On the preface it must be stated that this article is separate from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
My raison d’être for arguing for an Irish rendition of Zionism is very simple, we need to advance. When people opine about unity they pick the low hanging fruit. Anyone, even the English, can (and many do) support the inevitable and uncontroversial reunification of the 6 counties with the Irish Republic
What is absent from discussions of unity is the unification of the Irish with the Irish, it is integral to the advancement of the Irish nation and state that we endeavour to instil in the so called “exiled children” – a love of their so called “old country”. The case for this is not from a political partisan perspective, both the left, right, liberal and conservative must embrace a new nationalism akin to Jewish nationalism that formed the state of Israel.
The Irish and the Jews are similar in all too many ways, insular, endogamous, scattered throughout the globe, ghettoised, accused of contaminating Protestant cultures, exiled from their homeland by foreign empires and both achieved their own independent sovereign states in the 20th century, albeit, the Irish less controversial than the Jews.
The difference however is stark, the Jews and Irish yearned for independent nation states but where our nationalism delineates is that the Jews did not do the meaning of “nation” in half measures, whereas the Irish state only saw the whole Irish nation from Blackrock to Boston when it suited them financially or for lobbying efforts.
The truth is, the Irish state has made a detrimental mistake in not endeavouring to bring the Irish home, had they done so, today Ireland would be more akin to South Korea, Singapore, Japan and, well, Israel.
But it is not too late to rectify this mistake, the ethical and economic incentives to put an Irish rendition of Zionism into policy will be the reform needed to propel our country into a position of power and able to assuage future difficulties relating to pensions, economic stagnation and general stagnation.
“The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage” Ze’ev Jabontinsky, the Iron Wall.
The origins of Irish and Jewish diasporisation are both rooted in resistance against foreign empires, the Irish vs the British and the Jews with the Romans, the difference is the Jews post Bar Kohkba revolt were swiftly deracinated from Judea and Jerusalem, whereas the Irish were incrementally punished, de – developed and subject to proto – apartheid at the hands of the British, the Jews were delivered one swift strike of the sword whilst the Irish endured a thousand paper cuts.
In the diaspora both of us were subject to what liberal intellectuals call “othering”, accusations of parasitism, untrusted due to insularism, subject to mockery, despite this our insularism would be the ladder used to climb above the prevailing, often WASP culture, specifically in New York, however it was not always without its difficulties, for example General Alfred Dreyfus and President Kennedy both emanating from the othered group, both institutionalised to the highest degree, both accused of dual loyalty.
This “othering” varied between us, the Irish were othered as primitive, backwards and brutish, the Jews were othered as very foreign, to varying degrees this lead to violence against them, hence the old adage about Jewish holidays “they tried to kill us, they failed, lets eat”.
It is the tragic nature of the Jewish experience that is the ethical argument for the existence of Israel, Zionism’s raison d’être is shlilat ha’golah (negation of diaspora) which entails a Jewish state being the spiritual centre for Jews which ensures their safety and nourishment, a desire made all the more salient after the holocaust.
Being an “other” on another homogenised nation’s homeland, is not good, actually. However the Irish had it easier, the grandfather of Zionism, Theodr Herzl stated “But what makes the question so painful is that all the other people have homes where they can go back to, and the Jews have not.”
The sombre tone in which I and I assume you read that quote paints a vivid imagery of a man sighing as he finishes such statements, the Irish did not have this difficulty, they knew where their home was.
So now that I have detailed some similarities between the Jews and the Irish, it is patently clear that the capacity to mimic Zionism is there due to our shared but separate experience. The Jews being able to exercise strongarm nationalism despite the hurdles and challenges clearly indicates we can do so in spades.
The controversy of Jewish nationalism is its building upon the land of another nation, the Irish do not encounter such things, the island of Ireland is owned by the Irish, made by the Irish, inhabited by the Irish and belongs to the Irish, this is the epicentre of the Irish nation and thus there is no reason why the Irish cannot emulate the Jews.
Why and How?
We are capable of emulating Jewish nationalism, but the bigger questions are why? And how? Firstly I will detail why then how.
Geopolitics as a Small Nation
Nationalism is perceived to be antiquated due to globalist hegemony, this is false, it is merely in hibernation, there is only so much that the zeitgeist can give before it withers in the winter of its cycle, with inflation, the return of intra – European wars in Ukraine, the liberal totalitarianism and ubiquitous sickness of the souls in the West, it is safe to assume the end of liberal globalism is nigh, globalism however endures, it has done so since the Silk Road, a new globalism will emerge which as a necessity will put the interests of the nation first.
The question must be asked, at what capacity would Ireland be able to make its demands heard, considered and negotiated? Currently, as we exit the era of the protection of small states of Europe, I reckon we will soon have no capacity to act independently.
The blanket corporate tax regime, EU defence mechanisms, NATO, Dublin agreement, and a myriad of other multilateral deals indicate that the era of the independent small nation of Europe is over, the US is exiting Europe, pivoting to Asia, thus leaving Germany, France and Russia as the geopolitical trend setters, these states being famous for their contempt for heterogeneity of interests, hence the various wars.
Ireland in such a scenario if it is to remain in the European bloc will be confronted with a choice, fall under the wing of Britain, France and Germany or be neutral, a though decision akin to a choice between murder and suicide considering in our current state nutrality is not an option due to a lack of an army.
The antidote to the sickness we have self inflicted is the repatriation of the Irish nation to Ireland, the old adage goes that the only certainty of life is death and taxes, another certainty is strength in numbers.
Ireland rebuilding the state with upwards of 20 million people will leave us capable of defending ourselves, not entirely, but less so hopelessly as is the current scenario.
Considering the bulk of our exiled children live in the US, it would not hurt to have a cross pollination of imperial mindsets with continental nationalism, this would breed a new society both uninterested in Weltpolitik but capable of defending one’s own and unafraid to claim the realm, the Rockall trough and plateau for instance.
It is for these reasons we must endeavour to repatriate the diaspora, for the survival of our nation and repelling foreign influence.
Regeneration and rural re-population.
Rebuilding Ireland from the bottom up is a key aim of this plan, the economic incentives of having a large nation are bountiful, from a domestic consumption lead to economy to an economic arm in the world’s richest nation, it is undeniable that this would be an economic boon.
The state of Israel, the nation state of the Jews is much like Ireland, the nation state of the Irish insofar that the “nation” of these states mostly live in the USA, both ethnicities are economic powerhouses and both Israel and Ireland benefit immensely from this with FDI etc.
With the inflow of our diaspora we would be able to have a domestic consumption lead economy which would leave us less reliant on exports, more locally entrepreneurial, independent and anti-fragile.
The entrepreneurial zeal of the Americans injected into our state would produce a new Ireland analogous to South Korea, hungry for economic prowess, this would inturn leave us in a better position in the future more akin to Singapore than our current state being analogous, to well, us, we are not in a good position, export led industrialisation has left us with transient multinationals, as opposed to South Korea who also done export led industrialization but ensured they produced their own industries, we however did not.
Depopulation and urbanisation are demographically cataclysmic trends, those who move to cities become uncivilised and uninterested in the future due to various variables, land costs, density, etc.
The heartland of most nations is in the countryside, sadly Ireland’s heartland is dying.
With the return of our diaspora we can enhance the rural resettlement scheme, this would add new economic life to our rural areas of which I am a native of, this would also make good use of plentiful land, justify business expansion to rural areas and produce new local amenities, the demand would justify the supply, thus resuscitating our crumbling rural communities.
The naysayers will posit this would disrupt the rural ethos, I would counteract that it wouldn’t, we provide the idealised utopian notions of Ireland, any American returning home would immerse themselves in our ethos, we would assimilate them, not vice versa, if that is unconvincing, it must be considered, not enough Americans will move to your village to create an autonomous oblast.
But the most important counteraction to such claims I will posit is simply, what rural ethos? Look around, your older sister lives in Galway city, your younger brother just moved to Dublin, your father works in Dublin, the likelihood our rural way of life will survive is very slim, in my lifetime I have seen 4 shops, 2 butchers, 7 pubs, 1 large hardware store, 1 credit union, 1 bakery and 2 banks in my local town turn into 1 shop with a post office, 3 pubs (more like 2 as one is essentially a hospice) and nothing else, the post office has become our atm and the next town has become our shopping centre, this is not the death of a town, this is a murder case. We need new life.
Mobilising the state to achieve Gaelic Zionism.
Convincing otherwise comfy Irish in Brooklyn to come back to Ireland will be done in the same manner the Israelis convinced otherwise comfy Jews in Brooklyn to move to Palestine, “Hasbara” a term the Israelis use to form an image of Israel as the land of milk and honey to entice the diaspora to move their and the world that it is a great place, aka, propaganda. The Irish must do the same.
The idea of rebuilding a Jewish state was heavily propagandised in the 20th century, this produced Kibbutzim which were socialistic agricultural communes being established in Palestine by Jewish communities.
The idea of rebuilding a Jewish state appealed to Jews from the Shtetl to the Shtet and from Belarus to Brooklyn.
An inevitable argument against this will be a smug “why would the diaspora move back to Ireland?” followed by a laugh, look at it this way, if the Jews could convince the diaspora to leave their materially better and comprabibly safer lives to pick up a rocket launcher in one hand and a shovel in the other, move to the Negev and be prepared to die in a geopolitical landmine surrounded by approximately 250 million Arabs and all of your immediate neighbours who hate you, I am certain we can convince the diaspora or at least some to return home.
Citizenship and Benefits:
Israel explicitly laid out its modus operandi for the future of the state in 1950 when it unambiguously made it law that every Jew has the right to return to Israel, more commonly known as the law of return, to qualify for this, to the surprise of no one, you must be Jewish, in which if you were to take up this right you would make “aliyah” which is interesting and here is why:
The state of Israel actively encourages the Jews of the world to settle in Israel via its immigration scheme known as “Aliyah”, once you make Aliyah, a state institution known as nefesh b’nefesh will assist you in settling, giving you Hebrew lessons and assisting with job procurement, however the state itself also deploys many incentives for diaspora jews moving to Israel, from free flights, free medical care, income subsidies (670e per month for 6 months), housing, mortgage discounts, childcare and many other incentives,
In summary Israel does more for foreign nationals than the Irish state does for its own citizens.
Now, I know what one will posit, “Ireland’s resources could not hold up a large influx of our diaspora”, to which I rebuke, Ireland is lush, sparsely populated, does not have a desert and has more arable land, Israel is a fraction desert, low on fresh water, in a geopolitical landmine and surrounded by enemies, if Israel can provide resources for 9 million inhabitants, we can do it in spades.
So what does Ireland do to entice its diaspora to return home? Well not much, in fact, it does more to prolong and encourage leavers, Ireland pleads with the US to give amnesty to the undocumented and bolstering the E3 Visa. In fact if you read Ireland’s Diaspora strategy 2020 – 2025, you may very well lose all hope in our governing elite, not that there was much, but I implore those with a stomach strong enough to read this embarrassingly unambitious waste of paper., in true progressive Ireland fashion, there is more dedication to diversity than to our interests.
The strategy we must adopt is the same as Israels, we must incentivise returnees, we must finance their return and with this we will rebalance the economic distribution, repopulate our towns and villages, justify an increase in expanding infrastructure, create jobs and energise the country.
Who Is Irish?
The Jewish community struggles with one very important question, “who is a Jew”. For simplicity, anyone with a Jewish mother, for Israeli citizenship, it’s more complicated.
One thing Ireland and Israel share is the eligibility scheme, which is simple, prove your grandparents ethnicity, for the Irish however it is not as simple, it must be proven that said grandparent was born in Ireland, which is not so easy and nullifies the chances of our diaspora deracinated from their homes during the famine the right to return.
Jews endeavouring to become Israelis only simply need to prove their Jewish ancestry to avail of Aliyah, this system is more inclusive but has not had its own controversies over the years, disagreements over converts, the beta Israel, messianic Jews etc. has muddied the waters but it is rather simple for a Jew to become Israeli, you just need to be a Jew.
What should Ireland do?
We like Israel should adopt a regime in which ancestry must be proven, we should couple this with a new governmental department, the department for diaspora affairs in which case officers will be deployed to gauge the ancestral connection to Ireland by applicants, this will deter chancers and separate the EU passport seekers from the determined.
If we want to survive in the future this is not an aspiration, this is an essential, this is not a call for ethno nationalism, this is a strategic act to ensure our safety and development, to protect sovereignty, develop our economy and step out of the shadow being being a small island behind a big island.
Irish zionism which I have not conjured up an appropriate name for should not discriminate against liberal attitudes to sexual preference, art tastes and general outlook on life, the strength of Zionism derives from the fact that the devout Jew who frequents the Yeshiva in Jerusalem has the same fundamental interests as the atheist Jew who frequents the gay bar in Tel Aviv, there is no antagonism in Israel over the interests of the Jewish nation, the vast majority of Jews, liberal and conservative know they have a fundamental necessity, protecting the nation.
If we want to ensure stability and growth in the future a law of return for the diaspora must be established.