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Anti-semite or anti-Zion

I do not agree with Kate Linnegar’s political views but I do defend her right to hold those views and to express them (SA 25 April).

I believe she is perfectly entitled to register her opinion on the actions of the Government of Israel, although it is insensitive to contrast them with the actions of the Nazi regime.

The original definition of anti-Semitism has been amended to such a degree that the original concept of ill feeling toward Semites (people who speak a Semitic language, which would include Jews and Arabs) has been appropriated by the Jewish community and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (in 2016) to include criticism of the State of Israel.

The new non-legally binding definition creates an interesting situation where expressing a negative view on a particular country and it’s ideology (Israel and Zionism) or religion (Judaism) can result in charges of anti-Semitism being brought against the perpetrator of such views.

The definition favoured by the IHRA is not applied in respect of criticism of (say) the USA and capitalism, as to speak against the USA and its ideology isn’t considered anti-Semitic, indeed it’s considered fair game.

Thus when a particular grouping refers to the USA as The Great Satan, we laugh and think unkind things about the speaker. We don’t ask the world forum to amend definitions in order to protect American sensibilities. Clearly the State of Israel is a country – and to suggest otherwise is the stuff of nonsense. However, for someone to hold the view that the creation of the State of Israel should never have been allowed in the first place is but a point of view to which a person or persons is perfectly entitled to hold.

What no one has the right to do is take unlawful action to eliminate or bring down the legal entity which exists.

Kate claims to have developed “a deeper understanding about anti-Semitism” and I’m sure that is true – indeed I think it’s the case that we are all discovering something new about anti-Semitism as it quietly morphs into something far more than its original definition.

Des Morgan, Caraway Drive

A change of mind

It appears to be perfectly reasonable for elected Labour Councillors to change their minds and morph overnight into Conservatives (Courtliff EA Friday)

Could someone asked David Renard, Justin Tomlinson, and other hardline Brexit supporters, if the same opportunity to change our minds could be afforded to us please.

John Stooke, Havisham Drive

Political cave-in

How sad to see my local Labour Party parliamentary candidate caving in to the pro-Israel lobby and their bogus campaign against anti-semitism.

As a person of Jewish descent (my mother was 12 when she and her siblings managed to leave Vienna in 1938) I abhor the behaviour of successive right-wing Israeli governments. Being anti-Israel/anti-Zionist is not being anti-Jewish, any more than being anti-Nazi means being anti-German, or deploring Trump makes you anti-American.

Since its inception lsrael has been supported financially, militarily and diplomatically by our government and its allies, which gives us a responsibility to speak out.

Palestinians have suffered 70 years of ethnic cleansing, expropriation, assassination, brutal military aggression and daily harassment and humiliation. The perpetrators need to be opposed and condemned, not pandered to.

Martin Topping, Lyddon Way, Swindon

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