Arthur Griffith and anti-Semitism

Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2017), Letters, Uncategorized, Volume 25

Sir,—Though I question the oft-stated accusation that Arthur Griffith was anti-Semitic, D.R. O’Connor Lysaght appears initially almost magnanimous in his response to Colum Kenny’s letter (HI 24.6, Nov./Dec. 2016) on Arthur Griffith and anti-Semitism by saying that ‘it is possible, certainly, to accept that Griffith’s anti-Semitism diminished as he grew older’ (HI 25.1, Jan./Feb. 2017). However, he then makes the grave accusation that Griffith was not ‘working class’ because he was a tradesman and inimical to that paragon of moderation and reason, the divisive Jim Larkin. To cap it all, he then, while recognising that Griffith and James Connolly were friends, envisages that the guns of the Citizen Army would have to be aimed at Griffith when the hour was right. This type of criticism indicates why I believe that, despite Arthur Griffith bequeathing a state to the Irish people, his best chance of remembrance is in the honour James Joyce bestows on him by featuring him and his work throughout Ulysses, as well as Ezra Pound featuring him in The Cantos.—Yours etc.,

ANTHONY J. JORDAN

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