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McCann fails to understand anti-Semitism

It is heartening to read that Eamonn McCann (Comment, April 13) recognises that, "Jews, in Israel or anywhere, have a right to feel concerned when a public figure in Germany presumes to lecture them about violence".

But his comment that, "The last time I mentioned that some of my best friends are anti-Zionist Jews, I was accused of anti-Semitism" because "the illogicality and unfairness (of this accusation) made (him) fume" betrays a lack of understanding of the nature of anti-Semitic attitudes.

If the word "anti-Zionist" had been deleted he would be left with the commonplace defence offered by almost every anti-Semite, while his throwaway comment that American-Jewish academic Norman Finkelstein's condemnation of "the use of the genocide to bolster and justify the racist state" suggests that he may not be entirely clear of such sentiments.

I write as an anti-Zionist Jew, but I probably differ fundamentally from the friends to whom Eamonn McCann refers.

Their opposition to Zionism, I suspect, is because it is too Jewish, whereas mine is because it is not Jewish enough.

MARTIN D STERN

Salford, Greater Manchester

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