Myers’ defence of Israel is not enough

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Writing in the News Letter’s letters page last week, Tom Carew condemned Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and me personally for taking a firm stand against Kevin Myers (Disturbing questions arise over CAA calls for Kevin Myers to be dismissed, August 10)

Myers had claimed in his Sunday Times column that Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman are paid more than many of their female BBC colleagues because “Jews are not generally noted for their insistence on selling their talent for the lowest possible price”

Though Myers insists it was a compliment, whatever his intention, it was an incarnation of the same antisemitic trope about Jews and money that has been used against Jews ever since the Church decided that amongst Jesus and his disciples (all Jews), only Judas, who supposedly betrayed Jesus for a bribe, was truly representative of Jewish ‘traits’.

Myers has also previously belittled Holocaust denial, raged against Africa for giving the world “nothing but AIDS” and had to apologise for writing that children of single mothers are “bastards”.

Yet amongst his many tirades, Myers occasionally writes in defence of Israel (a rarity in Ireland), and that, say some in Ireland, should be enough to exonerate him.

The answer to those who debase themselves with such an argument is that defenders of Israel need to exercise some self respect when choosing their friends.

We should not want friends who speak in such terms.

The News Letter should also learn the lesson learned by the Sunday Times: despite his doubtless good work for the Ireland-Israel Friendship League, Tom Carew’s Facebook posts reveal that he too expresses himself in terms that are rather unpleasant, accusing CAA of bringing “shame on their tradition”, of orchestrating a “nasty and sinister conspiracy” and of being “scum” on a par with “those who try to slaughter Jews”.

No wonder he finds Myers’ writing unproblematic.

Gideon Falter, Chairman, Campaign Against Antisemitism