I refer to Julie Nathan’s piece on anti-Semitism in Australia; it appears that the majority of incidents of anti-Semitism are random acts of casual rudeness committed on an opportunistic basis (“Attacks on Jews a threat to all society”, 27/11). It would not surprise me if Christian churchgoers suffer in a similar way.

I agree with Nathan that institutional anti-Semitism is increasing, but in my opinion the shift in position of the Labor Party in a bid to appease its Muslim constituency is far more serious than the noisy posturing of a tiny fringe group.

The best way to counter anti-Semitism is to encourage free speech, not to seek to suppress unpleasant or hurtful speech. That way, the rudeness documented in Nathan’s report can be countered by argument and social opprobrium.

If it is made illegal to be rude to certain groups, as our laws are tending to do, such speech will simply go underground, and possibly become violent in the future.

Paul Williams, Mt Barker, SA (The Australian)

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