SIR – Karl Martin, in his letter ‘Defending free exchange of information,’ criticised Ronit Lentin’s letter exposing Israel’s racism, crimes against humanity and illegality of settlements, etc not by challenging her analysis, but by challenging her remaining as a citizen of Israel while expressing such views.
The irony is complete in that Martin had pointed to the recent call for ‘The free exchange of information and ideas,’ which has been signed by many popular authors and personalities.
Surely he misses the point completely in that Lentin’s letter is indeed the lifeblood of a liberal society in which such crimes are exposed to ridicule and, instead of attacking her, he should have expressed his opposing views and backed them up with pertinent facts.
To be a citizen of a country does not imply that you agree with its agenda or that criticism of it is disloyal. Those who most care are those who speak out and challenge the status quo of inequality and inhumanity.
The free exchange of views is not a blank cheque however for racism, sectarianism and hate speech such as the Maerton Davis letter published here some weeks ago and rightfully condemned. Martin compared Israel to Munster, erroneously in that, unlike Munster, Israel has no defined or internationally-disputed borders.
Munster, on the other hand, has a great rugby team already despite only having a quarter of Israel’s population and Minister Simon Coveney insists that we have no intention of invading other provinces for land theft or annexation as Israel threatens to do in the Palestinian West Bank.
Thankfully here in Munster we do not have discriminatory laws favouring one race or religion and we long ago got rid of military occupation by a foreign power such as Palestinians suffer under today.
We look to Ireland’s membership of the UN Security Council with the hope that Ireland contributes to a peaceful end to Palestinian occupation and oppression and with recognised and secure Israeli borders.