The Plough And The Star



The first Irish Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog

On the first day of the Easter Rising, 14th April 1914, a Jewish Volunteer, Mr A Weeks was killed outside the GPO in Dublin on the first day of action. Days before he had been laying the Foundation  stone of the Adelaide Road synagogue. This was the first Jewish Irish nationalist who died for the cause though he was far from being the acceptation that proved the rule.

In the main, Dublin and Cork Jews were nationalists and republicans whilst many of Belfast’s Jews were loyalist or pro-British. Notable amongst the revolutionaries were Robert Briscoe, an IRA Captain and the first Jewish member of the Dail Eirann (the Irish Parliament) and Michael Noyk who worked closely with the revolutionary leader Michael Collins. My own great-aunts, Fanny and Molly Goldberg joined the revolutionary Cumann na mBan  and did everything but shoot: hiding IRA soldiers, nursing and marching.

…Despite negativity and occasional antisemitism, Irish nationalists such as Parnell were philosemites. His intervention in the Cork dockers strike of the 1880s to take a stand against anti-Jewish sentiments there won over many including my own great-grandfather who would apparently read to his children from the Jewish newspapers, the parashat hashvua and the writings of Parnell every Friday morning. No wonder his daughters joined the uprising.

And Zionism? The dream of self-determination rubbed off on a generation of Irish Jews. In the midst of the chaos, the Dublin Jews convinced the young Rabbi of Belfast, Yitzhak Herzog to come and become the first Irish Chief Rabbi. He turned out to be a rabbi and politician: his experience in Dublin was again put into effect when he became the first Chief Rabbi of Israel. He was not alone in transforming his Irish nationalism to the Zionist cause.

Indeed the Irish supported Zionist causes: they trained and armed Jewish fighters in Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s. True, some supported Revisionist Zionists and others Socialist Zionists but a small community of no more than 4000-5000 that had put itself front of house building an Irish State would boast a future Chief Rabbi, President, one of the founders of the Israeli Air Force and so much more. The Easter Rising was a precursor for the creation of State of Israel: the Irish State a model of what could be.

The Jewish role in the Easter Rising (Alexander Goldberg, Jewish news)


Patrick Pearse, the rising’s leader, who proclaimed the republic outside the General Post Office, suffered from what Yeats called “the vertigo of self-sacrifice”. He had a homoerotic vision of the macaomh, the beautiful young scholar warrior who would die for his country – half the Irish mythical hero Cuchullain, half Jesus. The night before he was shot by a British firing squad, Pearse wrote a mawkish poem comparing the Virgin Mary’s loss of her son to his own death.

A century later, this distasteful confusion of political fanaticism with faith is even more in fashion, but nowadays in Islam, not Christianity. Among those rebels executed by the British shortly after Pearse was his devoted brother, Willie. In Brussels last week, a pair of brothers, Ibrahim and Khalid al-Bakraoui, detonated two of the three bombs which killed 31 people.

Islamic State and the Easter Rising (Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph)

Pic: Getty

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26 thoughts on “The Plough And The Star

  1. MoistWithExcrement

    Moisty is going to be all over this one…

    A whoppee cushion full to the brim with ass gravy, ready to blow on everyone else’s thoughts.

    Come on Moist, are you on break or what?

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      BS is a complete cesspool today, no one is coming out of it well and comments like this, goading people, really don’t add anything.

      1. mildred st. meadowlark

        Dead right Don. It’s a wee warzone out there. Chin up.

        I think I shall cheer people up. Have a hug.

        1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

          It’s worse than Twitter today and that is saying something….

          A hug?! My favourite, how did you know!!

  2. ollie

    I could have skipped the second article and just read “Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph” to get the gist of it.

    1. Medium Sized C

      I read it.
      I don’t know who that is, but I’m struggling with it.
      Its all over the place. Is there a point in there?

  3. Polaroid Fluid

    ah jeez, you are going to confuse the stuffing out the kefia clad hamas groupies here, the Republican martyrs laying the foundation of the state of Israel, what a kick in the head right?

  4. Friscondo

    Both pieces are trying to shove ridiculously ill fitting square pegs into round holes. Ahistorical nonsense.

  5. DubLoony

    Article 1 – interesting angle.

    Article 2 – Ah, c’mon lads.

    Everyone was fighting for something back in the day – UVF, Irish volunteers, British army or TB & poverty.
    Read any poems of Rupert Brook and you get the gist of young men dying where there is a place forever England. Same in France, Germany & mother Russia. The Pearse bros were not unique in that respect.

  6. shitferbrains

    Zionist Brigade fighting for the British in WW! refused to be deployed to Ireland after the war was over and were disbanded as a result.

  7. Blublu

    Article 1 – interesting angle, but if true it’s an hilariously stupid misinterpretation of the cause of self-determination to travel to a foreign land and persecute the indigenous population.

    1. cluster

      ‘Tis clearly not as simple as that.

      It was their historic homeland & bitter experience taught them that they needed a homeland of their own.

      The UK promised the same land to two sets of people.

  8. The Real Jane

    Reading the second article, I’m so glad we’re out. At least Charles, Dudders and Myarse are reduced to whining at us rather than ruling us.

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