Ireland’s Unheroic Holocaust History

Aug. 29 2017

“They crucified our savior 1,900 years ago and they are crucifying us every day of the week,” said the Irish parliamentarian Oliver Flanagan in 1943; by “they” he meant Jews. Flanagan went on to praise Germany’s success in ridding itself of “them.” The same year, he led like-minded colleagues in torpedoing a plan to bring 500 refugee children into the country from France. Robert Philpot writes:

While the virulence of Flanagan’s anti-Semitism may have been unusual, Ireland, which adopted a position of neutrality during World War II, displayed precious little sympathy for Europe’s persecuted Jews. As Fintan O’Toole of the Irish Times has argued, Irish policy was “infected with a toxic combination of anti-Semitism and self-pity.”

In the 1930s, the government placed responsibility for refugees in the hands of the aptly named Irish Coordinating Committee for the Relief of Christian Refugees. Jews who converted to Christianity were allowed to settle in the country. Those who had not were barred. These Jews, the committee’s secretary suggested, would be taken care of by the American Jewish community. . . .

Meanwhile, in Berlin, the country’s violently anti-Semitic ambassador, Charles Bewley, worked to scupper the chances that any Jews might slip through the tight net Ireland had thrown around itself. His reports back to Dublin noted that Jews were involved in pornography, abortion, and the “international white-slave traffic.” They also denied any “deliberate cruelty” on the part of the German government to the Jews, and parroted Hitler’s defense of the Nuremberg Laws.

Even after the war, . . . Irish ministers and civil servants viewed Jews as “enemies of faith and fatherland” who should be shut of the country. A proposal to admit 100 Jewish orphans from Bergen-Belsen was initially blocked and only proceeded after [Prime Minister Éamon] de Valera’s personal intervention. Perhaps this was the prime minister’s way of atoning for his decision the previous year to visit the German ambassador to offer his condolences on Hitler’s death.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Holocaust, Ireland, Refugees

To Israel’s Leading Strategist, Strength, Not Concessions, Has Brought a Measure of Calm

Aug. 14 2018

Following a long and distinguished career in the IDF, Yaakov Amidror served as Israel’s national-security adviser from 2011 to 2013. He speaks with Armin Rosen about the threats from Gaza, Hizballah, and Iran:

For Israel’s entire existence, would-be peacemakers have argued that the key to regional harmony is the reduction of the Jewish state’s hard power through territorial withdrawals and/or the legitimization of the country’s non-state enemies. In Amidror’s view, reality has thoroughly debunked this line of reasoning.

Amidror believes peace—or calm, at least—came as a result of Israeli muscle. Israel proved to its former enemies in the Sunni Arab world that it’s powerful enough to fill the vacuum left by America’s exit from the region and to stand up to Iran on the rest of the Middle East’s behalf. “The stronger Israel is, the more the ability of Arab countries to cooperate [with it] grows,” Amidror explained. On the whole, Amidror said he’s “very optimistic. I remember the threat that we faced when we were young. We fought the Six-Day War and I remember the Yom Kippur War, and I see what we are facing today. We have only one-and-a-half problems. One problem is Iran, and the half-problem is Hizballah.” . . .

In all likelihood the next Israeli-Iranian confrontation will be a clash with Amidror’s half-threat: the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizballah, Iran’s most effective proxy in the Middle East and perhaps the best armed non-state military force on earth. . . . “We should neutralize the military capability of Hizballah,” [in the event of war], he said. “We should not destroy the organization as a political tool. If the Shiites want these people to represent them, it’s their problem.” . . .

“It will be a very nasty war,” Amidror said. “A very, very nasty war.” Hizballah will fire “thousands and thousands” of long-range missiles of improved precision, speed, and range at Israeli population centers, a bombardment larger than Israel’s various layers of missile defense will be able to neutralize in full. . . . This will, [however], be a blow Israel can withstand. “Israelis will be killed, no question,” Amidror said. “But it’s not going to be catastrophic.”

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Lebanon