A leading Jewish organisation has come to the defence of embattled columnist Kevin Myers.
aurice Cohen, chair of the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland, issued a statement last night denying that Mr Myers is anti-Semitic - despite the controversial column in the 'Sunday Times' that cost him his job.
Mr Cohen said that "branding Kevin Myers as either an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier is an absolute distortion of the facts".
"More than any other Irish journalist, he has written columns about details of the Holocaust over the last three decades that would not otherwise have been known by a substantial Irish audience," he wrote.
"It is understandable that there is a strong response to, and rejection of, Kevin Myers' article but it is wrong that misconceptions and misinformation be circulated about his previous writings."
Mr Cohen, however, did acknowledge that "Kevin ought to have known that his bringing the religion of the two BBC presenters into his writings on Sunday would cause concern and upset and that it was both unnecessary and bound to be misunderstood".
But he added: "The larger picture is that Kevin, who up until now was a respected columnist, has a particular curmudgeonly, cranky, idiosyncratic style.
"We, who have been reading Kevin's work over many years and those who know him personally, know that while this was a real error of judgement on his part, also know that he is not an anti-Semite."