A SONG FOR BERNADOTTE? by Donal Kennedy

There’s a forest in Israel dedicated to Eamon de Valera, by the Jewish community in Dublin in 1966 when Dev had still another nine years left. There’s another dedicated to Count Folke Bernadotte. Both New York and Israel have forests dedicated to Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg, who disappeared in 1945.

The Jewish Community in Ireland has played a positive and significant part in the in the political, professional, cultural, legal, labour and industrial  life of Ireland for a very long time. One of the longest Bureau of Military

History Bureau Witness Statements  (W.S. 707) is by the Solicitor Michael Noyk, born Lithuania 1884, who served as Solicitor for Arthur Griffith and Sinn Fein from 1912, campaigned for his election in 1917 and defended Republican Prisoners on trial for their lives in 1920 and 1921. His statement includes material he prepared for the trials, material for which British troops, in contempt of all legal protocol, raided his office (in vain).Noyk helped run the Republican Courts,  and in acquiring buildings for the Ministerial Departments founded by Dail Eireann which the British were trying to suppress. His funeral in Dublin in 1966, was attended by many thousands, including the Taoiseach, Sean  Lemass and other veterans of the Dublin Brigade IRA.

The late President of Israel, the Irish-born Chaim Herzog, recalled in his memoirs the strong friendship between his father, Ireland’s first Chief Rabbi, and de Valera who used visit his house with Robert Briscoe, when, if I’m right, the British were pursuing Dev with evil intent. I believe Dev used sometimes stay there, Robert Briscoe was a founder member of Fianna Fail, a committed Jew and a Zionist, who served more than two terms as Dublin’s Lord Mayor.

De Valera was never anti-Semitic, nor hostile to any nation, religion or race. But he was not a Zionist nor did he ever profess to be.

A story has been put about in an Israeli paper that Ireland and Fianna Fail are anti-Semitic and that Eamon de Valera was an Anti-Semite. I have sufficient faith in the decency and honesty of most Jews, indeed of most Zionists, that that story will be refuted.

It was written by a regular columnist in THE TIMES of London, Melanie Philips, who sometimes moonlights for BBCNRadio 4 as a contributor to “THE MORAL MAZE”.  It’s amazing she hasn’t the moral courage to fly her story up  a flag-pole nearer  London or Dublin and see if anyone salutes.

Both Raoul Gustaf Wallenberg and Count Folke Bernadotte were Swedish  Diplomats and both put their lives on the line while war was raging in Europe to rescue numerous Jews from murder by the Nazis, (Unlike Frank Foley of MI6 neither ever visited Horst Wessel Haus at the Nazi’s invitation, to transcribe the names of those disliked by them, lest they surface in Britain or her Empire.) Wallenberg disappeared in Budapest in 1945 and Count Bernadotte was murdered in Jerusalem, together with a French Colonel serving with the UN in September i948.

Wallenberg is commemorated on at least three continents by statues, postage stamps, books, plays and has  posthumously been awarded citizenship in countries  far from Sweden.

Stockholm and Copenhagen honour Bernadottte with streets namedfor him. I don’t think the United Nations, whom he served has any memorial to him in the UN Headquarters.

A book of essays attributed to Gordon Brown devotes itself to profiles of courageous persons, including Wallenburg, but, Surprise? Surprisingly? – not a peep about Bernadotte.

If I were to put my name to a collection called “Profiles in Cowardice,” I could not, in all conscience fail to omit Gordon BrownNand Melanie Philips.

I see that the Eurovision Song Contest is coming up. Is there time to submit a Song for Bernadotte?

It might start –

“Who fears to Sing for Bernadotte,

Who blushes at his Name,

When cowards erase a hero’s tale,

Who hangs their heads in shame?

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