How one British paper decided to depict living Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day

H/T to Raheem at The Commentator

In my 2010 report published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs about antisemitic cartoons, I noted that political cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes than a lengthy essay.  They express ideas which are easy to understand, and thus represent an efficient way to transmit hate and prejudices, including antisemitism.

While the largest output of antisemitic cartoons nowadays comes from the Arab and Muslim world, some “respectable” European papers have published graphic depictions of Jews evoking classic Judeophobic stereotypes.

Some of the core motifs of antisemitic cartoons are Jews as absolute evil; imagery equating Israel with Nazi Germany; Jewish conspiracies; Zionists controlling the world; and variations of the blood libel.

While mainstream Western papers avoid explicitly promoting the blood libel, variations of this theme – suggesting in cartoon and in prose that bloodthirsty Israeli Jews intentionally kill innocently Palestinians (often children) – have been published at popular sites.  For instance, one of the most popular news sites in the Anglo world, The Huffington Post, posted a cartoon in 2012 by notorious antisemitic cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, which clearly conveyed the idea that the Israeli Prime Minister was murdering Palestinian babies to gain votes in the upcoming election, suggesting that baby killing was supported by the Israeli public.

A similar motif of infanticide appeared in a 2003 cartoon by Dave Brown in the progressive British daily The Independent. The cartoon shows Sharon eating the head of a Palestinian baby and saying, “What’s wrong? Have you never seen a politician kissing a baby? It won Britain’s 2003 Political Cartoon of the Year Award.

The following cartoon was published at The Sunday Times (the largest-selling ‘serious’ British national Sunday newspaper) today, Jan. 27, International Holocaust Memorial Day.

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In case you didn’t notice, the text reads ‘Will Cementing Peace Continue?’, an apparent allusion to Israeli construction across the green line.

However, the Sunday Times cartoonist decided to depict such building as not only injurious to peace, but (as the bloody, mangled bodies being buried over with cement, laid by the bloody trowel of a sinister Israeli Prime Minister) as a sadistic act of violence against innocents in order to gain votes in the Israeli election.  

In light of the Sunday Times’ decision to publish a cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day depicting a blood-lusting Jewish leader, as well as recent comments by British MP David Ward suggesting that, on Holocaust Memorial Day, Jews should learn to stop “inflicting atrocities on Palestinians”, as well as other routine debasements of Holocaust memory, here’s a simple, if counter-intuitive request to those who believe that the Holocaust means anything at all:

Spare us your Holocaust pieties, your monuments, your memorials, museums and days of remembrance, and consider that, instead of honoring Jews murdered over 65 years ago, you may want to begin, instead, to honor Jews who are still among us.

There are many ways to show reverence for a tiny minority which has somehow survived despite the best efforts, past and present, of practitioners of homicidal antisemitism. However, the especially morally righteous among you may wish to gain a basic understanding of the precise manner in which Jews have been caricatured, vilified, demonized and dehumanized prior to pogroms, massacres and genocides, studiously avoid advancing narratives or creating graphic depictions which evoke such antisemitic imagery, and righteously condemn those who do so.

You can not undo the horrors inflicted upon six million souls, but you can live your life with a steely determination to never again allow lethal, racist narratives about living Jews to go unchallenged, and to assiduously fight efforts to reintroduce such toxic calumnies into the “respectable” public discourse. 

‘Comment is Free’ correspondent Glenn Greenwald vs. American tolerance

Glenn Greenwald is now a correspondent for ‘Comment is Free‘, but his blog at Salon.com was on my radar since 2007, and  I continue to be struck by his ability to maintain such a seemingly large influence in the progressive world while engaging in bigoted commentary about Jewish supporters of Israel.

His demonization of the pro-Israel lobby, for instance, would make Pat Buchanan blush.  He once complained in a post that “so absolute [is] the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy…that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast [Al Manar] Hezbollah television stations.” [emphasis added]

Greenwald is also quite fond of the “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” variety-trope, and has defended Hamas against ‘charges’ they are a terrorist organization, referred to passengers on board the IHH affiliated Mavi Marmara as heroic and even suggested a moral equivalence between the U.S. and Nazi Germany, in the context of the former’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the latter’s invasion of the Sudetenland in 1938.

In April of 2010, before I joined CiF Watch, Greenwald responded to my criticism which, at the time, consisted of a substantive critique of his arguments in a section of a larger Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs report on antisemitism in progressive blogs, and in a post for the blog ‘Z Word’.

Shortly after my Z-Word post, titled ‘Glenn Greenwald keeps an ugly calumny alive’, concerning his frequent charge of ‘dual loyalty’ against American Jews, he attacked me in a blog post at Salon – in which he referred to me as “someone named Adam Levick” – titled ‘U.S.-Israel rift undermining some long-standing taboos.’

An increasingly popular meme among many progressives centers around the claim that American Jews who support Israel ‘smear’ anyone who criticizes Israel with the charge of antisemitism, and Greenwald has honed this straw man to an art.  In the column criticizing me Greenwald characterized certain ‘truths’ about Israel and her supporters as “taboo” – and I continue to marvel at how Greenwald, and like-minded commentators, are always able to say such things that you evidently just can’t say.

In reality, they’d be hard pressed to find many supporters of the Jewish state who accuse folks of antisemitism merely for opposing Israel’s policies. Further, the quotes I often cite when imputing antisemitism to Greenwald are quite unambiguous in their meaning, and it’s difficult to understand how those claiming a progressive political allegiance could deny the historical Judeophobic narratives they evoke.  

For instance, in a post titled Enforced Orthodoxies on Iran, on Feb. 2, 2007, Greenwald, writing about the Iranian nuclear threat, wrote the following:

“Large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups which are agitating for a U.S. war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests and they perceive it to be in Israel’s interests for the U.S. to militarily confront Iran.” 

It does seem rather remarkable that progressives, of all people, would defend such a passage – one which seamless joins both the ‘dual loyalty’ trope with rhetoric warning darkly of excessive Jewish power.

Further, in his post criticizing me, Greenwald wrote:

“…with extreme, unintended irony…Adam Levick lists this as his biography on his Twitter account: I’m an American who just made Aliyah (moved to Israel), and love America and my new country.”

But he then proceeded to acknowledge the following:

“There’s nothing wrong per se with harboring cultural affections for other countries — many individuals in the culturally diverse U.S. do.”

However, he then went on to add:

“…but, stridently denying what is so obviously true, and smearing those who point it out, does more than anything else to make something innocuous seem nefarious.”

First, just like the millions of other Americans who hold a passport to another country, my rights and responsibilities as an American citizen haven’t been downgraded due to my Israeli citizenship.

As Greenwald himself once wrote, in response to what he termed “right wing attacks” on him about his personal life, including the fact that he lives  in Brazil for a substantial amount of time each year:

“Spending substantial time in another country does not make one an “expatriate.” And even those American citizens who do give up American residence and live abroad retain full rights of citizenship, including voting rights”

Second, he’s just being dishonest when he suggests that American Jews, more broadly, deny their passion for Israel. The point they typically make is that such loyalties are not relevant to the foreign policy debates about Israel and the Middle East. And, if it’s so “innocuous”, why does he speak about such attachments using such extreme vitriol? His rhetoric “revealing” American Jews’ love for Israel is often advanced using dark, conspiratorial narratives, such as when – commenting about conservative Jewish commentator Charles Krauthammer – he wrote:

“It is difficult to find someone with a more psychopathic indifference to the slaughter of innocent people in pursuit of shadowy, unstated political goals than Charles Krauthammer.”

So, it seems that he’s aghast when critics of Israel are “smeared” by their opponents, but he’s a paragon of political sobriety when he accuses the Jewish columnist of possessing “psychopathic indifference” to the suffering of innocents, and being motivated by “shadowy, unstated political goals“. 

The larger point Greenwald and like-minded commentators often make is that, unlike American Jewish supporters of Israel, their political opinions are uncompromised by such ethnic or religious loyalties. They can be trusted to engage in cool, detached analyses of the issues of the day, taking into account nothing more than what’s in the best interests of the nation, standing above “ethnic” Americans so burdened by tribal attachments.

However, while people can, and often do, opine on political issues from any number of biases, is it even debatable that what ultimately matters is the logic and facts of their position?

If the arguments posed by Jews in favor of continued U.S. support for Israel are flawed then those who think so should attempt to dissect the error of the opinion, or a flaw in the reasoning. To argue that a Jew’s opinion is unworthy of consideration merely because of his or her ethnic loyalties is inherently anti-intellectual. 

Smearing Jews as impure of thought and unpatriotic due to their background is something historically associated with the xenophobia of the far right, and I continue to marvel at the ideological evolution at play which allows such a noxious opinion to be embraced by many on the left.

Would gay Americans who argue in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage be accused of being biased and of only being motivated by his regard for those of his own sexual orientation, when debating the issue?

Similarly, are senior citizens who lobby on behalf of the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) required to acknowledge their “bias” for older Americans when debating social security merely because they themselves are over sixty-five?

Or, for that matter, should Glenn Greenwald, due to the fact that he splits his time living in both the U.S. and Brazil, recuse himself from commenting on American relations with Brazil?

Jews who advocate for Israel of course act to a large degree out of concern for the survival of the only Jewish state in the world, but also because they are convinced that such advocacy is in no way inconsistent with their American identity or the values and interests of the nation. This belief about the shared values of the U.S. and Israel is one which is also shared by an overwhelming majority of non-Jewish Americans.

So, if commentators want to make the case that such Israel advocacy is wrong-headed – that U.S. policies which serve to enhance Israel’s security are inconsistent with America’s security – then they should make the case and let the political process play out.

The onus is on those wishing to change the historic support American has given to Israel to honestly demonstrate why the U.S.-Israeli alliance should be downgraded, based on facts and logic, not by scurrilous (and often conspiratorial) attacks on the patriotism of Jewish Americans.

There was a time when such suspicions of Americans’ ethnic loyalties were intuitively attributed to the xenophobia and nativism of the paleoconservative right, and simply because more and more commentators advancing such a narrative claim a ‘liberal’ orientation doesn’t render  it any less hateful and toxic.

A. Jay Adler wrote the following in a post about the row over the term ‘Israel Firster’, used by some liberals to impugn the national loyalty of Jewish American supporters of Israel:

“These critics defend their use of the term because they believe that this time it is true. They believe that this time there really are divided loyalties, there really is a cadre of Jews exercising excessive, secretive power while aggressively attempting to suppress any exposure of it. And like all their reactionary forebears (like every GOP reactionary today who plays the card of nationalist loyalty) they forget that the belief they cling to is the belief to which purveyors of anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish power always hold fast – it’s the essential marker of the tradition – that what they believe is true.

I remain baffled as to how those claiming the mantle of ‘tolerance’ can employ tropes about the injurious influence of a tiny religious minority which possess such a reactionary pedigree – evidently forgetting that some ideas have become ‘taboo’ due to their dark and odious political history. 

Guardian issues ‘progressive in good standing’ card to Carlos Latuff: racist and anti-Semite

Associate a political activist with the bucolic imagery evoked by the term “Arab Spring” – a movement whose often decidedly illiberal aspects are routinely ignored by the Guardian and most of the MSM – and, no matter how compromised the person is by a quite reactionary ideological orientation, the halo effect is secured.

The Guardian’s Jack Shenker, writing in the Art and Culture section, Carlos Latuff: The voice of Tripoli – Live from Rio“, Aug. 22, bestows upon Latuff the honor of  “progressive” political cartoonist in service of the “democratic” ideals of the Arab revolution.

Shenker benignly characterizes Latuff, thusly:

“a Brazilian cartoonist who has become an unlikely star of the Arab spring – and, more recently, cartoonist to protests and conflicts around the world. A smiling, shaven-haired 42-year-old who still lives with his parents in Rio.”

Shenker, later in the piece, says:

“Latuff has become known for his support of the Palestinian cause; some campaigners claim his work is antisemitic. “Part of the supposed ‘evidence’ for my antisemitism is the fact that I’ve used the Star of David, which is a symbol of Judaism,” he says wearily.

Of course, Shenker, conventiently fails to note the extreme left activist’s well-documented record of not merely “using the Star of David”, but publishing cartoons which demonstrate an obsessive, visceral, and vicious hatred of Israel which, quite often, employ the Star of David to characterize the Jewish state as morally equivalent to Nazi Germany – imagery which often devolves into other expressions of outright anti-Semitism.

Indeed, Latuff appeared quite prominently in my essay for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs.”

When he’s not using his “art” to promote the Arab Spring he can be seen advancing racist depicitions of Jews and, on at least one occasion, African Americans.

His body of work pertaining to Israel and the Palestinians evokes an immutably villainous Jewish state similar to what can be found in the most anti-Semitic Arab media – and include clear assertions that Israelis take pleaseure in murdering innocent Palestinian children.

Israel as Nazi Germany: Here’s one out of dozens of Latuff cartoons which portary Israel as the new Nazi Germany and Israeli Jews the new Nazis.

He’s also not beyond illustrations containing even more explicit anti-Semitism.

Dual Loyalty and conspiratorial notions of Jewish control: The Jewish lobby (and/or Israel) controls the U.S. government

Jewish supremacism: Mockery and distortion of Jews as the chosen people

As this blog continually documents, the greatest and most dangerous ideolgocial vice of Guardian commentators, reporters, and correspondents is not, per se, explicit expressions of anti-Semitism but, rather, anti-Semitic sins of omission: Their capacity to ignore those who advance clear and unambiguous Judeophobic narratives.

In this case, the Guardian’s Jack Shenker could have easily, with a few Google hits, uncovered Latuff’s record of using his political cartoons in the service of evoking hateful narratives of Jews and Israel.

Editors of a paper which truly championed liberal values would never have white washed such rank bigotry. 

 

Throughout history only Israel has protected the freedom of all peoples and faiths in Jerusalem

The following video, Jerusalem: 4000 years in 5 minutes, was produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Israel’s critical security needs for a real and sustainable peace

One of Israel’s diplomatic challenges in arguing their position vis-a-vis the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is that it is difficult to explain their requirements in a pithy sound bite.

While Palestinians can simply say that “all they want” is an end to “the Occupation”, explaining the myriad of complex strategic and security implications of further territorial withdrawal simply does not lend itself to a simple slogan or set of catch phrases.

While I’ve repeatedly noted that the common assumption, that withdrawing from more land (in Judea and Samaria) would inevitably bring peace, has been contradicted by the subsequent political results, and strategic consequences, of Israel’s withdrawals from South Lebanon in 2000, and from Gaza in 2005, its vital to clearly stress the dangers Israel would face in the aftermath of a withdrawal which didn’t take this recent history (where terrorists movements, Hezbollah and Hamas respectively, filled the vacuum created by the IDF’s absence) into account.

The following video was produced by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and serves as brief yet clear primer on Israel’s vital security issues in the context of negotiations with the Palestinians over a final peace agreement.

How low will they go? Guardian publishes cartoon by notorious anti-Semite, Carlos Latuff

H/T Just Journalism

Today’s Guardian “Palestine Papers” update included the following illustration by one of the most prolific anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic cartoonists, Carlos Latuff – depicting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a sinister looking (gun wielding) Orthodox Jew.  (The Guardian casually referred to Latuff as “a Brazilian based cartoonist.”)

As I noted previously (in a piece for the JCPA, as well as a guest post for Elder of Ziyon), Latuff is a Brazilian political “activist” and cartoonist with an impressively large portfolio of work – much of which openly express anti-Semitic themes. Some of his caricatures seem to suggest that Israel is a unique and immutable evil in the world.  His work includes imagery frequently suggesting a moral equivalence between Israel and Nazi Germany – and he has explicitly acknowledged that this is indeed his political view.

Latuff’s work has been posted on various radical left websites and blogs, as well as several terrorist affiliated websites such as ‘The Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance’ (JAMI) magazine. Norman Finkelstein’s official website has also featured Latuff cartoons. As I noted in my Elder of Ziyon post, a blogger at the site, Mondoweiss, made use of one of Latuff’s cartoons during the flotilla incident. (Scroll down to bottom to see link to Latuff‘s cartoon)

Latuff’s notoriety includes his participation in the 2006 Iranian International Holocaust Cartoon Competition – for his cartoon comparing the Israeli West Bank security barrier with the Nazi concentration camps. Latuff placed second in the contest.

In their 2003 Annual Report, the Stephen Roth Institute compared Latuff’s cartoons of Ariel Sharon to the antisemitic caricatures of Philipp Rupprecht in Julius Streicher’s Der Stürmer.

Even the Guardian’s Ian Black noted that Latuff was among those cartoonists “drawing, without inhibition, on judeophobic stereotypes in the service of the anti-globalisation movement.

Latuff also has employed racist themes in service of his critiques of President Barack Obama.

Here is some of Latuff’s work:

The Latuff cartoon above, showing Sharon kissing Hitler, appeared on the (Washington) DC Indymedia site.

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The world’s oldest hatred finds a new home

Here is an essay I had published in the Jerusalem Post on Jan. 3

Some would call me a masochist. I spend most of my day reading a reactionary blog – one which often advances narratives warning darkly of a dominant “Zionist” lobby which stifles debate and has a corrosive effect on the political system.  This blog has been identified as one of the main purveyors of antisemitic hate in the British mainstream media by the CST – the organization dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and responding to antisemitism in the UK.

Clearly a glutton for punishment, I also scour the comment section of such posts where I often find quite palpable expressions of hatred towards Jews.

This site, home of such far-right views, also happens to be the most widely read blog in the UK – 37 million unique visitors a month.

I must admit that I omitted one crucial detail about this blog.  It describes itself as a progressive left publication.

Comment is Free, the blog of the UK paper, The Guardian, not only brands itself as progressive left, but has stated its aim to become “the world’s leading liberal voice.”

“Oh, come on”, you’re thinking. “Surely the Guardian is an anomaly. The progressive left, by their very nature, are anti-racist and opposed to antisemitism.  Expressions of hatred towards minority groups are a phenomenon uniquely prevalent on the right.” Well, actually, that’s not the case.

As my report for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs demonstrated, some of the more popular progressive left blogs in the US – Huffington Post, Glenn Greenwald and Daily Kos – with extremely large liberal audiences – freely engage in Judeophobic invectives.  In addition, the most popular and influential conservative blogs in the US – such as National Review’s blog, The Corner, Hot Air, Instapundit and many others – tend to be strongly philo-Semitic.  My follow-up report for the JCPA analyzed the presence of antisemitic cartoons on such progressive sites. Indeed, there is credible polling data that such expressions of bigotry are not anomalous.

Read the rest of the essay, here.