WE do not hold your ordinary person of Chinese origin accountable for the awful things China does to the Uigurs and to dissenters of any kind. We do not believe that the average Russian should be held accountable for the doings of the Russian State, its Novichok, its suppression of independent thought, its murder of journalists. Nor do we interpret criticism of these regimes, well-founded or not, as indicative of hatred of Chinese people, or of Russians.

I am Jewish by birth and by upbringing but live in the belief that whatever Maxine Peake wrote about Israel, its police, its conspiracies, its network of support all over the place, whether factually correct or not, and whatever Rebecca Long-Bailey retweeted, is nothing whatsoever to do with me. But Sir Keir Starmer and others who believe that such comments are anti-Semitic are implying that because of being Jewish, I am somehow implicated. Indeed the belief that Jews in general are somehow associated with Israel and are under attack if the actions of the Israeli State are attacked is itself anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitic and racist, because it implies that the ethnicity of someone Jewish, not their citizenship, or their own views on the world is their defining characteristic, and that this ethnicity necessarily associates them with Israel.

So, Sir Keir, please desist: I do not want whatever Israel and its agents are up to be laid at my door.

I would add that those who most detest some of what Israel is up to, such as Maxine Peake, are the least likely to be at all racist in outlook. Whereas at the opposite pole many of those who blindly support Israel in everything it does, such as the Christian Right in the US, will include many who are truly racist and anti-Semitic in outlook, and detest Jews as such.

Denis Rutovitz, Edinburgh EH5.

MAXINE Peake is widely reported as making a claim that the Israeli Secret Service taught American police the tactic of kneeling on a victim's neck.

Now, this claim is unsubstantiated, as far as I can see, and directed at an Israeli institution, but how is it anti-Semitic?

The Israeli secret service is Jewish, of course, but is her claim an attack on Jewry in general, or on the Israeli state that might have sanctioned such a barbarous policy of suffocating someone in order to subdue them?

I find the blurring between what is Jewish and what is Israeli deeply concerning. Are we not allowed to criticise anything the Israeli state might endorse? Are we not allowed, for example, to criticise Israeli settlement expansion into the West Bank as de facto occupation of territory that is not theirs? Are we not allowed to even suggest that Israeli policy towards Palestinians might have unpleasant similarities with South-African apartheid? Is this anti-Semitic?

The debate about what constitutes anti-Semitism has long been getting out of hand.

Trevor Rigg, Edinburgh EH10.