It is wrong to portray Ireland as an anti-Semitic country

Chaim Herzog, who became president of Israel, was born in Belfast and raised in Dublin
Chaim Herzog, who became president of Israel, was born in Belfast and raised in Dublin

In reply to Shoshana Appleton’s letter (‘We should not be surprised at hostility to Israel in Ireland,’ February 12), with reference to the Proposed bill that would make it illegal for anyone in Ireland to buy goods or services from Israel’s settlements in the West Bank:

Where she says “we should not be surprised that such sentiments are voiced in the republic. They have long been known for their anti-Semitic bias” Ms Appleton is guilty of historical cherry picking to accuse the republic of anti-Semitism.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Look for example at the story of Chaim Herzog. Born in Belfast and raised in Dublin (at the time of his birth it was all one country).

His father, was chief rabbi of Ireland. A fluent Irish speaker who gave his support to the 1st Dail and Irish republicanism during the Irish war of independence.

Chaim went on to be president of Israel.

In 1985 he took the time to make a state visit to Ireland, to open the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin.

Or read up on the Briscoe family, Robert Emmet Briscoe (who by the way had a brother called ‘Wolf Tone Briscoe’ which might indicate the family’s attitude to republicanism) who was close to and joined de Valera’s Fianna Fáil party.

Both Bob and his son Ben who followed him into politics served as Lord Mayor of Dublin.

Yes, De Valera is a controversial figure. Most revolutionary figures who survive to go on to lead a long life in politics are. Look at Menachem Begin or Ariel Sharon.

And while there are some disgraceful incidents in Irish history (Limerick Boycott 1904) and some well placed anti-Semites (notably Charles Bewley who was Irish envoy to Berlin and who actively discouraged Jewish immigration to Ireland throughout the 1930s) it is dishonest to portray Ireland as an anti-Semitic country or Irish republicanism as an anti-Semitic philosophy.

I do agree with the end of Ms Appleton’s letter: “It takes two sides to make peace. Israel can not achieve it alone.”

True.

Nor can Palestine.

Paddy Sherlock, Meudon, France