January 28 Letters: No room for complacency on anti-Semitism

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From: Martin D Stern, Hanover Gardens, Salford.

WHILE I would agree with Paul Elmsley (The Yorkshire Post, January 23) that British people are not in general anti-Semitic, there is no room for complacency – given England’s history as the first country to totally expel its Jews (1290).

Also the first occurrence of the Blood Libel, the claim that Jews killed non-Jewish children in order to use their blood for manufacturing matsot (unleavened bread eaten at Passover), was in Norwich (1144).

Anti-Semitism, however, has a chimera of self-justifications, such as financial oppression, exemplified in English literature by Shylock and Fagin, and Canon Michael Storey’s comment that “Jews... steal land from their Muslim neighbours”.

This exhibits its most recent version – blaming Jews for Israeli activities – as does Mr Elmsley’s comment “that any anti-Semitic feelings and statements exist because of Israel and the right-wing Government who carry out such policies as the genocide in the Gaza Strip”. The latter is particularly obtuse considering Gaza’s rapid population growth, a consequence of health measures introduced by Israel from 1967 to 2005. However, anti-Semites never allow facts to interfere with their prejudices and, if one “reason” is discredited, they find some alternative explanation.