On Sunday January 27, the whole world (or at least the ever dwindling remnant of the civilized world) commemorated “International Holocaust Remembrance Day”. This yearly remembrance is based on January 27, 1945 when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. It is an international event introduced by the UN in 2005 and is additional to the Jewish Commemoration of the Holocaust known as Yom HaShoah or “The Day of the Catastrophe”. Yom HaShoah typically falls on the 27th of Nissan (April 8, 2013) and coincides with the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Many communities worldwide, Jewish and non-Jewish, remembered the 6,000,000 victims as well as the survivors and their descendants. Statements of support abounded as the heroic struggles against Nazism and the unnecessary death of millions were recalled. Even President Obama issued its own statement in which we can read: The United States, along with the international community, resolves to stand in the way of any tyrant or dictator who commits crimes against humanity, and stay true to the principle of “Never Again.” Sounds good, right? But these are just words and words are cheap and rather hollow if not backed-up by actions. But rather than find fault in the current US administration’s handling of the Middle East crisis –and God knows that it can easily be done– I would like us to consider the newest installment in the most popular reality TV show on the planet known as: “Let’s Insult Their Intelligence”.
This is a show (if it indeed existed) that would focus on demonizing Israel and the Jewish people and then insult their intelligence by claiming that none of the words or deeds perpetrated were even close to being anti-Semitic. I believe that it would be very popular. This week’s episode could have been entitled: “A cartoon for Peace”.
Famous British Sunday Times cartoonist Gerald Scarfe spewed another venomous creation on Sunday, depicting Benyamin Netanyahu building the security fence with bricks interspersed with Palestinian bodies and using Palestinian blood as mortar.
It immediately drew the attention of the Jewish community worldwide, who demanded an immediate apology for the anti-Semitic cartoon. By the way, it is noteworthy to mention that no death threats were made to any British subjects; no British embassy was ransacked because Netanyahu was insulted, and the Sunday Times wasn’t firebombed by “Jewish extremists” either! Was the Jewish community offended? Absolutely YES! Did it react in a barbaric fashion? Absolutely NO!
Yet, was the Jewish reaction another case of oversensitivity or even worse, another example of playing the “victim’s card” and manipulating the media? For this, we need to take a look at Mr. Scarfe’s cartoon and compare it to others published before his time.
In Mr. Scarfe’s cartoon, we see a mean-faced Benyamin Netanyahu with long and sharp trowel in hand, dripping with blood. He is getting ready to apply another brick in the “security wall”. Every other layer of bricks shows the head of a squeezed dead Palestinian with an emphasis on the elderly, women and children to symbolize some sort of “innocent victimhood”. Palestinian blood is used as mortar for the wall. The bottom caption reads: “Israeli Elections: Will Cementing Peace Continue?”
The almost instant response from the Daily Times was one of support for the cartoonist and was a clear statement that in no way was the drawing anti-Semitic, but it was simply a political cartoon connected to the recent Israeli elections.
So, a cartoon is published that is clearly depicting a murderous Netanyahu. Never mind that the wall he is building is in reality for the most part a barbed-wire fence and never mind that it is built to defend Israel from terrorists and bombings. Never mind that Hamas uses their own children, women and elderly as human shields, the message is clear: Israel continues to have blood on their hands as they build an apartheid state.
|Nazi propaganda cartoon: Rich Jews drink blood.|
Of course, the fact that the cartoon was published on “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” was a pure coincidence or maybe a busy newsroom oversight, right? Well, I wish I could say that it is true but I am afraid that the day was purposely picked to hurt the Jewish people even more. I think that to deny that “International Holocaust Remembrance Day”was selected as the publish date is simply to insult our intelligence.
|Nazi cartoon: Jews draw blood from Christian children to
make matzah for Passover.
Some Nazi propaganda from the 30s and 40s repeatedly depicted Jewish people drawing blood from people. The “world controlling rich Jew” was pictured feasting on the blood of his victims. Of course, many times the victims also represented poor Christian children whose blood was drawn to make “matzah” (unleavened bread) for the celebration of Passover.
This is known as the “Blood Ritual” and originates in the middle Ages. The twelfth century introduced a new charge against the Jews that would be added to the list of reasons why they should be converted, ostracized, abused and even killed. This new charge was fabricated from beginning to end for the sole purpose of stigmatizing Jewish people further into a demonized state. It is still being used today against the Jewish people by anti-Semitic groups and/or people across the globe.
|Medieval etching of Jews emptying a Christian Boy
of his blood for use in Passover Matzah
UPDATE: As of Wednesday January 30th, 2013, Martin Ivens, the acting editor for the Times had issued an apology for the cartoon. The apology, according to him is for the poor choice of a release date but NOT for the contents