Ron Kirby (Letters, May 8) raises some important issues regarding anti-Semitism and racism generally.

It is absolutely right that the Labour Party should deal swiftly with the allegations to which Mr Kirby refers but, as we don’t know the evidence, it is not right to assume, as he does, the guilt of those charged. 

There are real problems about legitimate opposition to or criticism of Zionism which is often confused with anti-Jewishness. 

This might be a defence available to at least some of those charged.

Moreover, Mr Kirby, when he writes that people “should be admiring the Jewish people” unwittingly (and with the best intentions), reveals one of our problems when dealing with many forms of racism and prejudice generally.

To consider any individuals on the basis of their perceived membership of a group, rather than as individuals, is to make prejudicial assumptions. 

There are, of course, many Jews whose accomplishments, past and present, are to be admired. 

There are, also, as with any other national or ethnic group, many who evoke the opposite reaction.

Let’s, please, stop judging people according to their nationality, race, skin-colour, religion, social class, or any other group characteristic. 

A favourable prejudice is still a prejudice, and encourages others to make an equally prejudiced but hostile response.

Barry Tempest
Romulus Close,