Tuesday 12 December 2017

The Muddle East

• While Dermot Keegan ('The Muddle East', October 29) may be correct in theory that it is untrue that "being opposed to the policies and actions of the government of Israel makes one 'anti-Semitic'", his letter shows the converse is certainly possible.

The phrase "anti-Semitism" was created by an anti-Semite, Wilhelm Marr (1819-1904), to replace the German word Judenhass (Jew hatred) with a term that would make Jew haters sound less vulgar.

It conveys the impression that anti-Semites oppose those speaking Semitic languages, while their venom is directed solely against Jews. This is clearly demonstrated in its use by the Nazis in reference to European Jews, virtually none of whom spoke a Semitic language. To claim otherwise is typical of the sort of smokescreen set up by pro-Arab opponents of Israel.

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