Letters

Letters: Wider Picture

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Sir,

Sean Gannon's piece on the relationship between Irish Republicanism and the PLO was one-sided and over-simplified a complex history between the IRA, Jews and the State of Israel ("IRA-PLO cooperation: A long, cozy relationship," April 8). His over-emphasis on perceived anti-Semitism within the Republican movement surely needs to be contextualized and set against those in the movement who did support Jewish and Zionist causes. For instance, the IRA supplied arms to Zionist groups in the 1930s, largely through the work of the IRA's leading Jewish activist, Robert Briscoe, who later became Dublin's first Jewish lord mayor.

My grandfather, Gerald Goldberg, later lord mayor of Cork, speaking on a RTE documentary, related an incident in which the student wing of the IRA made a stand against anti-Semitism during the 1930s, a time when fascist ideology was on the rise across Europe and had some support in Ireland. When, as a student at University College Cork, he rose to speak at the Debating Society, the auditor silenced him, as he was a "foreigner" and only "Irishmen" were permitted to speak.

Tomas Mac Curtain, the son of the murdered Sinn Fein lord mayor of Cork, was appalled and convinced him to return another day. The hall was filled with Mac Curtain supporters from the student membership of the IRA. The auditor was silenced and my grandfather made his speech. This was a blow to rising anti-Semitism in the university. I look forward to reading Mr. Gannon's book in the hope that it will look at the wider picture.

ALEX GOLDBERG Jewish Chaplain to Surrey University Surrey, UK

Original source: http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=139172