Colum Kenny: Accusations of anti-Semitism cover a multitude

Myers’s reference to Jews a gift to people objecting on other grounds to his column

Kevin Myers. “He fashioned a stick with which anyone who disliked his article for other reasons could beat him.” Photograph: RTÉ Radio One/PA Wire

Kevin Myers. “He fashioned a stick with which anyone who disliked his article for other reasons could beat him.” Photograph: RTÉ Radio One/PA Wire

The Irish patriot Michael Davitt wrote: “Where anti-Semitism stands, in fair political combat, in opposition to the foes of nationality . . . or as the assailant of the economic evils of unscrupulous capitalism anywhere, I am resolutely in line with its spirit and programme.”

Remarkably, Davitt wrote this in a book co-published by the American Jewish Publication Society in 1903. Davitt supported Zionism, decrying anti-Semitism in some forms as “a malady laden with the poison of a malignant disease”, yet lapsing into stereotypical statements about Jews.

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