Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rebel Girl From Rebel Cork.

Cliona Campbell is a 19-year old student from Cork, in Ireland. She is something of a prodigy; in 2008, she was a finalist in the Young Journalist of the Year competition run by British broadcaster Sky News.

Last year, she won the essay-writing competition run by the law faculty at University College in Cork, one of the more prestigious institutions of higher education in Europe. She has, it would seem, everything going for her. Except that right now, Cliona lives in fear.

She's become an object of vilification in parts of the Irish press. Grown men have walked to up to her in the street and abused her. Browsing in a clothes store, the security guard recognized her and showered her with insults. Threats have been emailed to her. . .

- that's from Ben Cohen's latest column, in Huffington Post. This is from Cliona's article in the Evening Echo that started it all: "What makes a nice girl like you get involved with one of the most hated armies on earth?" That was her ma asking. A good question, well answered, and Cliona is holding her ground: Unbowed and right saucy.


Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

What's to be done about this Irish hatred for Israel?

7:09 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

It's all the rage at the moment:

8:18 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

You know, this is actually quite tragic. It's not often that "anti-Zionism" can be plainly understood as a category of antisemitism, but I fear that this is the case in the hysterical anti- Israel sentiment you'll find in certain Irish circles these days. It's tragic, because among European countries, Ireland easily remains the least-tainted by antisemitism.

Irish Jews have been a permanent presence in Ireland for at least eight centuries, and a common Irish boast (you'd hear it from Irish Jews especially) was once that Ireland was the only country in Europe without a tradition of Jew-hatred. The people of Youghal were electing Jewish mayors in the 1500s, and the great liberator, Daniel O'Connell, saw to it that Judaism was included in the Catholic emancipation of the 1850s and the final repeal of the penal laws, and Jewish merchants were remembered for generations for their kindnesses during the famine years.

There were routine outbursts of antisemitism from the nativist elements in the Irish liberation movement, but they were met with resistance just as often. Sinn Fein founder Arthur Griffith was an outright antisemite, but the great Land League nationalist Michael Davitt was acutely sensitive to antisemitism and was an authority on the persecution of Russia's Jews, and wrote a great deal in their defence.

The "Limerick pogrom" was the only disgrace of its kind in Irish history, so far as I know, and it is an instructive episode in the distinctive history of Irish Jews. The racism was whipped up by a Redemptorist demagogue, which led to Jewish shops being boycotted, and the Jews (most of these were recent immigrants) fled the city in fear. But Irish opinion held that the incident was savage and scandalous, the Jews were welcomed into the homes of their Catholic friends in Cork, the priest who caused the trouble was banished from Ireland, and the Cork people elected one of the Limerick Jews their mayor.

The crazy anti-Israel histrionics abroad in leftish European circles appears to have lately become wildly fashionable in leftish Irish circles and in popular culture. Not pleasant at all. But there is an outpouring of Irish support for Cliona, I see. So maybe it's Davitt vs. Griffiths all over again.

9:07 AM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

I thought I remembered a former girlfriend of mine, Irish-Canadian, girlfriend telling me on several occasions that Dublin had a Jewish mayor. So I looked it up and apparently Dublin had 2 Jewish lord mayors, father and son, in the 1950s and 1980s. Yogi Berra's apocryphal comment on this was: "only in America."

PS: like the girl, you can expect serious skewering for posting this article in the first place. Excellent!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

The Dublin mayors - both Briscoes, I believe, and Bobby Briscoe (IRA leader), a delightful guy. I believe it was his son who had all sorts of amusing and fanciful ideas about the Jewish origins of the Irish (indeed the ancient Irish origin myths held that the Irish were the descendants of one or the other of Noah's kids) and went so far as to suggest the great Hill of Tara, the seat of the first Irish kings, took its name from the Torah. Plus that the Irsh Jews were better singers than any other Jews.

All the more heartbreaking to see how things are going nowadays.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:28 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Right on schedule.

2:38 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

The only Briscoe I know was Lennie Briscoe from Law&Order. He was Jewish in a complicated sort of way and it makes sense to me now that he would be both Irish and Jewish since it combined the two stereotypes of New York City: The New York Jew and the NY Irish cop:)

2:51 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

No langers allowed today, Bartleby (look it up).


My buddy Fred sent me a documentary about Dublin's legendary "first family," the Briscoes. Story about them here:

4:22 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Today's column by the always sparky Kevin Myers, in the Irish Independent, is a spirited farewell to the Israeli ambassador to Ireland:

"Now it is the turn of some other poor bastard in the Israeli diplomatic service to come over and meet the conjoined forces of hatred, ignorance, blindness, hysteria and prejudice that the name 'Israel' invariably inspires. Short of Hamas opening up a few death-camps for Jews now, rather than after they've finally defeated Israel, I'm not sure what would destroy the irrational Israelophobia that is so powerful in Ireland."


4:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"The only local consolation I can draw from this endless tragedy is that without it, the modernist composer Raymond Deane, who is also the leader of the Ireland-Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, might otherwise be writing even more of his 'music'. So thank you for that, Israel: and shalom, Zion."

From the Kevin Myers piece linked by Terry, above. Is a Brit like me permitted to respectfully observe that, when it comes to scorn, no other nation expresses it with the aplomb of the Irish?

5:07 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

It's them Dubs has the way with scorn. Us culchies wouldn't know the first thing about it.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:51 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Firing tousnads of rockets year after year into Sderot is not an expression of the Palestinian "right" to "defend themselves," Bartleby.

I've told you once: No langers or jackeens allowed here today. Comrade Campbell has had to put up with quite enough of it and I won't be allowing it here. Leave off.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

Grievance-enumerating langerisms.

6:52 PM  
Blogger vildechaye said...

Definition of Langer:
Word of Cork origin. Has several meanings, depending on context. 1) Penis 2) Foolish person 3) To be intoxicated.

So in the case of B, did you mean 1), 2), 3) or all of the above?

7:03 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

All or any.

But by that last comment I'm thinking he's just plain mental.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:51 PM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

"Definition of Langer:
Word of Cork origin. Has several meanings, depending on context. 1) Penis 2) Foolish person 3) To be intoxicated."

Another word for schmuck, that is.

8:39 PM  
Blogger EscapeVelocity said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

No langers.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Terry Glavin said...

p.s. maybe we should start calling the Republic of Ireland the Hibernian Entity.

10:53 PM  

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