Who Do You Think You Are? Echoes of Bathurst-Norman in Edwardian Ireland


By raycook
August 3, 2010
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 Dervla Kirwan arrives at The 7th Annual Irish Film And Television Awards, at the Burlington Hotel on February 20, 2010 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Eamonn McCormack/Getty Images)

The BBC genealogical series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ has always been a favourite of mine.

As someone interested in my own family history and the many twists and turns it can take and also being fascinated in the detective work that discovers surprising facts about celebrities’ roots, I am a devoted fan of this programme.

Yesterday the celebrity in question was Dublin-born actress, Dervla Kirwan.
Looking at her (which is a pleasant task) and listening to her, you would suspect a long line of Catholic Irish ancestry.

And this is what we got – almost.

Having discovered she is the great-niece of Michael Collins, Irish patriot, founder of the original IRA, Dervla’s search moved to her father’s side of the family and the casual revelation that she had a Jewish ancestor.

In fact, it was her paternal great-grandfather, one Henry Kahn, a Polish Jew who fled the Russian Empire in the late 19th century and set himself up as a tobacconist and a sometime illegal bookmaker.
He also happened to marry a Catholic in a Church of Ireland (Protestant) church, which was some going for the 1890′s.

In 1902, we discovered, he was arrested for breaking the shop window of one Esther Marks and destroying in the process some ‘china ornaments’ and ‘assorted bric-a-brac’.

It appears that Henry was a bit of a character and possibly a somewhat unsavoury one at that.

But what happened next was very instructive; he was tried by a jury in Dublin and found guilty and sentenced to one year’s hard labour, which, for a man in his mid forties, was a terrible sentence.

Our attention was drawn to a newspaper article of 1902 which reports the sentencing and which makes sure we all know that the man in the dock was a Jew.

The judge, or Recorder, was Sir Frederick Falkiner, who had this to say in his summing up after stating that Henry deserved a whipping for one of the worst offences he had seen, or words to that effect. He broke a window and some china, if you recall:

You are a specimen of your nation and your race that cause you to be hunted out of every country.

On reading this, Dervla’s jaw dropped and subsequent enquiry revealed that Falkiner was then 71 years old, had wrongfully instructed the jury as to the verdict and also denied Henry the right to speak before sentencing.

Apparently, this patent anti-Semitism was a little out-of-date even in 1902, and the Jewish Chronicle took up the case and eventually Falkiner was shamed in the House of Commons by the MP for Stepney.

Marvellous to relate, James Joyce echoed this case in Ulysses (which happens to be my favourite book) in Leopold Bloom’s dream which takes place in front of the very same judge.

Genealogy certainly has the power to link disparate elements of our culture.

But don't you see the echo of the Bathurst-Norman case where an elderly judge was brought out of retirement and dismissed the case against activists who trashed an arms factory in Brighton during Operation Cast Lead because it was supplying armaments to Israel.

In his summing up Bathurst-Norman directed the jury to acquit the accused on the grounds that although they were self-confessed criminals, they did what they did to prevent even more Israeli ‘war crimes’.

So over 100 years later English (Ireland was subject to English law at the time, let’s leave the Scots out of this, they have a different legal system) justice finds that Jews are a special case to be made an example of or to be subject to vilification in an English court of law. In 1902, a petty crime committed by a Jew receives a heavy sentence (albeit he was reprieved after 6 months), in 2010 those with an animus against Jews defending themselves from murderous anti-Semites (Hamas) get off scot-free because jew-baiting is now a sanctioned pastime once again in England.

All this and the debate, today, about what President Peres of Israel said or didn’t say, meant or didn’t mean, in an interview with Benny Morris where he may or may not have said that the English (read British) are anti-Semitic.

For a taste of the Peres controversy see No-win journalism>'No-win journalism' and its comments in Melanie Phillips’ blog in the Spectator.

It appears that British anti-Semitism runs deep in certain sections of the English Establishment; so deep, that even after 100 years or more it can still resurface like a recessive gene to produce horrible mutations like Bathurst-Norman.

This is not to say that I believe Britain to be anti-Semitic in the 21st century, but it is certainly there lurking and mutating into different forms like anti-Zionism or anti-Israelism which often, but by no means always, are mere fig-leaves for anti-Semitism.

And poor Henry Kahn? He ended up in a lunatic asylum where he died four years after his release from prison. Isn't it instructive how, in 1902, a judge could tell the court that Jews had been hunted out of every country they had ever been in.

Who do we think we are? Where do you think we should go? Well, in 1902, the Jews were buying land in Ottoman Palestine and laying the foundations for a Jewish homeland where they would be free of Falkiners and Bathurst-Normans and where they would not be ‘hunted out’ ever again.

They called themselves Zionists.

First published at http://www.raymondcook.net/blog/index.php/2010/08/03/who-do-you-think-yo...

COMMENTS

Ben Abuyah

Tue, 08/03/2010 - 23:17

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-3 points

"In his summing up Bathurst-Norman directed the jury to acquit the accused"

You're still making the same mistake as a lot of other people. Whilst it is clear that parts of Judge Bathurst-Norman's summing up were inappropriate, he never "directed" the jury to acquit the defendants. That is a term which has a precise legal definition.

"anti-Semitic" / "anti-Semitism" - I think you'll find that most people prefer to spell these "antisemitic" and "antisemitism".

"... in 1902, the Jews were buying land in Ottoman Palestine and laying the foundations for a Jewish homeland where they would be free of Falkiners and Bathurst-Normans and where they would not be ‘hunted out’ ever again.
They called themselves Zionists."

They don't seem to have done a very good job, then, given the amount of antisemitism that some people would like to suggest still exists today.


raycook

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 00:04

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0 points

Please don't give me spelling lessons - my version is perfectly acceptable and it's the one I prefer.

The judge made it quite clear what he wanted the judgement to be, so don't knit-pick.

Your last remark is unworthy even of you and makes my point. If they haven't done a good job, as you put it, it's precisely because of the Jew-hatred (or should that be jewhatred?) that you are so keen to ignore or dismiss and is spewed out daily by Hamas, Hizbullah, Iran, the P.A., Al Qaeda, and the loony left Marxists that support them. But I'm sure you don't identify with these people, do you? After all denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination and the right to live at peace is just anti-Zionism (antizionism), isn't it?


Ben Abuyah

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 04:01

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-2 points

"don't knit-pick"

I think you'll find that should be nitpick :-)


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 04:44

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1 point

Fascinating.

Ignore the malevolent troll who lacks the guts to post in his own name.


Ben Abuyah

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 06:09

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-2 points

Jonathan, I know you're very stupid, but I have been through this several times before. I'm not posting under my own name because I work in the community, and the atmosphere makes it very difficult to express opinions which don't toe the JLC/CST line.

In addition, I wouldn't put it past you to try and have me arrested for inciting antisemitism. (I know you've tried that on other people before - it's pretty pathetic, and the authorities treated it with the contempt it deserved, but I have better things to do with my time than be interviewed by the police.)


raycook

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:04

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0 points

yes nit-pick is correct. My spelling was wollie on that occasion


raycook

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:05

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0 points

wooly - LOL


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:08

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2 points

OK Mr Smart-Ar**

Here is an extract from a letter from Ken Clarke to my MP:

"Mr Hoffman is concerned about the direction given to the jury in a case at Hove Crown Court by Judge Bathurst-Norman"

"direction" .... I never used that word in my letter to my MP and I never used it in my blog article...

http://cifwatch.com/2010/07/14/the-judge-who-thought-he-was-defence-coun...

.. But if it OK for the Minister of Justice to use the word "direction", then who are you to question it?

Or is Ken Clarke wrong too?


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:27

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1 point

This is a brilliant article


raycook

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:37

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1 point

I always liked Ken Clarke :-)

Jonathan - thanks, that really means a lot.


Anonymous

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 07:37

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-1 points

This comment by Jon_i_Cohen has been moderated


happygoldfish

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 08:30

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1 point

oh come on moderators, jon i cohen's remarks are just plain libellous

the jc should remove them on that ground alone

in addition, jon's whole attitude is contrary to accepted behaviour on an internet forum

people are perfectly entitled to post under pseudonyms, and to be judged on what they say, not on who they are

jon has a record of personal abuse, now culminating in libellous remarks, including a threat to cause ben abuyah to lose his job

(and in just the last two weeks, jon has published two blog headlines, IHH, Turkish Terror Group to be banned in the USA and Gaza residents want the full blockade re-instated, each of which is contradicted by his own source, and yet has refused to acknowledge any error … see also … his record generally indicates that he seems to think that, for him, there is nothing wrong in being wrong)

blacklisted dictator was banned for less

jon's continued presence here is a deterrent to freedom of speech

btw, light may be thrown on his attitude to this forum by his extraordinary attitude to the jc itself …

Jon_i_Cohen: This is a web site for people that support Israel …

happygoldfish: i thought it was a web site for people that read the jc ?

Jon_i_Cohen: Shouldn't that be one and the same thing?


Ben Abuyah

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 08:43

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-3 points

"Or is Ken Clarke wrong too?"

Quite possibly.

Jon_i_Cohen: good luck with that - I look forward to receiving progress reports.

If it weren't for the fact that I believe in free speech, I'd call for you to be banned for being a fascist.


Ben Abuyah

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 08:57

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0 points

To the moderators:

I notice that Jon_i_Cohen's last post has been deleted. There's no real need to do that - it'll only allow him to play the martyr. It would be better if his offensive remarks were left there for the world to see, so that everyone will be aware of how much of a moron he is.

E ben A


raycook

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 09:31

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3 points

Can we stop the ad hominem against E B A.

He's entitled to his opinions.

If we disagree, we can say so. If we believe he misrepresents the facts, we can rebut them.

If he crosses the line, we can report him.

What he does for a living is of no interest.

Many years ago I worked for the JIA and one of its security employees was a real antsemitic b***d. Eventually he got his comeuppance, but in the meantime he did the job of protecting the people he despised.


Ben Abuyah

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 10:45

Rate this:

-1 points

Jonathan,

My memory occasionally lets me down. Can you remind me where I demonised Israel, or expressed opposition to the Jewish nature of the world's single Jewish state?

Many thanks.


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 10:56

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0 points

Jonathan,

is the ZF aware of the rudeness with which you treat people on this website?


Anonymous

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 16:40

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-1 points

This comment by Jonathan Hoffman has been moderated


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 16:45

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0 points

Ben Ab

Sure.

25 July: "I don't believe Jews are entitled to a homeland."

You knew that bcos I reminded you only a few days ago.


DLeigh-Ellis

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 17:20

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-2 points

It wasn't a trick question I was putting to you Jonathan. Clearly though, you yourself are not even aware of how you come across on these pages.


Ben Abuyah

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 18:12

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0 points

JH, I'll repeat my question: Can you remind me where I demonised Israel, or expressed opposition to the Jewish nature of the world's single Jewish state?

The quote you gave doesn't satisfy either of those criteria.


Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 19:36

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1 point

Suggesting that Jews are not entitled to a homeland crosses both of those red lines and is a gift to our enemies.


Jon_i_Cohen

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 07:23

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0 points

Why?


Jon_i_Cohen

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 07:24

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0 points

Anonymous

4 August, 2010 - 08:37

Rate this:

This comment by Jon_i_Cohen has been moderated

Why?


happygoldfish

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 08:32

Rate this:

1 point

because!!

now … go to your room!

Ben Abuyah

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 09:01

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0 points

Jon, for a moment there I thought you were challenging Jonathan Hoffman on my behalf :-)

So, Jonathan, I'll ask the same question that Jon asked (albeit I suspect unintentionally): why (does suggesting that Jews are not entitled to a homeland cross those red lines)?

As you know, I don't believe any people are inherently entitled to a national homeland. So, by your definition, I'm also anti-British, anti-French, anti-Iranian, anti-Palestinian, anti-Turkish, anti-Andorran, anti-Tajiki, ... (I could go on, but I think most people will get the idea).

With all of this talk of "our enemies", you're beginning to sound like certain of the "let's play secret agents" who occupy senior positions at the CST.


raycook

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 11:24

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0 points

I don't believe any people are inherently entitled to a national homeland.

EBA - you left out 'especially the Jews' I think. We are always less entitled than anyone else. Thats why we have been 'hunted out' for 2000 years, no?


Ben Abuyah

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 11:28

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0 points

Ray, I didn't single out the Jews. Why do you feel that Jews should be treated specially?


Akiva

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 12:18

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0 points

I'm not quite sure why there's an arguement here. If Ben Abuyah believes no people are entitled to a national homeland then he is disconnected from reality. If this list includes (as it does) the Jewish people, then he is also disconnected from Torah.

Either which way, his views (which he has yet to fully flesh out, probably for the better) are moot and undeserving of the platform some of our more serious regulars are giving him.


happygoldfish

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 12:21

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1 point

raycook, wherever did you get "especially" from?

for the record, the relevant exchange was in my blog the usual suspects hijack a blog again, and the whole of it was as follows …

Ben Abuyah 25 July 2010 - 18:53: Amber:
"Why is refugee status hereditary for Palestinians, alone, of all peoples on the earth?"
Well, what about people claiming a right to live in Israel under the Law of Return because their ancestors (possibly) lived there two thousand years ago?

amber 25 July 2010 - 23:03: I see ben Abuyah - so you don't believe the Jews are entitled to a homeland at all.
Nice way of not answering the point, by the way.
Why is it hereditary - and why is this reserved exclusively for the Palestinian Arabs?

Ben Abuyah 26 July 2010 - 10:34: amber: No, I don't believe that Jews are entitled to a national homeland, any more than I believe that any other national / cultural / ethnic group are inherently entitled to a national homeland.
And I repeat - what is the difference between Palestinians being granted refugee status by the UN because their ancestors previously lived in Palestine, and Jews being given a right of return by the State of Israel because their ancestors previously lived in Eretz Yisrael?

raycook, please reconsider


raycook

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 13:15

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1 point

EBA, happy - ok - I was making the assumption that EBA had a special animus against the Jewish state and Jewish nationhood.

I may be wrong. EBA blogs here to undermine/argue against all aspirations and claims to nationhood, evidently.

Jews a special case? Well actually I have been thinking about the arguments for that for some time, but it is so against the zeitgeist that I have refrained.


raycook

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 13:18

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2 points

The irony of seeing a post by 'Akiva' against 'Elisha ben Abuyah' on the JC Blogs is a truly marvellous occasion which we should all celebrate regardless of our affiliations.


Ben Abuyah

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 13:24

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0 points

Yes, we just need Ben Azzai and Ben Zoma to complete the set!


Akiva

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 13:25

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0 points

Perhaps we should start calling him "The Other One"?


Ben Abuyah

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 14:30

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0 points

I have no problem with being called "The Other One", "Acher", etc. I do object to certain people calling me a traitor, a liar, a malevolent troll etc.


Yvetta

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 21:19

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0 points

btw, id anyone see that debate from northern Ireland on the BBC - "Are we too critical of Israel?" - which featured the wonderful Douglas Murray?
I wonder what people thought of Edwina Currie's performance - I thought she was quite dreadful and seemed even ignorant, at times.
She even agreed with some of Selma James's ravings, saying she knew where Selma was coming from on certain points because her children can settle in Israel but her brother's can't. I assume the brother has married out and the children are Christians.
I was sad to see Currie slagging off Israel in other ways as well, and scoffing at Murray - who ran rings round them all (or would have done had not the BBC's Susanna Reid not kept interrupting him)


Yvetta

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 21:20

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0 points

This pesky laptop - leaving letters off words again!


amber

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 22:23

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0 points

Yvetta, I complained to the BBC about Susanna Reid interrupting Douglas Murray (a true champion) and trying to steer the conversation away from the central points he was making.


Jonathan Hoffman

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 06:45

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-1 points

All you need to remember about the despicable Currie is that (a) she had an affair with John Major (!) (b) she wrote about it thus dumping him in the mire, not least with Mrs M.

A nasty piece of work.


Yvetta

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 07:17

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0 points

Yes, Jonathan - poor taste in men, too. I know power is an aphrodisiac, but! Still, he does have a lovely speaking voice.

Amber, I'm glad - it was quite noticeable that Reid interrupted Murray just as he was getting started on points, and was darting her gaze to Currie and that other woman, to bring whichever one was scoffing more openly into the discussion. It was really infuriating -he was never allowed to make a point in free flow. Compare that to Currie and the odious Ms James. Murray stood head and shoulders above all of them, and it seemed obvious that Reid was afraid of his intellect.


Yvetta

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 07:18

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1 point

Poor Ray! Little could he have guessed how this thread would turn out, when he posted about the Irish colleen!


Anonymous

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 08:45

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0 points

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