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Israel is a victim of anti-Semitism

Madam -- The article by Nicky Larkin (Sunday Independent, March 11) contains many insights into the irrationality and bias that underlies the one-sided anti-Israel attitude of many in this country. That some people can be so blinkered and extreme in their views suggests that the reasons for this may be more than a mere lack of knowledge in today's world of easily accessible information on the long-standing Middle East conflict via the internet.

While many of those who are anti-Israel are not anti-Semitic in any way, at the same time it is likely that some are drawn to the anti-Israel side simply because they already harbour a general prejudice against Jews.

They do the Palestinians no favours at all in helping them rightfully to achieve statehood one day, as it can taint them also with the dirty brush of anti-Semitism.

The true basis for a just solution to this conflict is mutual respect and recognition of the others' rights. Surely both Semitic peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, deserve at least this?

Ivor Shorts

Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

Always peddling left-wing line

Madam -- It was a relief to see Nicky Larkin's article expressing a perspective sympathetic to Israel as a country under siege -- a feature all too rare in Irish media -- as opposed to the constant Palestinian narrative peddled by the left, irrespective of whatever heinous acts of terrorism Palestinians perpetrate. Equally, they fail to point out that while Israel is a liberal democracy, the Islamist Hamas regime is not. Perhaps that is the problem -- they hold each accountable only to their own individual standards.

John McGrath,

Cappawhite, Co Tipperary

More complex than the North

Madam -- Nicky Larkin's article reminded me of Leon Uris's excellent book Exodus. The Middle East problem and the Nineties strife in the old Yugoslavia are both 1,000 times more complex than the Northern Ireland situation. The first step to a realistic solution to the Palestinian question would be a return to pre-1967 borders. But I see no chance of that happening.

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Jerry Daly,

Tralee, Co Kerry

Proud to be part of arts boycott

Madam -- I wish to address several of the points Nicky Larkin has made.

It is incorrect to state that Aosdana signed up to the artists' boycott on Israel; it did not. Many artists, as individuals, signed the charter. Some are members of Aosdana but the majority are not. I am proud to be a part of that boycott. As artists we are free-thinking, thankfully!

I am in touch with many artists across the Middle East, including Israel. All of them support our boycott. They simply want peace with justice and equality. Mr Larkin's assumption that we signed up to further our careers is outrageous and insulting.

Felim Egan,

Hanover Dock, Dublin 2

Sympathy for the big bombers

Madam -- Nicky Larkin attacked fellow filmmakers like me who are critical of Israel and who have signed the Irish Palestine Solidarity Committee's pledge against supporting Israeli-funded cultural events. Reading his argument that the Israeli military are victims, traumatised by drug-fuelled suicide bombers from Gaza, I thought of a scene from Pontecorvo's film Battle of Algiers.

A French officer takes time out from roughing up an Arab FLN member in a police cell. He demands that the "terrorist" justify bombing cafes in Algiers. "Okay" says the FLN fighter, "give us planes and we'll bomb Paris".

It's a shame, but I believe that if the Palestinians had jet bombers, more people, even Nicky maybe, might be more sympathetic to their plight.

Steve Woods,

Broadstone, Dublin 7

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