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Ireland's Jews.


BullLee

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Diplomat and curator of Irish Jewish Museum - The Irish Times - Sat, Feb 07, 2009

Given the enrichment of American society when they accepted large numbers of Jews before, during, and after the second world war, should we have been more active in opening our gates to european Jews?

Regardless of the moral issue of whether we should have been more accepting of both our own jewish community and european jews fleeing persecution in europe, other countries were hugely enriched by the influx of some truly brilliant minds. Tajfel, Erikson, etc.
 

The OD

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Of course we should have irrespective of what benefits they would have brought to the nation.

Common human decency demanded it, but seeing as children were systematically being raped and tortured in our own 'little Belsens', that common human decency was in short supply.

At least we were all 'God Fearing' Christians though.
 

Gadfly

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Of course we should have irrespective of what benefits they would have brought to the nation.

Common human decency demanded it, but seeing as children were systematically being raped and tortured in our own 'little Belsens', that common human decency was in short supply.

At least we were all 'God Fearing' Christians though.
Absolutely agree. A mistake of historic proportions - the triumph of narrow-minded parochialism over common humanity. It remains one of the biggest blots on De Valera's record.

And unfortunately, we were not alone in closing the borders.
 

Interista

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Given the enrichment of American society when they accepted large numbers of Jews before, during, and after the second world war
Did the US accept large number of Jews 'during and after' the second world war?

My understanding is that the bulk of Jewish immigration to the US was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, well before the war. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, during and after the war, the US imposed strict quotas on immigration from many European countries, including those with large Jewish populations. It was this, rather than any great commitment to zionism, which caused large numberso f jews to emigrate to Palestine.
 

The OD

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Absolutely agree. A mistake of historic proportions - the triumph of narrow-minded parochialism over common humanity. It remains one of the biggest blots on De Valera's record.

And unfortunately, we were not alone in closing the borders.
From a selfish point of view, we could have been inundated with some of the finest thinkers in such disciplines as maths, physics and engineering if we did.

But, as ever, the Irish state made an arse of it.

We're good at that.
 

rhonda15

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I don't think Ireland managed to attract many Jews with brilliant minds even when our doors were open - though there did seem to be many brothels in Portobello area (formerly Little Jerusalem) in the early 20th century.

*hunkers down in anticipation of neg rep*
 

Baron von Biffo

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Absolutely agree. A mistake of historic proportions - the triumph of narrow-minded parochialism over common humanity. It remains one of the biggest blots on De Valera's record.

And unfortunately, we were not alone in closing the borders.
Quite correct. And in 70 years time another generation will make similar criticisms of us for allowing our territory to be used as a stop-over for aircraft taking people to be tortured or worse.
 

Interista

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I don't think Ireland managed to attract many Jews with brilliant minds even when our doors were open
It's probably worth pointing out that, even though the Jews were disproportionately well represented in the sceincesand other areas of great endeavor, for every mathematical genius there would have been dozens of illiterate peasants barely distinguishable from other East Europeans of the time. Obviously, that in no way affects the moral case for taking in refugees from the war (whether Jewish or otherwise), but it's a little bit fanciful to imagine that they would all have been Einsteins or Mendelsohns.
 

The OD

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i don't think ireland managed to attract many jews with brilliant minds even when our doors were open - though there did seem to be many brothels in portobello area (formerly little jerusalem) in the early 20th century.

*hunkers down in anticipation of neg rep*

you nazi!!!!!

;)
 

joel

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I don't think Ireland managed to attract many Jews with brilliant minds even when our doors were open - though there did seem to be many brothels in Portobello area (formerly Little Jerusalem) in the early 20th century.

*hunkers down in anticipation of neg rep*

Well, if they are going to claim that Jews are superior, they can hardly complain when the obverse is pointed out! Madof anyone?
 

L'Chaim

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It's probably worth pointing out that, even though the Jews were disproportionately well represented in the sceincesand other areas of great endeavor, for every mathematical genius there would have been dozens of illiterate peasants barely distinguishable from other East Europeans of the time. Obviously, that in no way affects the moral case for taking in refugees from the war (whether Jewish or otherwise), but it's a little bit fanciful to imagine that they would all have been Einsteins or Mendelsohns.
Who knows what they might have been if laws in Eastern Europe in those times hadn't been put in place to try and stop Jews being educated. However the 'disproportionately' high achievements of Jews in science and other areas is easily explained. Study (and not just the Torah) is a religious obligation that Jews are expected to partake in. The purpose of education is not to achieve professional and financial success (though that is one of the bi-products of it) but to understand what God required of human beings. Jews are obliged to study. Jews believe that study is sacred and throughout the centuries they did everything they possibly could to prolong their children's education. While most other poor people in those times were forced to send their children out to work, Jews strived (is that the right word?) to keep their children in school for as long as possible, or at the very least to Bar Mitzvah age (13). And the same applied to girls. Jewish parents were/are obligated to keep their children in school for as long as they can. When it came to education (and lots of other things), Jews never let poverty shape their values. They always took their own values in and out of the slums

By Jewish law one of supreme commandments is to study. The Talmud legislated that every city where Jewish communities lived had to have schools and that even the poor had to be educated free. Jewish parents were forbidden to live in a city without a school system and if they found themselves in such a place, or if education was denied to them, the father bore full responsibility for his children's education

So it's not surprising that today American Jews (not sure of figures for other countries) make up around 2% of the population, yet almost a third of Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans has gone to Jews. And it's not surprising that Jews are overrepresented in medicine, law, mathematics, dentistry etc. by more than three times their proportion to the general US population.
 

BullLee

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Who knows what they might have been if laws in Eastern Europe in those times hadn't been put in place to try and stop Jews being educated. However the 'disproportionately' high achievements of Jews in science and other areas is easily explained. Study (and not just the Torah) is a religious obligation that Jews are expected to partake in. The purpose of education is not to achieve professional and financial success (though that is one of the bi-products of it) but to understand what God required of human beings. Jews are obliged to study. Jews believe that study is sacred and throughout the centuries they did everything they possibly could to prolong their children's education. While most other poor people in those times were forced to send their children out to work, Jews strived (is that the right word?) to keep their children in school for as long as possible, or at the very least to Bar Mitzvah age (13). And the same applied to girls. Jewish parents were/are obligated to keep their children in school for as long as they can. When it came to education (and lots of other things), Jews never let poverty shape their values. They always took their own values in and out of the slums

By Jewish law one of supreme commandments is to study. The Talmud legislated that every city where Jewish communities lived had to have schools and that even the poor had to be educated free. Jewish parents were forbidden to live in a city without a school system and if they found themselves in such a place, or if education was denied to them, the father bore full responsibility for his children's education

So it's not surprising that today American Jews (not sure of figures for other countries) make up around 2% of the population, yet almost a third of Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans has gone to Jews. And it's not surprising that Jews are overrepresented in medicine, law, mathematics, dentistry etc. by more than three times their proportion to the general US population.
Thanks for that L'Chaim. That's some great background as to why so many Jews achieved such high standards in science. Most of my own personal heroes are Jewish: Tajfel, Freud and Erikson among them. Indeed psychology as we know it today would be utterly unrecognizable without the influence of Jews who relocated to other countries, esp America in those dark years. I am taking for granted the moral and basic human reasons why we should have embraced Jewish refugees in this country. I also feel we lost a great opportunity to enrich our own country.
 

Interista

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I'm going to have to give the OP some neg reps for posting a thread which was an obvious invitation to the Israeli embassy to come on and give us a cut and paste lecture on the 'jewish genius'.

Kind of proves my point that being Jewish does not neccessarily make you an Einstein though!
 

Panopticon

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Yes we should have taken in more Jews, they were victims of a terrible genocide. But it's naive to think that great scientific minds would have chosen to live in the poor, small, Catholic confessional Free State when the research universities of the United States were open to them.
 

Gadfly

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...So it's not surprising that today American Jews (not sure of figures for other countries) make up around 2% of the population, yet almost a third of Nobel Prizes awarded to Americans has gone to Jews. And it's not surprising that Jews are overrepresented in medicine, law, mathematics, dentistry etc. by more than three times their proportion to the general US population.
Interesting post, and the idea of a religious system that cherishes education, inquiry and science is obviously attractive. Brains are like parachutes - they work best when they are open.

But I wonder about the social dynamics involved in the growth in the States of a large and successful academic class of Jewish origins. The Nazis targeted Jews indiscriminately, but there were differences in the starting points of those who were part of Germany's professional classes - academics, bankers, business people - and those who came from poor villages spread throughout Eastern Europe.

I suspect that those who were better off to begin with had a better chance of getting out and getting all the way to America. Is there research on the social and national origins of the present day professional elite? How many have a more prosperous background, and how many have poor East European origins? I know examples of both, but I suspect the former are overrepresented.

Identity, even group identity, can include religion, but it doesn't have to end there. It can be far more complicated. Recent revelations about Hannah Arendt are an illustration of this; but that goes beyond the scope of this thread.
 

Truth.ie

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Some stupid posts here. Being a jew not does make you more intelligent.
The Jews are not some kind of Master Race.
For humanitarian reasons maybe we should've accepted some, then again should we have taken in Bengalis,Russian and German civilians who suffered as much as the Jews. After all we were neutral.
L'chaim believes Jews are in the ascendancy in America because they're somehow gifted. Nothing to do with thier history of corruption, and general scheming which enabled them to get to the top of the pile at the expense of others. Education is expensive in America, and Latinos, black and asians generally can't afford it. Thats why Jews are in the ascendancy. Nothing to do with their brain capacity.
 

Interista

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I suspect that those who were better off to begin with had a better chance of getting out and getting all the way to America. Is there research on the social and national origins of the present day professional elite
As I said above, the vast majority of Jews in the US emigrated well before the Nazis came to power.
 

brigg

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If i recall correctly from research I had to do some years ago, de Valera was actually quite sympathetic towards the plight of the Jews in Nazi Germany.
In 1966, the Dublin Jewish community planted a forest in Israel, dedicated to him.

Apparently, it was an uncooperative civil service, a legacy of the anti-semitic Charles Bewley, that frustrated de Valeras' efforts to take in a larger number of jewish refugees.
 

imokyrok

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From a selfish point of view, we could have been inundated with some of the finest thinkers in such disciplines as maths, physics and engineering if we did.

But, as ever, the Irish state made an arse of it.

We're good at that.
Also given that atheists are far more frequent among US Jews than any other group in America we might have benefited from that also. Mind you most of the violent right wing religious wingnuts seem to have emigrated to Israel since so I guess it could have gone either way.
 
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