C Badenoch (Letters, 12 August) is quite correct that “The label of “anti-Semitism” surely cannot be applied to any rational criticism of the Israeli state, otherwise no distinguishing or opposing view can ever be made of that state”.
The main problem is not with “rational criticism” by individuals but the way Israel seems to be singled out in what appears to be a deliberately organised manner by particular groups.
Every action by Israel, or even private Israelis, is construed by them in the worst possible light and any facts that might contradict them tend to be ignored.
An example is the burning to death in his home of a Palestinian toddler last week, a heinous crime which I condemn unreservedly.
However, the rush to blame it on “Jewish extremists”, when there is strong evidence that it might have been part of a long-standing clan feud in the village, is typical.
On the other hand, Palestinian activities, such as the daily targeting of cars by youths throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, are whitewashed as “resistance to the illegal occupation”, even though they also have resulted in numerous fatalities.
This extreme one-sidedness is the basic reason why much criticism of Israel is perceived as “anti-Semitism” despite such mealy-mouthed disclaimers as “that any intelligent follower of Jewry, or a lawyer, to say nothing of an Israeli, would long ago have distinguished between the respected tenets of Jewish religion and the somewhat doubtful current machinations of the Israeli state”.
Martin D Stern