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Anti-semitism long predates Israel conflict

Charlie Murphy’s response to my condemnation of rising anti-Semitism is sad, but unsurprising (Letters, Irish Examiner, March 3).

Mr Murphy suggests that I am “in denial about the link between this increase in prejudice and Israel’s wanton human rights abuses”. This is the classic reaction of an anti-Israel zealot.

My letter highlighted the reflexive response of a large group in society whose worldview is anti-Semitic in thought and action. These people have no understanding of Israel’s role in global affairs. Their pejorative epithets are simply degrading insults.

Moreover, if Mr Murphy believes this drunken, aggressive group of so-called West Ham fans was protesting Israel’s actions in Gaza, then it is he who ‘has a very limited view of anti-Jewish prejudice’.

This type of anti-Semitism existed long before the foundation of Israel, in 1948. It has existed since the Jewish/Christian split in the first century CE., and is the first prejudice that tyrants, from King Philip Augustus of France 1180-1223 to Hitler in Nazi Germany, seek to awake and exploit.

My point was that this ancient hatred has never entirely disappeared; it has re-emerged periodically throughout the centuries, more often than not in times of economic and social uncertainty.

These are the precursors of the periodic anti-Semitic upsurges, rather than Mr Murphy’s simplistic anti-Israel bias, which is a very recent factor in the ancient virus of Jewish hatred.

Dr Kevin McCarthy,


Co Cork


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