Little in Carolyne Davis's response to me (Letters, September 7) bore any connection to what I had written. Indeed, much of it was a distortion of my words.

I said I was equally appalled by two things: The "despicable conduct" of our Prime Minister and "Israel's unethical and uncivilised conduct". Her logic would make me as anti-British as she believes me to be anti-Semitic.

I made no distinction between the Jews of Israel and those of the Diaspora. I distinguished between the state of Israel and Jews. For her, condemnation of the former equals hatred of the latter.

Surely she will allow me to be critical of a country's policies without bearing any hatred towards the ordinary people of that country?

The only concession I am willing to make to Ms Davis relates to the situation in Lebanon.

From 2000 onwards, the West has offered fine words about a burgeoning democracy in that country, but nothing else - one of the consequences of which has been to allow Hezbollah to grow in power, unchecked by the weak Lebanese government.

Had the West been more evenhanded in its treatment and support for Lebanon and other friendly Arab states - in actions rather than words - and less uniformly supportive of Israel, right or wrong, Hezbollah and Hamas might even have been tamed.

Yes, of course, Israel should talk to the Arab countries. One must not forget yesterday's terrorists (or freedom fighters, depending on your perspective) are tomorrow's politicians - for example, Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein and Israel's own Irgun.

  • Michael B Johnson, Kevin Gardens, Brighton