Semi-semitic?

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Alan Massie (Perspective, 21 January) is to be congratulated both for raising a thorny topic and for ably dealing with it.

May I add that the term anti-semitism owes its confusion to Saussurean linguistic theory which states, as I understand, that the term applied to an entity in this case “harm to and speaking against Jews” may contain a different meaning.

Recently George Galloway slithered out of a charge of antisemitism by pointing out that Arabs were also semites. True, but the term was only coined in the 19th century when it was applied exclusively to Jews.

Being anti-Jewish has bad press. But being anti-Israel does not. I recently asked a prominent Presbyterian evangelical cleric if he was as antisemitic as reported. An unholy scowl disfigured the preachery face and he muttered: “State of Israel”.

The scowl darkened at the suggestion that we all, being mere humans, shared Israeli faults. So now it seems criticism of Israel is justified by changing the entity so that it is no longer a semitic issue.

It simply isn’t the case that 
reduced focus of Christian ministers on the vital Old Testament is at the root of the problem, because misinterpretation of the Book may exist even among the anointed.

In any case, the bulk of Scots are secular and have their opinions moulded by political correctness. Perhaps checking up on facts has been put on the back-burner.

Margaret E Salmond

Dunbar Street

Aberdeen