To the Editor:
Re “Jews in a Whisper” (column, Aug. 21):
Roger Cohen’s acute depiction of the perpetuation of British anti-Semitism recalls the description of it in “Trials of the Diaspora,” Anthony Julius’s epic study of the topic.
“It is not Jew-hatred that we must write of,” Mr. Julius concludes, “but Jew-distrust ... it is a story of snub and insult, sly whisper and innuendo, deceit and self-deception.”
But is there not more than a touch of self-deception in Mr. Cohen’s insistence that “the task” — apparently, the only task — of diaspora Jews is to condemn the “colonization of Palestinians in the West Bank”?
Even if one shares, as I do, Mr. Cohen’s concerns about the settlements, I would have thought that if diaspora Jews or others were being assigned tasks vis-à-vis Israel, a prime one would be to respond to the torrent of calumny, one-sided and often false, that is directed at that nation on the basis of supposed standards that are applied to no other nation.
New York, Aug. 21, 2011

The writer, a First Amendment lawyer, has represented The New York Times.
To the Editor:
When Roger Cohen suggests that the lesson Jews should take from British class consciousness and anti-Semitism is for Israel to end the “colonization” of the West Bank, he mimics the bigotry he is trying to expose. Does Mr. Cohen believe that the British will stop whispering when the Israelis stop building settlements?
Anti-Semitism, like other forms of bigotry, is based not on what people do, but on who they are. To suggest otherwise is to blame the victim and ignore history.
Lincolnshire, Ill., Aug. 21, 2011

The writer is communications director of Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs, a bipartisan political action committee dedicated to, among others, the United States-Israel relationship.
To the Editor:
Roger Cohen says Jews should know better: “The lesson is clear: Jews, with their history, cannot become the systematic oppressors of another people.” His reference to the plight of the Palestinians is offensive: blaming Israel. He should know better!
In 1993, Israel gave the Palestinians a chance to have their own country with the Oslo Accords. The Palestinians responded with suicide bombings and terror. Israel followed with offers in 2000 and 2008. Palestinians walked away without a counteroffer.
Since Israel won the West Bank from Jordan, the Palestinians’ life expectancy has increased, their infant mortality has been reduced, and their economy has prospered. If any fingers need to be pointed, they should be at the Palestinian leadership.
Potomac, Md., Aug. 21, 2011
To the Editor:
While I applaud Roger Cohen’s call for diaspora Jews to “be vociferous in their insistence that continued colonization of Palestinians in the West Bank” must end, I take issue with his opposition to “those who, ignoring sinister historical echoes, propose ostracizing Israeli academics and embrace an anti-Zionism that flirts with anti-Semitism.” The movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions as a means to press Israel to respect human rights and international law is very specific in not targeting individual Israeli academics, but rather institutions that collaborate with the Israeli colonial enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The conflation of criticism of Israel, or Zionism, with anti-Semitism is the first refuge of the defenders of Israel right or wrong, and is belied by the active involvement of Jews in the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
Cambridge, Mass., Aug. 21, 2011

The writer is a member of the steering committee of American Jews for a Just Peace, Boston.