The Spectator

Letters | 31 January 2009

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

Israel fuels anti-Semitism

Sir: I am a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians and have participated in every one of the national demonstrations against Israel’s brutal onslaught against Gaza. I have never heard the slogans ‘Hamas, Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas’ and ‘Death to the Jews’ that Douglas Davis (‘The terrible warning of a Holocaust survivor’, 24 January) claims are being chanted on these marches. I know that the stewards have strict orders to clamp down on any expression of anti-Semitism.

Like the majority of the demonstrators, I am not a supporter of Hamas. But though the Hamas Charter is indeed appallingly anti-Semitic, it played no part in Hamas’s election campaign, and the best way to ensure that Hamas repudiates it is to draw it into a genuine peace process. Hamas has already recognised Israel’s de facto right to exist by saying it is willing to accept a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and has offered Israel a long-lasting hudna, or truce. Hamas expressed willingness to extend the recent ceasefire (which Israel broke) if Israel would agree to lift the blockade.

The recent Israeli massacre of Gazan civilians (two thirds of the dead were civilians) has only increased Hamas’s popularity and is not likely to make them any less anti-Semitic. Similarly, though any expression of anti-Semitism is of course to be condemned, it is inevitable that Israel’s actions have fuelled Muslim anti-Semitism, which is mainly political in origin, since Islam, unlike Christianity, does not have a tradition of hatred of Jews. Israel’s atrocities also give encouragement to the re-emergence of long-dormant European Christian anti-Semitism.

If Jews really want to reduce anti-Semitism, they should speak out to change Israel’s destructive and self-destructive policies.

Deborah Maccoby
London E5

The EU is toothless

Sir: Fraser Nelson is wrong to say that Brussels ‘ties the hands of British prime ministers’ (Politics, 24 January).

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