Institutional anti-Semitism in the U.K.

The British Foreign Office, never a friend to Jews, was so concerned about Margaret Thatcher’s ties to the Jewish community they wanted her to break them when she became leader of the Tory party.

Foreign Office officials were so concerned about Margaret Thatcher’s pro-Israeli sympathies when she became Tory leader they wanted her to break off links with local Jewish groups, according to newly-released official papers.

Files released to the National Archives in Kew, west London, under the 30 year rule reveal that diplomats feared she would be seen by Arab countries as a “prisoner of the Zionists”.

One official even suggested that she should give up her Finchley parliamentary seat in north London – with its large Jewish community – for somewhere more palatable to Arab opinion.

The issue of Thatcher’s membership of groups such as the Anglo-Israel Friendship League of Finchley and Conservative Friends of Israel was raised during a visit by shadow foreign secretary Lord Carrington to Jordan in 1975.

“He asked the ambassador’s advice on this and was assured that such a connection, which would inevitably do much harm in the Arab world, should if at all practicable be severed,” noted Michael Tait, an official in the British embassy.

Could the Brits crawl any farther up the asses of the various Arab nations? I’m thinking not.

Let us call this exactly what it is: The institutionalized anti-Semitism of Great Britain and the U.K. I think the smartest thing Imshin’s mother did was leave the U.K.

And to go along with the above, we have this reprehensible story about the president of Ireland offering condolences on the death of Hitler in 1945.

The new document confirmed that President Douglas Hyde visited Hempel on May 3, 1945, a day after Ireland received reports of Hitler’s death.

The newly released document says Hyde _ who served as Ireland’s symbolic head of state from 1938 to 1945 and died in 1949 _ visited Hempel at the diplomat’s home in Dun Laoghaire, a Dublin suburb. It says the president did not send an official letter of condolence to German government headquarters because “the capital of Germany, Berlin, was under siege and no successor had been appointed.”

The Republic of Ireland, then called Eire, remained neutral throughout World War II, which in local parlance was called “The Emergency.”

[…] De Valera’s government brutally suppressed the IRA but also rebuffed requests to allow Jews fleeing Nazi persecution to receive asylum in Ireland. De Valera also refused to allow Britain or the United States to use strategic Irish ports for protecting Atlantic convoys from attacks by German U-boat submarines, a policy that cost thousands of Allied seamen’s lives.

What a proud legacy. And an even prouder excuse:

But de Valera argued that to refuse condolences “would have been an act of unpardonable discourtesy to the German nation and to Dr. Hempel himself. During the whole of the war, Dr. Hempel’s conduct was irreproachable. … I certainly was not going to add to his humiliation in the hour of defeat.”

Talk about a sick way of looking at things.

Now I understand why my great-grandfather left Scotland and came to America. Rather a poisonous attitude towards Jews over there.

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12 Responses to Institutional anti-Semitism in the U.K.

  1. Alex Bensky says:

    The only other world leader to offer Germany condolences at Hitler’s death was Hirohito. Lovely company to be in, isn’t it?

    It isn’t quite the same thing, but the Irish Republic’s former president, Mary Robinson, once identified the problem with Israel as that it is “too Jewish.”

  2. I have an idea that might help Britain with her ‘problem’. Gather the staff of the Foreign Office into a banquet hall for a celebration. When everybody’s inside, shut and lock the doors. Then pile up fuel around the hall and set it afire. When everything has cooled down, send the SAS in to shoot any survivors.

  3. Lizzie says:

    The F.O. has traditionally been Arabist, although for what reason I’ve never been able to work out.

    The Scots have a poisonous attitude towards the English, too (though not the Welsh and N Irish).

    (Great Britain is the UK! And you seem to have made the common mistake of conflating British and Irish outlooks: in reality, there’s very little on which we agree!)

  4. Yehudit says:

    Check this out. It’ll curl your hair.

  5. Michael Lonie says:

    The Irish government extended condolences over Hitler’s death because most of the Irish were stupid enough to think that the enemy of Britain was good for Ireland. It is the same imbecilic thought that leads so many people today to take the side of any murderous, tyrannical, or terroristic criminal who hates the USA.

    Fortunately thousands of Irishmen served in the British Forces during WWII, proving that not all Irish were as short-sightedly stupid as de Valera.

  6. Lizzie, I thought I was being clear about separating the two.

    Either way, Jews don’t seem to have many friends in that area.

  7. Yehudit says:

    “The Irish government extended condolences over Hitler’s death because most of the Irish were stupid enough to think that the enemy of Britain was good for Ireland.”

    They did the same thing with Napoleon. The Irish lionized Napoleon, wrote lots of songs about him.

  8. TMA says:

    And the “any enemy of Britain is my friend” sentiment even worked to Israel’s advantage for a time — Sidney Zion has a good story somewhere (maybe in “read all about it”) about Irish workers buying him drink after drink having him tell about the Irgun’s actions against British Occupation…

  9. Michael Lonie says:

    Well the Irish started by sympathizing with the French Revolutionaries before Napoleon was even a general. The Revolutionaries tried to invade Ireland and a small body of troops made it there, to be mopped up by the local British forces. When you look at the Irish experience with Britain in the 18th Century, and especially with the “Protestant Ascendency” in Ireland, you can understand that attitude. Conor Cruise O’Brien’s thematic biogaphy of Edmund Burke, “The Great Melody”, has some interesting things to say about Irish expectations in the 1790s and the events leading up to the Rising of ’98.

    Things had changed a good deal during the 19th Century, and even more in the 20th. The denizens of an independent Ireland should have had the smarts to realize that Hitler was a different kind of critter than Napoleon (pace some overextravagant British propaganda on the subject).

  10. Rona M. Fields,Ph.D.. says:

    First of all, the Irish attitude toward Jews is not accurately reflected in deValera’s condolences to Germany on the death of Asolph Hitler. Reference James Joyce, Ulyses for example and the fact that Ireland has had a Jewish community for centuries and has been welcoming. There are a higher percentage of Jews in the Irish Dail(Parliament)by far than the number or proportion of Jews in Ireland itself. There is, in all Irish history only one pogrom or episode of persecution by anti-Semites and that was in Limerick in the early twentieth century. Irish history is, instead replete with the attempted genocide of the Irish by various English rulers. In fact, th English issued the first genocidal edict preceding the Nurenburg Laws by six hundred years with The Statutes of Kilkenny by which everything and eeryone of the Irish race was outside the law and thus fair game for whatever would be done to them! Please c.f. my first book on Ireland, Society On The Run, Penguin Ltd. 1973. In fact, you’ll have a hard time finding a copy of it because by order of MI5 and 6, 10,000
    copies were shredded shortly after publication and I was put under D notices for years and denied entry to the UK as a “terrorist”. All because I detailed the presence of the SAS in NI in 1971 and after and documented the torture of detainees and other human rights abuses.A later book of mine on that subject is still in print published by Rutgers University Press, entitled Northern Ireland: Society Under Siege (980). In my most recent book, Martyrdom: The Psychology, Theology and Politics of Self Sacrifice (Greenwood/Praeger 2004) thre is a scholarly analysis of the very big differences between the Palestinian and Irish struggles andstrategies. Years ago I wrote an article on the parallels between Irish republicanism and Zionism. Not surprisingly, the Parachute Regiment was used in both cases to terrorize the civilian population of major urban areas. Also not surprisingly, the British used the same “hooding” torture on members of the Palmach and Haganah and Irgun that they later used on Republicans in Northern Ireland and currently have used in Iraq. As an American, I know better than most other nationalities how midrepresented I can be by the actions and policies of my Head of State! Unfortunately heeroes are often made through their actions as young revolutionar thinkers and after they ascend to the heights of power, they are so suffused with their own infallability that they do stupid things entirely out of keeping with their earlier tactical and philosophical brillance. Witnes Thomas jefferson who so brilliantly pursued the Rights of Man and challenged Theocracy, and then, when he found that his own land contained a site sacred to the American Indians of the region (The Monocans) and that they made annual pilgrimage to it, he declared the there would always be conflict so long as the Indians remained in Virginia. He ordered the first major Indian removals! Racism is the most difficult to extirpate from the human psyche of any state or trait. That is why condemnation of itself is so fruitless. A much more extensive effort must be undertaken than anything ever mounted in the UK. Certainly the US is not at the pinacle of achiement in that domain, either!

  11. cybermick says:

    DeValera called on the German ambassador to express condolences at Hitler’s death for one reason: to bait Winston Churchill into attacking the Fianna Fail government while FF was running a candidate for president. Remember that at that time, plenty of Irish voters had very fresh memories of 700 years of British war on the Irish people and would naturally resent the least breath of criticism of any Irishman from a Brit PM. DeValera visited the German embassy, and Churchill (who, contrary to his legend, was not bright enough to control his very considerable bigotries) fell right into the trap and simply blistered Dev. The ploy worked and the Fianna Fail candidate was elected. They didn’t call Dev “the fox” for nothing. (My source for this is the memoirs of Conor Cruise O’Brien, who was in the Irish government at the time and who LOATHES Republicans. His family was prominent in the old Irish Nationalist Party, which got wiped out in the Sinn Fein landslide of 1918. Conor actually had to work for a living instead of stepping into a cushy political career.) I doubt that Ireland behaved less well during the war than Sweden (which never seems to come in for this kind of criticism), and certainly behaved better than Switzerland, which sent 30,000 Jews back to the Nazis and is still probably sitting on lots and lots of money looted from Holocaust victims.

    I also must point out that there was cooperation at the highest levels between the Irish and British general staffs during WWII, and that American and British pilots who bailed out over Ireland were quietly repatriated – Axis pilots were interned until the end of the war. I also invite the Anglophiles in this forum to consider what would have happened to their favorite country if Hitler had invaded and occupied Ireland: the Nazis would have controlled the Channel AND Atlantic approaches to Britain, flanking the country on both sides. A neutral Ireland was a blessing to the Allies.

    It’s also interesting to note that Ireland is the only country in Europe that never expelled its Jews. And IRA arms were shipped to the Irgun very early on – the shipment was arranged by Paul O’Dwyer, whose brother Bill was mayor of New York, and Ben Briscoe, a former IRA man who was the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin. O’Dwyer correctly believed that everyone involved would be old and gray before any UN resolution creating a Jewish state got past the first reading – and the British Army, which then as now likes to pursue its own foreign policy, was resolutely pro-Arab. The Jews needed some weapons, and two Irish nationalists took a considerable risk to make sure that they got them.

    Most of what most educated people in this country suppose to be Irish history is really either silly folklore, or, in the case of this subject, carefully edited accounts presented by British commentators or Anglophile American historians.

  12. Michael Lonie says:

    No the Irish were not hostile to the Jews. Most of them just wanted Nazi
    Germany to beat Britain because Britain was their hereditary enemy. How long would Ireland have been able to maintain its independence in a Europe dominated by a victorious Nazi Germany? How long could such an Ireland have held out against a German demand to hand over its Jews for death, assuming any non-Jewish Irish wanted to risk German wrath for the sake of Briscoe’s cousins? How stupid did the Irish have to be not to have realized the obvious answers to those two questions above?

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