Tommy Tiernan’s Holocaust Rant

 Posted by on September 24, 2009  Add comments
Sep 242009

All of Ireland seems to be enraged at something Tommy Tiernan said at the Electric Picnic.

Everyone in the country seems to be entirely infuriated by things Tiernan said about the Holocaust, and yet, try as I might, I haven’t been able to find the original transcript of the interview he gave to Hot Press.

According to the reports, Tiernan said, inter alia,  Six million? I would have got 10 or 12 million out of that. No fucking problem! Fuck them. Two at a time, they would have gone. Hold hands, get in there! Leave us your teeth and your glasses.

On the face of it, appalling, and every  hack in the country is writing about his insensitivity, to the extent that Tommy Tiernan has felt compelled to issue an apology.

But hold on a minute.

About two years ago, I wrote a post called Happy Holocaust Holidays.

Supposing some bored Irish Independent hack decided to latch onto that title, ignoring the substance behind it, and of course, presuming I was well-known and newsworthy, I could perhaps expect to see the same outraged articles written about me.

It wouldn’t matter that the post is about the photographs taken by an SS officer in Auschwitz, or that it contrasts the horrors of the murders in the camp with the mundanity of the staffs’  lives.

If a cynical journalist wished to misrepresent it, they would have no difficulty portraying me as an anti-semitic Nazi sympathiser.

That’s the nature of quotations taken out of context.

And that’s why I’ll reserve judgement until I see the full transcript of Tommy Tiernan’s comments, or until I find a working recording of them.

Until then, all we have is reported speech.  Oratio obliqua.

And as we all know, hearsay ain’t worth shit.



Now that I’ve heard the clip and read the transcript, it looks more and more like lazy journalism and hypocritical posturing to condemnTommy Tiernan the way some commentators have done.

All he did was get into character, like all performers do, and the character he got into was a bigoted Jew-hater.

Where are we going with this?  Will we condemn Alec Guinness for portraying  Hitler?  For speaking his words?

Do we think Anthony Hopkins is a psychopathic murderer?

People need to get a grip here.  Tiernan did a stream-of-consciousness performance, and when you do that, sometimes it doesn’t work.

But I didn’t pick up any anti-Jewishness by Tiernan, though he did make a omment about those who attack anyone who criticises Israel.  There are many Jews who criticise Israel.  Are they anti-Jewish too?

I heard Louis Lentin on the news calling for Tiernan’s US visa to be revoked.  For fucksake!  A theatre and film director calling for a performer to be banned.

What next?



  80 Responses to “Tommy Tiernan’s Holocaust Rant”

Comments (80)

    myself and himself went to see tommy when he played in belmullet last saturday as part of his ”world tour of mayo” and during the show he mentioned this incident and brought our attention to the fact that the sunday tribune would be running an article the following day regarding the comments he made about the jews.

    anyone who takes anything said by a comedian such as tommy – who i would describe as a ”stream of consiousness’ performer – out of context and reports it as his belief system is a fucking idiot.

    tommy is a trubador comedian, we need people like him.


    The guy is a comedian for fucks sake.Are they going to take every joke made by a comedian now as a “serious incident” .


    What’s this? You’re a Nazi, Bock? Wait until I tell The Sun about that!


    Hey Tommy I was a great fan of yours until this week… could you stoop so low into the gutters ……..I would like you to know that all my mothers family were murdered in the Holocaust. You disgusting .


    Regrettable I find Tirenan as Funny as Noel V. Ginnety as funny as sliding down a banisters studded with razor blades. On the other hand I crack up at Des Bishop and a lot of other Irish Comedians. There is no accounting for taste I suppose.


    Tom — Have you got the full transcript? If so, I’d really be interested to see it.


    Comedians make use of what ever material suits their own personal style. It’s what allows the mediocre comic step out from the crowd and what allows them the only route to fully hone their singular talent.

    Tiernan went that route a long time ago and is on a roll with it.

    Remember 9/11 and Billy Connolly? – Same blinkered ignorant response.

    Tiernan rocks; oh! I must be a Nazi!


    You can’t even joke about the Holocaust anymore, PC gone mad!


    Let the overtly PC fuckers watch this clip:

    They’re even crazier than double T himself.


    I watched the entire interview, but I thought the Holocaust rant was the less disturbing part of Tiernan’s discussion of ‘the Jewish Question’.

    Firstly, Tiernan was asked by a guy in a ‘Viva Palestina’ t-shirt, with a Northern Ireland accent, if he had ever been accused of anti-semitism given his odd Israeli jokes, etc.

    Tiernan then started talking about how two American Jews approached him once on the issue after one of his performances. He spoke seriously a first, saying these two American Jews had eyes ‘so fucking white’ and ‘full of righteousness’ with a lot of contempt in his voice. No one in the audience was laughing. He then castigated Jews, calling all Jews ‘one-stream people’ or ‘single minded people’ who think they are so righteous, and sarcastically noted how they ‘think… Israelis are a hounded people’ with serious sarcasm showing in his voice. He told the interviewer (Olaf something or other…) that he may have more to say on that matter later – I take that this is because Hot Press is a very anti–Israel publication. No one had been laughing up to this point.

    Then Tiernan changed his tone in the middle of his rant – turning to talk for a minute on Frankie Boyle, the Scottish comic, and the ‘role’ of the comedian. After that, he smiled and shouted about ‘Jew cunts’ and made the comment: “Six million? I would have got 10 or 12 million out of that. No f**kng problem! F**k them. Two at a time, they would have gone.. Hold hands, get in there! Leave us your teeth and your glasses”

    He made the caveat before that, on how as a comic he should not be taken seriously, presumably to cover himself. But to me, and others I’ve gone over it with, the first ‘serious’ part of his answer to the anti-semitism question gave the game away.

    To me, Tiernan was never that funny – just someone who swears a lot and tries childish shocks on stage, which is no substitute for real wit and humour.


    Any words spoken by anybody anywhere at anytime will offend some people some-where at some-time.
    that shite would just offend any-one with hearing….
    See I’ve just offended the audiably challenged and shite heavy metal fans.


    Tommy is without a doubt the funniest man on tv today,his joke was bad taste but thats all it was was a joke,of course he covers his back by saying im bound to offend somebody so dont take what i say seriously,he then sets out to shock by saying things that make you cringe but done tongue in cheek.What about his jokes on handicapped people,even a friend of mine who is disabled laughed at him,life is hard enough without everyone being so uptight,next the travellers will be taking legal action against him for insulting their “culture”…just wait till he starts on jewish travellers,or jewish disabled travellers,lighten up folks,he is an entertainer,if you dont like him turn off your tv….you have the remote


    Inbatman Tiernan is a prick and a piece of shite. Funny? I think not However he may think it so. A turd walking. Just an opinion.


    Could somebody please post a link to the entire rant. Please?
    How about you, System? You seem to have heard the whole thing. Could you provide a link?


    This was Sunday 6 September in the Hot Press Chat Room at Electric Picnic. The audio podcast has been mysteriously removed from their site.



    it is on his website @ tommy tiernan dot com.


    Joking about the Holocaust is his personal passion, not just a way of taunting Israel, sadlly craving for a laugh at a tiny nations expence is based in his simple personal interpretation of history
    Sadly there do exists people who think they know this story already. They think they have institutionalized their memory…….. the near-destruction of the European Jews in a very brief span of time by a sophisticated European nation using the best technology available to murder Jews,Christians,Gays mental patients was it seems, an event that requires constant re-explanation, not least because it really did shape subsequent European and world history in untold ways. For that reason alone, the archives, the photographs, will go on being necessary, long beyond the lifetime of the last survivor. But poor ,poor Tommy needs a laugh at their expence.


    I had a listen to the whole thing. The dangerous bit all happens in the last couple of minutes–in answer to the very last question, which was an extra one from the audience.

    thesystemworks is wrong to claim above that Tommy suggested all Jews were a ‘one-stream people.’ He is referring to specific people and to a ‘righteous’ type.

    I also noticed that Tommy’s changes of tone and inflection become completely invisible after transcribing the interview . It would have been too subjective for me to add an interpretation of which comedic effects I thought he might be aiming at. Often it’s very clear to the audience, as in the final (and most contentious) paragraph, that Tommy is taking on the role of a character who is an absurd racist.

    The much quoted section is below (regarding a Jewish couple who accused him of racism after a show):
    “Have I ever been accused of being anti-Semitic? I certainly have yes. In America these two people waited for me after a show. And I used to do this joke about, it was along the lines–the Jews were blamed, the Jews say they never killed Jesus. And the joke was I say that ‘Well it wasn’t the fucking Mexicans,’ was the joke like and yeah. Jewish people came up to me afterwards and they…

    Have you ever seen people whose eyes are so aflame with righteousness, and they never had–the whites of their eyes are so pure and fucking white, they’re just, they’re one stream people. They’re not people that have gaps for more than one train of thought. This one train of thought purified them. These people were just–that the Israelis are a hounded people. And I, God. Olaf might have more to say about that in a minute than me but [laughs]. But I, you whatever. I’m not here to hound anybody but these people spoke to me afterwards and said, ‘What you said…’

    You know what I don’t fucking like actually. Just an aside. I read something that Frankie Boyle said, the Scottish comedian. And he said, and it made me very angry because he said any time he hears a comic doing a pisstake of an accent he goes up to them an tells them ‘That’s racist.’ And I thought to myself–that kind of attitude doesn’t belong on the comedic stage because comedic… It’s all about being reckless and irresponsible and joyful. It’s not about being careful and Protestant and Scottish and mannered. [some clapping and cheers] It’s about being…trusting your own soul and allowing whatever lunacy is inside you to come out, in a special protected environment where people know that nothing you’re saying is being taken seriously.

    But these Jews, these fucking Jew cunts come up to me [audience laughing and clapping] Fucking Christ killing bastards. [audience continues] Fucking six million, I have ten, I would have got ten million out of that. No fucking problem. Fucking two at a time they would have gone. Oh lads, get in there. Leave us your teeth and your glasses. [more laughing, some groans?] No. I don’t really know. [audience cheering and clapping. Olaf wraps up the interview.]


    so… during the section where he mentions the jews, he throws in an aside that as a comedian you need to be wreckless and joyful, not all scottish and protestant……

    so… does this mean that tommy tiernan hates all scottish people and all protestants? of course it doesn’t. to infer this from what he said makes you a fucking moron – because i’ve taken his words out of context…. just like infering that he is anti semitic from what he said during this interview ALSO makes you a fucking moron.

    and tom above – where is your evidence that ”joking about the holocaust is his personal passion”?


    He told a few jokes about Downs Syndrome kids a while back also, started making fun of the way they speak and suggested the should be used as drug couriers.”Hilarious” stuff – a stream of consciousness anyone?… Jesus wept. He then lied and said – after the usual it was taken out of context bollocks – that all his friends with Down Syndrome and their families think it’s funny. Yeah, of course they did you illiterate Mayo gobshite – and your not even funny to make it worse. Tommy Tiernan, the banality of comedy to paraphrase Hannah Arendt.


    Well I would like to be able to say that what he said was terrible,but then I would be a hypocrite because I burst out laughing reading the text of it above…same as the audience there apparently


    so – seconds out – according to you, should all comedians just go on stage and tell mother-in law and knock knock jokes? oh – no – wait, that might be offensive to mothers-in-law and doors….


    Having listened to the podcast, it seems to me that Tiernan slipped into a caricature of an extreme Nazi to illustrate a point. I didn’t get the impression these were his personal views at all. Just goes to show what can happen when people take things out of context.


    Brian W, your post there was as funny as the holocaust itself.


    I went on TT’s site as directed by Vincent, listened to entire interview, Yes, I laughed at ALL of it, the Irish, people from Monaghan, Brian from Offaly etc etc.
    There were various inflections and adoptions of comedic character here and there, I don’t always find TT funny but generally i laugh at his irreverance of certain situ’s.
    I don’t think it’s remotely relevant whether he is anti semitic or not, his style is very anti pc and thats his game and it works for him, You just know that when he opens his mouth he will be controversial and thats what his specific brand is based on.
    With most controversial comedians, I think everything is up for grabs, Most jewish comedians take the piss out of themselves, OK , i appreciate the Holocaust is a very different area, But i just would’nt interpret it as a personal belief of his or an insult.
    When Billy Connelly commented on a kidnapped european in Iraq saying something to the effect of ” would they just get it over with ” as in stop the threats to behead him, do it or release him, the international press were in a frenzy, my personal view was that if i was kidnapped by a bunch of fanatics threatening to cut my head off, i would rather they just got on with it, I thought he had a point.
    Equally when Joan Rivers said that there must have been at least 1 or 2 women who were happier with the compo cheque than seeing their husbands again after 9/11, press berated her, Why ? it was possibly close to the truth.
    A lot of comics just say what people think or what they say quietly to each other, it’s what we find humourous about them……isn’t it ?


    I never found Tiernan funny, a talentless prick who swears a lot, picks on minorities for his material but fuck all substance behind it all.
    I usually don’t give a shit when someone makes fun of others, eg the Joan Rivers gags on 9/11 – most probably the truth in a lot of cases, at least she is funny and has talent, even the Billy Connolly gaff wasn’t that bad, forgiveable because he is funny. TT on the other hand is not funny, is not cutting edge as he likes to believe, he is just a bigotted talentless prick.


    He’s a talentless prick, then? Would that be it?


    Yep, a talentless prick who shouts a lot. I’ve seen him live.
    Billy Connolly he will never be.


    I agree that he put on the persona for the Holocaust part of the rant – but what do you think of the part that preceded it? I’m of the impression that he was tarnishing Jews in general. His tone was serious, and nobody was laughing.


    It seemed to me that he was talking about people who won’t permit any criticism of Israel. The Jews, however, don’t have a monopoly on such things. Every political viewpoint has people with wild staring eyes who attack what they perceive to be the smallest slight. Don’t forget, many Israelis base their political beliefs on the idea that they’re God’s chosen people. Is it anti-Israeli to challenge that?


    Most people recognize a joke when they hear it. Where exactly is the joke in mocking Jews and the Holocaust? Members of my family were murdered in the Holocaust.

    I have a suggestion for Tiernan. He should take his comedy act to the town of Omagh and mock the victims of the Omagh bombing, which included Protestants, Catholics, children, tourists and a pregnant woman. Afterwards, he should take his talent to Shankill Road, the predominantly Protestant working-class area of Belfast and likewise make fun of the nine Shankill bomb victims.

    I don’t believe the residents of Omagh and Shankill Road, especially the families of the victims, would find Tiernan’s comedy performance entertaining and neither would the majority of Irish people. Lack of artistic talent shouldn’t be confused with humour.


    If he was mocking the Holocaust it would be completely indefensible, but I don’t think he was. He sounded to me as if he was making a parody of extreme anti-Jewish bigots.


    And there in lies the dilema. However Tiernan hasn’t, too my knowledge anyway, exhibited any anti-jewish sentiment in the past, and he’s smart enough to know that a deliberate anti-jewish skit could cost him a career, or at least hs public image.


    I think he was referring to Zeal in his description of the couple who accosted him. Definitely on thin ice with that interview though.


    He says stupid things all the time, and he creates his own trouble, but this is a bit bigger than Tiernan.

    Where are we going with reported speech?

    Is somebody going to jump on me because of something I said in the pub? Or in my house?

    It’s very, very easy to portray a person in any light you choose by selectively quoting them, or by quoting them out of context. Speech is very subtle, and depends on more than just words. it needs intonation, emphasis, gesture, timing, intensity and facial expression to convey the full meaning.

    So whatever about Tommy Tiernan, I’d be very worried about opportunistic demagogues like Eoghan Harris shouting about something they don’t fully comprehend. I say that because, although Tiernan isn’t that funny these days, Harris has no sense of humour whatever.

    Getting Eoghan Harris to write about a comedian is like asking my dog to lecture on aerodynamics.


    that we are having this debate is evidence of the thorny subject matter and its tactless use as a comedy device….BUT, it is one mans comedy trip.. If we value the freedom of the artist to express themselves through there medium , then we have to accept good and bad will come of it… imagine a world without the terrificly diverse comedy, music , theatre and film, just because somebody said “NO”… now thats not funny…


    you sent your dog to university to study aeronautical engineering!!either the move of a genius or a madman bock,how much does he hand up every week for his keep,lecturers make a good wage….see everything is relative,lighten up we will be dead long enough…plus i still think tiernan is a funny fucker


    Bock, I’ve given it a few days and had a listen proper listen to the piece. I think the excuse that some are going for that he was caricaturing or sending up someone who was genuinely anti-Semitic isn’t there in the podcast at all. There is no element of “ah sure this is what a real anti-Semitic person would have said to them” in either his language or tone. And I don’t think that he was mocking the couple for being self righteous tossers as he was in the start of that segment, which it sounds to me like they probably were, but because they were Jewish.

    He could have gone after any number of things their one track minds, their arrogant presumption in challenging him in a gig they had chosen to see, the fact that Israel and Judaism are not one in the same thing, but he went for the fact that they were Jewish. That was his choice of target out of all the possible targets he had and it is that which reflects poorly on him. Is Tommy Tiernan anti-Semitic, I’d doubt it but you’d have to wonder about his choice of targets when presented with an array of them. Boorish, self righteous couple, with fire in their eyes with fervour confront comedian and he goes for the holocaust angle. If he had gone after the spitting, over the top, full of righteous fervour angle he might have been hitting too close to home for comfort.


    Maybe people could give their opinion on some of Louis CK’s jokes?



    Holy hell Political correctness needs to bloody stop!! Look Daniel, he started off by saying how these people came up to him after the show with a one track mind and a fire in their eyes. Gunning for Tommy after a fairly inoffensive and humorous Jewish gag. Then he relates the whole point of stand up comedy is to be able to let loose whatever madness you have in you: “It’s all about being reckless and irresponsible and joyful”. He was pissed at Franky Boyle telling people accents were racist. He says comedy is “about being…trusting your own soul and allowing whatever lunacy is inside you to come out, in a special protected environment where people know that nothing you’re saying is being taken seriously.”

    Only THEN does he go into his over the top rant on the Holocaust, which, because of the groundwork he laid and the preparation he gave the audience was received with laughter. The whole point of his gag WAS to go over the top to “get his own back” on censorship. It could have been about any number of subjects. If fundamental Christians had come up to him he might have told a different story or gag (because believe me, this wasn’t just off the cuff, he’s thought about the story here for material). It just HAPPENED it was about Jewish people. The whole build up to the Holocaust rant involved him not, and I repeat NOT being angry at Jews, but being angry at censorship.

    Jesus, get the fucking point!

    And for the people saying some of their family were killed in the Holocaust? Chances are some of EVERYBODY’S family was killed in World War II. The estimates for the amount of Jewish people killed in WWII range from 5 to 7 Million. Thats a lot I hear you say? The estimates for the TOTAL dead ranges from 40 to 70 Million so congratulations… your family probably did have a lot of people close to them die during the war but so did everyone else on the bloody planet. Don’t act like you’ve some God given genetic right to complain.

    This ended up being longer than I meant but ignorance and being overtly PC pisses me off so much. Long story short, if you can’t laugh about serious stuff, life’s gonna feel pretty long and if you get offended over stuff that happened 60+ years ago…. Don’t go see stand-up comedy. Phew, rant over…..


    Very well said, Bahmunt. I’m not a fan of Tommy Tiernan’s, I think there are better comedians around. But having said that, your points are well made. What about Hiroshima? Dresden? etc.etc. So many who died, and some in terrible circumstances. The Jewish people do not have a monopoly on suffering, no matter how appalling the Holocaust was.


    Censorship and political correctness? Censorship is stopping people from being able to speak but from the sound of it those crazy folks weren’t involved in censorship they were involved in feedback, highly negative if Tommy’s reaction is to be believed but still feedback not censorship.

    Censorship would be stopping Bock from posting, or Tommy from speaking. Commenting in response to Bock’s posts even if in the negative and critical is not censorship. Some of youse need to be a little less precious about your ‘words’. As for political correctness, there is a good deal of nonsense out there but what some of ye call political correctness a lot of people used to call simple good manners or tack.

    There are words that Bock uses that I might prefer he didn’t but I’m able to express my opinion on that, see that’s part of free expression people being able to expressing opinions in opposition to each other. That’s part of a civilized society. Now were he to use them in the presence of someone that he knew they would be hurtful to and I happened to be there I’d tell him to cop himself on and if he were to instead jump up and down shouting those words into that person’s face I’d bop him one of the nose. That too is part of being a member of society, knowing that freedom of expression is not just freedom to say whatever you damn well please, wherever and whenever you want.

    So the point you don’t seem to get is that there was no censorship.

    Now does that make Tommy anti-Semitic? I don’t think so but it does, you are to be believed, make him someone who can’t tell the difference between censorship and negative feedback. And he doesn’t appear to be alone in that either.


    I heard him on the radio, I think it was the Ray Darcy show, laughing about a young lad who he was in boarding school with, he said the young lad was very good looking, and “we used to rape him”. I didnt believe he was speaking the truth for a second, but nor was he “in character” in any way. Its not like I didnt know that shock tactics to get publicity are his stock in trade, but I was still quite shocked and very disgusted, it was just the gratuitousness of it combined with (to my taste) the total lack of humour. I’ve wondered since then is he just an obnoxious bastard with an eye for the main chance and zero scruples, or is he a little bit mentally ill as well. I’d be quite pleased to see Tiernan get a good hiding from someone, but no to censorship. I think he has a little bit of ability as a comedian, I’ve one or two laughs from him over the years, but you have to be prepared to endure a lot of dross to get those one or two laughs. Game’s not worth the candle for me.


    I say things like that. In fact, a close female friend of mine told me an appalling tasteless rape joke last week, which I then shared with another woman friend who works as a rape counsellor.


    He tells great jokes about Downs Syndrome children also, fucking hilarious stuff, on our knees laughing…..he’s the best since Bernard Manning I reckon.


    Fuck it Dan, I hope you don’t bop me on the nose for using bad motherfucking language. That would be a complete bastard.


    @Daniel – Maybe censorship was the wrong word to use. It’s close, and was a huge contributing factor in what Tommy was saying but maybe putting it better would be “getting offended” by comedy is just stupid.

    Yes, if you were to walk up to someone on the street and abuse their Religion or race or whatever just because… of course you would be being a dick. The point about stand-up is, you PAY to see the comedian. You EXPECT him to skirt the border of what is OK and acceptable in modern society for the one purpose of making you laugh. The kind of comedy Tommy does would get him punched if he said it in the pub I agree, but it is liberating to see someone ranting in the way he does on stage. Most of the time, simple knob jokes don’t work anymore. You have to bring people out of their comfort zone to make them laugh and that’s what Tommy does very well whether you like it or not.

    And if you don’t like it, don’t pay to see him… but for God’s sake shut the hell up and let the rest of us grownups amuse ourselves as we see fit. Opinions don’t hurt anyone but trying to silence them is dangerous.


    Oh well, that’s Catholics for you. They were the ones who started the whole “Christ-killer” tirade. Hitler was Catholic too, so what’s changed? Sooner or later somebody’s gonna kick his ass and he won’t be making offensive jokes about anyone for awhile.


    Catholic countries like Spain do tend to be more anti-Semetic, in my experience. The Catholic Church also opposed the creation of the State of Israel on the grounds that the Jews had rejected Jesus, and were therefore compelled to wander and be lowly in the world. Vatican radio said Zionism was ‘worse than Nazism’ in 1948 – they were a lot harsher on Zionism than they were on Nazism. But look, the ‘Jew complex’ affects all Europeans, not just Catholics. Its in their mothers milk if you ask me.


    This Jewish kid is a disaster at maths so his parents enrol him in a Catholic school. His maths improve dramatically. How so, ask the parents? Well, he replied, when I saw a guy nailed to a plus sign I knew these guys were fucking serious about the subject.


    Catholic countries like Spain do tend to be more anti-Semetic, in my experience. The Catholic Church also opposed the creation of the State of Israel on the grounds that the Jews had rejected Jesus, and were therefore compelled to wander and be lowly in the world. Vatican radio said Zionism was ‘worse than Nazism’ in 1948 – they were a lot harsher on Zionism than they were on Nazism. But look, the ‘Jew complex’ affects all Europeans, not just Catholics. Its in their mothers milk if you ask me.

    Well when it comes to Nazis, the Vatican know their stuff. In fact I doubt there was any body out side of the Reich high commmand who knew more about Nazism than the Vatican. The knew so much in fact that they also knew how to help them escape after the war.


    Can someone explain why anti-semitism exists at all? I have no doubt that early christians blamed jews for the betyral and death of Jesus but why does it persist to this day. Hitler and Stalin were two leaders with extreme anti semetic views and blamed Jews for the state of their respective economies and societies. Where did this tradional streotype of the Jew as the money hoarder, lender and accumulator come from. Even Shakespear got in on the act. We in Ireland have been largely bereft of exposure to Judaism, why do so many people profess to hate them. You can be anti-Israeli without being anti semetic? Shouldn’t anti-semetic cover muslims as well? Both Jews and Muslims are infact both semite people.


    I don’t know about Stalin being anti-semitic. Many of his associates were Jews. I think he was just a paranoid, equal-opportunity mass-murderer, prepared to stamp out any movement or group he perceived to be a threat.

    Many leading Nazis were Catholic, including Hitler , Goebbels, Kaltenbrunner, Himmler and Heydrich, who chaired the Wannsee conference. Rudolf Höss, the first commandant of Auschwitz was a strict Catholic, and Julius Streicher was raised a Catholic.

    Religious-based anti-Semitism is utterly beyond my understanding, but that’s because I think all religion is nonsense anyway, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

    Racial anti-Semitism is patently absurd, and especially so in the context of the Holocaust, where the Jews were disproportionately influential in European cultural, scientific and intellectual life and if anything were superior to the rest of the population in many ways.

    However, I’ll never shake off the feeling of horror as I stood at the railhead in Birkenau and looked at the results of such ignorance and unthinking hatred.


    Anti-Semitism is an enormous area we could spend a long time talking about. I dislike the term ‘Anti-Semitism’ in a major way (and I’ll explain that later).

    Firstly, I’ll answer the easier part of your question: the image of the Jew as the greedy moneylender, miser, and hoarder. This essentially comes from Medieval Christian society. Most feudal countries forbade Jews to own land, and barred Jews from the professions (law and medicine) as well as the craftsmen’s guilds. So Jews were prevented from tapping the main source of wealth in society: land and agriculture. However, Medieval societies desperately needed credit, and Christians were for the most part forbidden from lending to each other at interest. Jews were exempt from this, so essentially became the only game in town. Christian communities often welcomed Jews when they needed credit, but proved hostile when the loans needed to be paid back. But every city and royal court needed Jewish money, so Jews were permitted to live in separate areas, the ghettos. The Jewish community of Cologne was expelled 10 times in 50 years, but the Jews were always asked to come back as the city needed credit to function. Jews became the first primarily urban people on foot of this. The rules on what Jews could do varied from place to place: in Rome, Jews were forbidden from virtually every economic activity except usury and what we might call the schmatte business (dealing in used clothing) as well as tailoring. In fact, there are only a few thousand Jews left in Rome, but Romans think there are many more, because on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur it is impossible to find a working tailor: they are still almost exclusively Jewish! The regulations had their advantages and disadvantages: Jews grew to be hated, but were needed. The Jewish religion also places huge emphasis on education, so therefore all Jews (boys and girls) were thought to read in a largely illiterate world. Many Christian scholars admired this: one monk remarked how noble it was that all Jewish children were though to read, not primarily for business purposes, but to understand God’s laws. Therefore, when Jews started to be expelled throughout Western Europe in the later Middle Ages (most notably, Spain in 1492) Jews were welcomed in the expanding Polish Empire and Eastern Europe – which was far less developed and where Jewish entrepreneurship, literacy and education were highly welcomed. Jews were needed by the Polish King Kazimierz to run his empire, as they were the only literate people besides Christian monks. Jews became the bankers, accountants and tax collectors of Poland, Lithuania and the Ukraine (as well, interestingly, Jews were given exclusive control over the alcohol industry – the Polish rulers new they just couldn’t leave that in Polish commoners hands). This was a good period economically for the Jews for a while, but caused huge resentment along the local Ukrainians. Eventually, there was a Cossack uprising against the Polish rule – but Jews were particularly singled out for slaughter, and the Poles largely abandoned them. Jews were resented as the greedy capitalists (before there even was such a word as capitalism) and the legacy continues to this day: as Jews, because of the past, became the first globalised people, urbanised people, educated people, and came to prominence in commerce, finance and the professions eventually.


    Whoa, that was a long comment, and I’ll be more brief with the rest. Firstly, I noticed Bock’s comment on Stalin, who was indeed an anti-Semite with a lot of paranoid theories about Jews. Many of Lenin’s ‘Old Bolshevik’ associates were Jews, as many Jews for complex but understandable reasons became attracted to socialism under the Jew-hating Czar. But these Communist Jews were often eager to stamp out Judaism and actually destroy the Jewish people and assimilate them to the point of disappearance. Stalin believed Jews to be ‘rootless cosmopolitans’ who believed nothing, and purged Jews from many positions in the party and other areas. He developed a fierce anti-Zionism, which was either a cover or essential part in his anti-Semitism. He put Zionist activists on sham trials for the murder of Raoul Wallenberg (a hero who saved more Jews than anybody else during the Shoah, but who was for some reason kidnapped by the Russians and never heard from again), and he arrested many Jews as part of the ‘Doctors Plot’ episode, where it was was alleged Jewish doctors were poisoning high-ranking Communists.

    But as for Anti-Semitism in general, its gone through various mutations. Jonathan Sacks, the UK Chief Rabbi, puts it very well:

    ‘In the past Jews were hated because they were rich and because they were poor; because they were capitalists (Marx) and because they were communists (Hitler); because they kept to themselves and because they infiltrated everywhere; because they held tenaciously to a superstitious faith (Voltaire) and because they were rootless cosmopolitans who believed nothing (Stalin).

    Anti-Semitism is not an ideology, a coherent set of beliefs. It is, in fact, an endless stream of contradictions. The best way of understanding it is to see it as a virus. Viruses attack the human body, but the body itself has an immensely sophisticated defense, the human immune system. How then do viruses survive and flourish? By mutating. Anti-Semitism mutates, and in so doing, defeats the immune systems set up by cultures to protect themselves against hatred. There have been three such mutations in the past two thousand years, and we are living through the fourth.

    The first took place with the birth of Christianity. Before then there had been many Hellenistic writers who were hostile to Jews. But they were also dismissive of other non-Hellenistic peoples. The Greeks called them barbarians. There was nothing personal in their attacks on Jews. This was not anti-Semitism. It was xenophobia.

    This changed with Christianity. As was later to happen with Islam, the founders of the new faith, largely based on Judaism itself, believed that Jews would join the new dispensation and were scandalized when they did not. Jews were held guilty of not recognizing — worst still, of being complicit in the death of – the messiah. A strand of Judeophobia entered Christianity in some of its earliest texts, and became a fully-fledged genre, the ‘Adversos Judaeos’ literature, in the days of the Church Fathers. From here on, Jews – not non-Christians in general — became the target of what Jules Isaac called the ‘teaching of contempt’.
    The second mutation began in 1096 when the Crusaders, on their way to conquer Jerusalem, stopped to massacre Jewish communities in Worms, Speyer and Mainz, the first major European pogrom. In 1144 in Norwich there was the first Blood Libel, a myth that still exists today in parts of the Middle East. Religious Judeophobia became demonic. Jews were no longer just the people who rejected Christianity. They began to be seen as a malevolent force, killing children, desecrating the host, poisoning wells and spreading the plague. There were forced conversions, inquisitions, burnings at the stake, staged public disputations, book burnings and expulsions. Europe had become a ‘persecuting society’.

    We can date the third mutation to 1879 when the German journalist Wilhelm Marr coined a new word: anti-Semitism. The fact that he needed to do so tells us that this was a new phenomenon. It emerged in an age of Enlightenment, the secular nation state, liberalism and emancipation. Religious prejudice was deemed to be a thing of the past. The new hatred had therefore to justify itself on quite different grounds, namely race. This was a fateful development, because you can change your religion. You cannot change your race. Christians could work for the conversion of the Jews. Racists could only work for the extermination of the Jews. So the Holocaust was born. Sixty years after the word came the deed.

    Today we are living through the fourth mutation. Unlike its predecessors, the new anti-Semitism focuses not on Judaism as a religion, nor on Jews as a race, but on Jews as a nation. It consists of three propositions. First, alone of the 192 nations making up the United Nations, Jews are not entitled to a state of their own. As Amos Oz noted: in the 1930s, anti-Semites declared, ‘Jews to Palestine’. Today they shout, ‘Jews out of Palestine’. He said: they don’t want us to be there; they don’t want us to be here; they don’t want us to be.

    The second is that Jews or the State of Israel (the terms are often used interchangeably) are responsible for the evils of the world, from AIDS to global warming. All the old anti-Semitic myths have been recycled, from the Blood Libel to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, still a best-seller in many parts of the world. The third is that all Jews are Zionists and therefore legitimate objects of attack. The bomb attacks on synagogues in Istanbul and Djerba, the arson attacks on Jewish schools in Europe, and the almost fatal stabbing of a young yeshiva student on a bus in North London in October 2000, were on Jewish targets, not Israeli ones. The new anti-Semitism is an attack on Jews as a nation seeking to exist as a nation like every other on the face of the earth, with rights of self-governance and self-defense.”

    I hope this clears up a few things, No.8. I dislike the term anti-Semitism because it was coined to refer to a specific ideology of Jew hatred by Wilhelm Marr and the German scientific racists, but has come to refer to all Jew hatred. It was a word meant to refer to Jews alone, but many now claim they are not anti-Semitic (especially when they are talking about Israel) as Arabs are technically Semites (but Arabs were of no concern to Marr). When one looks at early Christian portrayals of Jews, we do not see hooked noses or much in the way of distinct racial features, that arose later. I hope this also explains the relationship between Israel hatred and hatred of Jews in general.


    We’ve had a lot of argument about Israel on this site, and I know you don’t think my criticism of Israeli policy is Israel-hatred or anti-Semitism, but here’s an idea.

    Why don’t you write something on your perception of anti-Semitism, its origins, motivations and implications, and we’ll post it here?

    There’s an offer if you want to take it up.


    Let me see if I am able to write something on the topic I can be satisfied with, and that others might find engaging, and I’ll be glad to contribute it to the site.

    I must say, I agree with what you say here a lot more than I disagree. Your posts on the Irish travelling community, Aosdana (wine and cheese consuming schmucks that just talk about boycotting Israel all day, in my opinion) and others have me nodding enthusiastically in agreement for the most part.

    Plus, we both seem to consume everything Leonard Cohen for vital sustenance. Members of the Cult of Cohen must surely work together?


    Well, I sincerely hope you agree with more than just my rantings about tinkers and luvvies.

    Of course, I’ll continue to criticise Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians even though some people would accuse me of being anti-Semitic for that.

    Anyway, the offer is there. Write something if you wish and we’ll put it up.


    thesystemworks, thank you for your most insightful reply. However , I disagree with your point on the relationship between anti Israel and anti semite. To me they are two very different things. I disagree with many Israeli actions and policies and have many questions about their treatment of Pallestinians, but I am not anti-semetic. I’m sure that I’m not alone.


    Bahmunt “for God’s sake shut the hell up and let the rest of us grownups amuse ourselves as we see fit. Opinions don’t hurt anyone but trying to silence them is dangerous.” I’m sure the irony of telling us that opinions hurt no one and that trying to silence them is dangerous in the sentence immediately after you tell some of us to shut the hell up is lost on you.


    @dude from the Bronx “Oh well, that’s Catholics for you. They were the ones who started the whole “Christ-killer” tirade. Hitler was Catholic too, so what’s changed?” I’m almost certain it was the Christians back before the whole band of brothers in Christ split that worked out the whole “it was the Jews what done it” schtick. Catholicism is not immune from the hatred of others but you’ll find if you do a bit of travelling that a good number of the Scandinavians and many other northern European Christians can be down right deadly at the old anti-Catholic prejudices. For example you have to be a member of the state religion in Norway to be PM or something. Not to mention the brilliant unchristian behaviour to be found in a variety of church organisation on our own fair green isle. And to be all fair and modern about it some Jewish people can be very handy at the old anti-Semitism themselves provided those particular Semites are of the Allah worshipping persuasion.


    Is a Jew who hates Arabs an anti-semite?


    Cheers systemworks, Very interesting. looking forward to that post when you do it.


    Anti Semitism always refers to Jews, generically. Sure, some Arabs are semites
    It’s a bit like Leinster supporters, their a shower of bollocks’ for instance. Sure there are many
    amongst us that have descended from the bollocks tribe. But as my late uncle used
    say, we’re only a bit of a bollocks, not full card carrying bollocks’ as opposed to people living, on, oh, let’s say, the east coast….. Likewise, it is accepted, confirmed even, that Leinster fans, going forward, are bollocks’ in the strictest sense of the word, generically speaking of course.

    So can a Munster bollocks call a Leinster fan a bollocks, with conviction i e, “Your some bollocks”.

    Yes he can, as Obama might say.


    A load of bollocks.


    Exactly, like Tiernan himself


    @Daniel – Of course it wasn’t lost on me you pretentious argument seeker. Surprised it took you so long to cop on to such an obvious oversight. Posted it in haste and noticed the miscalculation the next day.

    Happy that no-one noticed it I thought I got away with it…. But damn you an your need to win a loosing argument you got me fair and square.

    Yes, I think we can all agree that that sentence at the end of a long post was a logical paradox and was evidence of me just being downright lazy with my conclusion. It still doesn’t take away from my previous points (of which you seem to have no rebuttal).

    Look, unlike you, do I actively seek out something that offends me and amuses someone else and seek to defame it just to promote my own self worth? No I do not. This is what I meant by “let the rest of us grownups amuse ourselves as we see fit”. My last statement was made more in frustration that you couldn’t see the reality than anything else.

    But hey, if nothing else, you got me on a logical oversight… Ouch!


    I hate it when that happens.


    The neologism “anti-Semitism” was coined by a German writer and hater of Jews named Wilhelm Marrih in an attempt to replace the word Judenhass (“Jew-hatred”) with a more “scientific” term. His intent was to sanitize and otherwise dress up discourse devoted to defaming Jews. The term “Anti-Semitism” has been accepted and understood to refer specifically to the hatred and hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.

    While Semitic tribes (or Semites) included several groups of nomads and camel pastoralists who spoke related Semitic languages and included Arabs, Aramaeans, Jews, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Abyssinians, and Phoenicians , the word “anti-Semitism” does not consider and include any of these other Semitic groups in its definition.

    Personally, I don’t believe that Tiernan is an anti-Semite or a racist. He is just an insensitive ignorant Irish man. As I wrote previously, I dare Tiernan to take his comedy act to the town of Omagh and joke about the victims of the Omagh bombing, which included Protestants, Catholics, children, tourists and a pregnant woman. Immediately afterwards, he should take his talent to Shankill Road, the predominantly Protestant working-class area of Belfast and likewise make fun of the nine Shankill bomb victims. I think we all know the response he would get in either of these two places.

    I don’t believe the residents of Omagh and Shankill Road, especially the families of the victims, would find Tiernan’s comedy performance entertaining and neither would the majority of Irish people. Lack of artistic talent shouldn’t be confused with humour.

    As a Jew living in Ireland, I just attended one of many November 9th commemorations of Kristallnacht in Germany with my elderly parents and brothers. More than 1,000 synagogues were burned, almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed, cemeteries and schools were vandalized, and 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Remembering Kristallnacht or the Holocaust is just not comical or amusing. All I saw in parent’s eyes were tears.


    I’d agree with you about that. Tiernan was insensitive and ignorant in his remarks, and he displayed little or no understanding of the catastrophe that was inflicted on the European Jews, and therefore on all of humanity.

    However, I have felt from the start that there was no point trying to have a rational discussion about what he said, while there was an equally-ignorant clamour for his head going on.

    Incidentally, in view of your explanation for the origins of the term anti-Semitism, why is such a hateful expression used by Jews?


    But strangely if he had joked about the Cambodian genocide or the native American genocide etc there would be no fuss.


    Since he didn’t joke about those things, it’s impossible to know what would have happened.


    I might be accused here of being pedantic, and i might even be.
    There are certain inflamatory words such as ” holocaust ” and “anti semite ” which have very specific meanings, the “Anti Semite” reference has already been defined, However the word ” Holocaust ” seems to percieved as primarially or only defining the murder of Jews by the Nazi regime.
    Apart from the many “Holocausts” which were decribed as same by historians of the Armenians by the Tuks in WW1 the Chinese by the Japanese, the Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge, for example, The present english usage of the word ” Holocaust ” is now percieved in it’s usage as being wholly in reference to the extermination of Jews by the Nazi’s.
    The specific word dates back to the 14 C in ref to biblical sacrifice, from the greek “Holokauston ” it’s usage broadened through the centuries, by the late 40’s Holocaust began to become more specific due to it’s usage in Israeli translations of the word ” Sho’ah ” , this hebrew word was used throughout history to define assaults on Jews, by the late 40’s it was applied to the Nazi murder of Jews.
    The blending of Holocaust with Sho’ah was first seen in the english translation of the Israeli Declaration of Independence in ’48, other translated works by Yad Vashem throughout the 50’s and in the coverage of Adolf Eichmanns trial in Israel in ’61.
    Many movements in the US, From the tv movie “Holocaust ” through President Carters commission on the Holocaust and the creation of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, served to define the word Holocaust to the annihiation of European Jewry by Nazi’s as the definitive and specific meaning of the word.
    I checked a thesauras and i found the following.
    1. Destruction and devastation, the termination of something by causing so much damage to it that it cannot be repaired or no longer exists.

    2. The mass murder of Jew’s under the German Nazi regime from 1941 to 1945.

    My perception is that there have been many Holocausts throughout history, Bosnia, Kosovo come to mind, were they not Holocausts ? Why when we use that word is it only or at least primarialy in reference to the appalling annihilation of the Jew’s by Nazi’s that is foremost in defining the word ?
    Whereas the comments re shankhill and Omagh have enormous resonance, I don’t find it comparable, and as you replied to William 71, Bock, TT did’nt refer to them either, so it’s impossible to gauge the reaction that may have occured, except in our hearts.


    I am not really qualified to say very much not being Jewish or amusing, I am a somber lapsed Catholic. I do think there is an un spoken (well to some extent) resentment of Jewish people in Western society which is very obviously wrong. But I don’t think Tommy was voicing it, I think he was just trying to parody it, and a bit like Michael whats-his-face from Seinfeld (who incidently is Jewish!), I think he just made a poorly judged joke that just wasn’t thought out and was done in the heat of the moment. Most people tell or at least laugh at racist, crude and offensive jokes that they would’nt dream acknowledge in open society. Everyone is racist to some degree and there is a large amount of acceptable racism (e.g. against the English, French, Travellers) that probably equally deserves to be condemned, but is not. I think that it’s our dealings with other people that define us, not neccesarily the shite that can come out of our mouths sporadically. I do think Tommy lost his touch a long time ago though.

    Regarding the comments about Tommy doing a skit in Omagh or in East Belfast, I’d say the more distant you are from a topic, the easier it is to joke about it, so he probably wouldn’t. As an Irishman, I am ashamed at the fact that most of us southerner’s don’t give a shit about what happened to not alone the Nationalist community in the six counties but the Protestant as well, both sufferred. All because of religion, ethnicity, sock colour, whatever. I think, however, that the six counties, along with Israel/Palestine is an example of how the British Government has fucked up a large portion of the earth.


    True Damo, but Tiernan’s still a cunt, going forward. He lost his touch, which he never had, when he started slagging special needs kids.


    Hello there Mr. Bock.

    You asked me to write something on anti-Semitism way back in October. I did write something, which I felt was unsuitable for this kind of site, which I used instead at a Betar event.

    For Yom HaShoah, which fell this week, I remembered the task and I wrote something else. I wanted to talk to a Holocaust survivor and her grandchild personally on Wednesday to get their opinions before I sent it to you. Its long, but can be cut. You can use whatever you want from it, I don’t mind.

    But first I need to send it to you… Do you mind giving me an e-mail address?


    Comedy is about laughing at someone else’s expense. You cant laugh at Jews, you can’t laugh at special needs. Would that not be discriminating against them? Are we not singling these people out just because that is the way they are? And that cannot be laughed at? This PC bullshit has gone OTT. Anyway, we’ll be sued now for stating fact over fiction! people should be more worried about being called heathens by so called Gods people and not technically being able to refute such a comment without good old Irelands defamation laws. Pog mo thoin.


    tommy tienan s rant was deliberately orchestrated…it was the last part of his talk..and the guy in the mob was a plant…what does that say!!!!!


    “Who the fuck is Tommy Tiernan?” –The rest of the world.


    @secondsout. you’re dead fucking right. No mention of that though by the writer of the article. Conveniently. Tiernan is a fucking ignorant prick,a yobbo,a fucking glorified lager lout and if I’m ever within a yard of the cunt I’ll flatten him because I’ve experience first hand of the heartache that is special needs/autism.

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