As Labour’s national executive committee prepares to debate whether to adopt the IHRA code with all its examples, readers respond to the ongoing crisis
Benedict Birnberg’s roseate view of Jeremy Corbyn’s attempts to grapple with Israel-Palestine relations (Letters, 31 August) as coloured by the harmonious relationship Birnberg’s forebears enjoyed with their Arab neighbours is understandable, but naive. One of the (many) vivid accounts that remain with me after 10 years of working with a charity trying to give a voice to survivors of torture is that of a Rwandan Tutsi woman whose family members were massacred in front of her by the Interahamwe. It was her Hutu neighbours who led the militia to the front door – people with whom relations had been cordial, indeed friendly, until Hutu extremists seized power. Her father had even driven the mother of the house to hospital when she was in labour.
Many Israeli policies are abhorrent, not least the continuous building of settlements after the 1991 Middle East peace conference in Madrid which scuppered any real chance of a subsequent deal. Such activities, however, are more than eclipsed by the existential threat – frequently voiced – that Israel faces from other countries in the region it shares. The succour that Corbyn has offered to those intent on cloaking such a threat with a respectable face is evidence of a gullibility that is beginning to bite.
Chichester, West Sussex
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