History lessons 2

July 11, 2003

David Cesarani ("Face has changed but fear remains", THES, June ) compares the English press reaction to Jewish immigration in the early 20th century to today's scapegoating of Muslim communities. But he displays a tendency to reproduce some of the stereotyping of the time.

In an effort to distance the "lively exile political life" from "extremists", Cesarani joins the "game of playing off 'moderates' against 'extremists"'. His lack of acknowledgement of the revolutionary movements of the time (other than as "extremists" and "terrorists") leads him to the conclusion, in a seemingly desperate seeking of approval, that "the mass of the Jewish population in Britain was never involved in leftwing terrorism".

Maybe not, but a substantial number would have considered themselves revolutionary. He would do well to read the memoirs of Rudolf Rocker, The London Years, for starters.

Cahal McLaughlin
Royal Holloway, University of London

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