Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ireland and...Israel

There's a new book out:

In short:

There are many differences between the con­flicts in Ireland and Palestine, but there are also key similarities. For instance, both conflicts are character­ized by a long history of struggle for independence and both have a deep-rooted religious aspect. Both peoples have witnessed uprisings, revolutions, wars and attempts to partition their land, and both have developed and maintained a strong identity.

Funny, but in the 1940s, the Irish revolutionaries supported the Irgun.


obert Briscoe (1894-1969) was both a great Irish and Jewish patriot. He supported Eamon de Valera and from 1917 to 1924 played a leading role in the Irish struggle against the British. Briscoe was an admirer and friend of Vladimir Jabotinsky and greatly aided the Zionist Revisionist Movement in its struggle for a Jewish state. His experience in clandestine military activity inspired the Irgun Zvei Leumi. Briscoe was later elected Lord Mayor of Dublin - the first Jew to attain this honor.


one of the main gunrunners to the Irgun was a guy called Robert Briscoe who had smuggled weaponry to Michael Collins in an earlier incarnation.

There's this:

[J.H.] Patterson sought and was granted a British disablement pension. He remained close to revisionist Zionist leaders. In 1936 and 1937 he traveled to Palestine to inspect Irgun forces there. In 1939 and 1940 together with Robert Briscoe and others, Patterson was involved in fund raising for the Irgun in the USA.

and this:

Yitzhak Shamir studied the IRA's 1916-21 campaign as leader of the anti-British LEHI underground, and indeed adopted the name "Michael" (after Michael Collins) as his nom de guerre. When the IRA campaign was renewed in 1969-1970, its leaders in turn studied the Irgun and the LEHI campaigns, although they themselves were ideologically totally unsympathetic to Zionism, let alone the sort of nationalism that was embodied by Begin and Shamir.

and this:-

Though we may think of the current IRA (a poor shadow of its namesake that fought the British under Collins) as gun-crazed killers who have allied themselves with Moammar Khadafy and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the IRA of Collins' day were heroes to the leaders of the armed Jewish resistance to British rule in Palestine before Israel was born.

Men like Shamir and Menachem Begin, commander of the Irgun Zvai Leumi and future prime minister and peacemaker, looked to Collins' strategies as they waged their own war against the British.

And like Collins, Begin would be forced to make good on his threats and execute two British sergeants in retaliation for the hanging of five Jews. This terrible act, like Collins' move to unleash his "12 apostles" on Dublin's "bloody Sunday," hurt Zionism's image, but it's seen by historians as helping convince Britain to quit Palestine.

Another comparison is more favorable for Israel. Unlike Collins' opponent Eamon De Valera who unleashed a civil war when he lost the vote over the treaty, Begin's finest moments came when he refused to allow the Irgun to be goaded into civil war with Ben-Gurion's Haganah. Both in 1944, when the Haganah turned in Irgun members to the British, and in 1948 when Ben-Gurion ordered the young Rabin to fire on the Irgun ship Altalena, killing several Jews, Begin refused to fire on fellow Jews and helped save Israel.

...Columbia University scholar J. Bowyer Bell, author of authoritative works on the IRA and the Jewish underground, reported in the epilogue to his "Terror out of Zion" that he was given his copy of Begin's memoir "The Revolt" by an IRA cell commander in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

It had become, just as Collins' writings were to previous generations of Jewish rebels, "a handbook for aspiring revolutionaries."

1 comment:

Gerry Nolan said...

I am delighted to find your blog page, synchronicity this is as only last week I found out our great Irish leader General Michael Collins was admired & his tactics Modeled by Yitzhak Shamir & associates in Israels fight for freedom. I feel honored, as an Irish man to learn of this. Briscoe you mention, same family early 80s Ben Briscoe was Lord Mayor of Dublin & I think a TD a member Dail Eireann, (Irelands Parliament). Since year days in Ireland's struggle for freedom, Irish people of Jewish faith, played key roles, in guerrilla days of "Old IRA" of Michael Collins & as Statesmen when Irish Free State (now Rep. of Ireland founded). Yes Great info, makes me proud so see this tiny but v important link between our countries.
God Bless