wrong but I do remember reading about the Soviet/Republican talks & it mentioned one of the diplomates on the Irish side was Jewish, I also remember reading that a Jewish Irish Republican who was inspired by the IRA campaign, was one of the founders of a Zionist paramilitary group in Mandatory Palestine in the 1940's to carry out attacks against the British regime in Palestine.