I AM very glad that Andrew Fraser (Letters, July 17) has asked the question that has long worried me. As someone who has had Jewish friends throughout a long life, ever since my parents befriended a couple of young Jewish refugee musicians during the war, I have never treated any of them any differently from any other friends. I have, however, found myself very much out of sympathy with current attitudes and events.

READ MORE: Letters, July 17

I well remember, as a student, seeing the film Exodus and leaving the cinema with the feeling that at last justice had been done for Jewish people. There was almost universal satisfaction that their persecution and suffering had ended and they now had a home in which to live in peace. Where has that worldwide support gone, that anti-semitism can rear its ugly head again?

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Mr Fraser is quite right: criticism of the Israeli Government is now pounced on as anti-semitic. Surely we ought to be asking what has changed attitudes? For myself, I have never understood why those who suffered such dire persecution and earned the support of the civilised world should have forfeited that support through their persecution, in turn, of those displaced by the righting of those earlier wrongs.

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Were the Jewish people not forcibly removed from homes and livelihoods? Did they not face overwhelming force and violence, and attempts to destroy their religion, culture and identity? And we fought for their right to live in safety and peace. Yet they now deal out the same to the Palestinians, who had to give up homes and land in traditional areas and are now corralled behind a wall. Did the Jews not develop hatred of their oppressors and a desperation to hit back? Yet now they create these same feelings in the Palestinians by their treatment of them. Does the Israeli Government not realise that violence only engenders violence, and the only solution has to be understanding and the hand of friendship?

Unfortunately we have to accept that, as with so many trouble-spots where Britain held sway and imposed its will and way of life, the primary cause of this situation lies in the decision to grant the Jewish people the homeland they wanted and deserved, without creating any stable environment and viable future for the displaced. Surely, therefore, we should be criticising Israeli Government actions that exacerbate hostility, which in fact would be supporting the Jewish people to be able to live in peace in their homeland, with peaceful Palestinian neighbours. There is no anti-semitism in this stance.

L McGregor

I TOTALLY agree with Andrew M Fraser that being critical of the Israeli State is not in any way being anti-Semitic.

I am a retired geophysical technician and during my 35 years working in Glasgow University I met, worked with and became close friends with many students from different countries and religions. Therefore, I also do not consider myself as being anti-semitic.

However, I have been very critical of Israel in the way the state has treated the Palestinians for many years. Bulldozing their homes, driving them from their land, mistreating their people, using excessive violence against any protestor, reacting to stone throwing by firing live ammunition and tear gas and carrying out unnecessary beatings.

I think that the loss of any human life is a great tragedy but I wonder how many Palestinians have been killed during protests compared to Israelis?

Robert Cumberland

I RECOGNISE the anguish that Vonny LeClerc feels (Trying to be heard as a Jew feels like a futile fight, July 16). I too have Jewish ancestry (with both paternal grandparents murdered by the Nazis) but I did not have a Jewish upbringing. My father never told me about his parents’ fate until I was 14.

READ MORE: Trying to be heard as a Jew feels like a futile fight

We were brought up to despise racism and racists both in Britain and abroad (principally the southern USA and the apartheid regime in South Africa).

When, as a teenager, I mentioned Israel’s refusal to treat the expelled Palestinians reasonably, he thought long and hard before admitting that he felt it was a case of the oppressed (Jews) learning from and becoming in their turn the oppressors. Coming from his background, he understood the motivation behind the founders of Israel but could not justify the methods and policies used to establish and maintain that state.

I can well imagine that the atmosphere at some student or Labour Party meetings can be quite charged if Labour Friends of Israel (whether they are Jews or non-Jews) speak out to defend Israel in the context of the Gaza shootings or actions in the West Bank.

I would hope that any ill-considered racial-stereotyping insults uttered in anger in such meetings would be promptly apologised for and withdrawn, with the matter closed at that.

If there is online racist abuse by a party member, that is a matter that needs urgent and appropriate action by the party or even the police, as that is pre-meditated.

Regrettably the majority of the Jewish community in the UK and all the main political parties (including the SNP) have united behind the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism which includes “characterisation of a state of Israel as a racist endeavour”. That has been taken by some as justification for demonising anyone who attacks the actions or policies of the Netanyahu government. Blairites are using it as a stick with which to beat Corbyn supporters (who naturally tend to support the cause of the long-suffering Palestinians).

Corbyn and other leading left Labourites have tried to avoid the issue by playing it down and making concessions on the IHRA definition. That has only demoralised Momentum members and encouraged the Blairites.

Margaret Hodge MP gets away with accusing Corbyn himself of being a racist which is plainly false.

I understand that many Jewish people tend instinctively to back Israel because of the repression and discrimination that Jews have suffered for centuries in so many countries. The left in Scotland and Britain needs to engage with them sensitively to talk about the actions of the Israeli Government, the Israeli Defence Forces and the extremist settlers in the West Bank.

John Dennis