The Irish and the Jews are two of the classic outliers of modern Europe. Both struggled with their lack of formal political sovereignty in nineteenth-century Europe. Simultaneously European and not European, both endured a bifurcated status, perceived as racially inferior and yet also seen as a natural part of the European landscape. Both sought to deal with their subaltern status through nationalism; both had a tangled, ambiguous, and sometimes violent relationship with Britain and the British Empire; and both sought to revive ancient languages as part of their drive to create a new identity. The career of Irish politician Robert Briscoe and the travails of Leopold Bloom are just two examples of the delicate balancing of Irish and Jewish identities in the first half of the twentieth century.
Irish Questions and Jewish Questions explores these shared histories, covering several centuries of the Jewish experience in Ireland, as well as events in Israel-Palestine and North America. The authors examine leading figures of both national movements to reveal how each had an active interest in the successes, and failures, of the other. Bringing together leading and emerging scholars from the fields of Irish studies and Jewish studies, this volume captures the most recent scholarship on their comparative history with nuance and remarkable insight. Aidan Beatty has held fellowships at Concordia University and Trinity College Dublin and now teaches at Wayne State University. His first book, Masculinity and Power in Irish Nationalism, was awarded the American Conference for Irish Studies’ Prize for Best Book in History and Social Sciences. Dan O’Brien is currently an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellow at University College Dublin. He holds a PhD from University College Cork.