Kerry school denies anti-Semitism claim

Sat, Feb 2, 2013, 00:00

Sir, – There is no doubt but that Irish opinion in general is more sympathetic to Palestinian grievances than to Israeli fears. But to interpret that as based on anti-Semitism rather than an idealistic, but partly naive, sympathy with third-world causes is unwarranted (“School rejects Israeli journalist’s anti-Semitism claim”, Home News, January 31st).

To select the remarks of a few secondary students in Cahersiveen to develop the charge of Irish anti-Semitism is especially inappropriate, particularly in view of the heroic historic role of such Cahersiveen area figures as Daniel O’Connell, who promoted the political rights of Jews while in parliament in the 19th century, and Msgr Hugh O’Flaherty, who saved great numbers of Jews while serving in the Vatican during the second World War.

I find it hard to believe that 21st-century Irish youngsters, whose inattentiveness to religious concerns has been noted by observers (regretfully by many), would use the medieval notion of Jewish culpability for the crucifixion, as grounds for their pro-Palestinian position. – Yours, etc,

JOHN P McCARTHY, PhD,

Prof Emeritus of History,

Fordham University,

New York,

US.