Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest
An Iranian newspaper devised a Holocaust cartoon contest in vengeful response to the Muhammed cartoon fiasco. In reply, an Israeli cartoonist, Amitai Sandy, has devised what he shockingly calls the Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest (IASCC). He put out a call to Jewish cartoonists around the world for submissions and has published (see the cartoons) around ten so far (the competition ends March 5th). All cartoons here are provided courtesy of Amitai Shandy. I know that when you first read this headline you had the same chilled response that I did. You said something like: “there isn’t enough of this shit in the world that a fellow Jew has to be the conduit for more of it?”
Yaakov Kirschen, author of the Dry Bones comic strip, probably had something like this response. His blog was where I first learned about it. He links to this Haaretz story about it which quotes Sandy saying mockingly (please understand that this statement is meant ironically):
“We’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!” said Sandy “No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!”
But after actually visiting the IASCC website and viewing the cartoons for myself, I had quite a different response. Why? Well, first of all I must admit that there ARE a few genuinely disgusting cartoons. But even more importantly there are some genuinely funny ones that make interesting and valid points. Not reinforcing anti-Semitic stereotypes, but rather poking fun at those very stereotypes. In short, I think this competition was everything that the Jyllands-Posten cartoons were meant to be but were not. The latter were not funny (a cardinal sin for cartooning). They were gratuitously insulting and with little redeeming social commentary. They did not challenge accepted norms or values in any sort of constructive ways.
I’m running a few of the cartoons which I thought the most interesting. I’m not running the few cartoons which seemed revolting and insipid (there were a few). I’m gonna let you decide what you think.
Terry Gross on Fresh Air interviews Sandy and gets closest to conveying both the nuttiness, irony, and provocative nature of the contest:
“I’m trying to decide whether this contest is incredibly smart and funny and a really great way of proving the point that you want to make or whether it’s really kind of sick.”
To which Sandy replies: “It’s a little bit of both.”
The problem with all this is that most Jews are understandably uncomfortable with anything that remotely smacks of anti-Semitism. Our vaunted sense of humor (remember Lenny Bruce?) takes leave when it comes to this subject. But Sandy is saying: “why should it?” Why can’t we talk about it like we talk about any other subject that is important to us? Why can’t we poke fun at the anti-Semites using their own graphic weapons (big noses, horns, the works)? And most of all, why can’t we poke fun at ourselves as Jews have done for millenia? Let’s not forget that such dangerous and subversive humor was an integral part of Lenny Bruce’s comic arsenal. Witness this great joke of his:
We killed Jesus Christ. That’s right, we did. And we’re proud of it, too. His parents wanted him to become a doctor and he refused. So we killed the f*$%@r.
Finally, Sandy mentions in his Fresh Air interview that during an Israeli peace demonstration against the Separation Wall right-wing counter-demonstrators shouted: “You fuck Arabs.” I personally can vouch for such disgusting behavior because when I demonstrated in Jerusalem in 1973 for Israeli negotiations with the PLO right-wing hooligans threw rocks at us and one hit me square on the chin. The only time I’ve ever encountered violence at a demonstration.
So Sandy’s response was to create this poster which takes the right-wing taunt at face value and makes a virtue of the insult.
12 thoughts on “Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoon Contest – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
Is this anything more mature, enlightening or urbane than gangsta rappers referring to themselves as n***ers? Would any rational African-American believe that it’s a constructive means to deal with their own blighted history? How about minstrel shows performed by blacks? This is how to de-fang the adversary? Is Sandy and his adherents naive, infantile or completely idiotic to ask “why” we shouldn’t aid and abet the concepts that have scandalized our people as the scum of the earth and caused destruction ad infinitum?
Was this “contest” open to non-Jewish residents of Israel and should that be a relevant issue? Is it too provocative to ask such a question? If not, how would it fare if a Jewish cartoonist entered a similar contest “poking fun” at the majority religion in Riyadh or Tehran? Or is that a poor analogy since nowadays the sign of a progressive society is a blatant lack of self-respect and a passivity in the face of religio-historical mockery. The Jyllands-Posten incident proves that sensitivity and respect to other religions and peoples is quite the one-way street.
Or will this be another example of Ha’Aretz’s sophisticated “progressivism” in that the non-Jewish fellow countrymen should not bear the brunt of discrimination in a contest that ENCOURAGES imagery worthy of Der Sturmer. Wonder how the Israelis who escaped from Germany in the 1930s and were forced to deal with such publications feel about this whole affair?
Quite intriguing when apologists pipe in on how “humor” has kept the Jewish people alive and vibrant during the 2000 year exile. Is it too harsh or cynical to suggest that this only betrays a suffering ignorance of their own heritage? One is inclined to think that adherence to the Torah, delving into in-depth learning, a sense of mission, self-actualization and pride in our accomplishments might be more meaningful ingredients to survive and thrive but that’s likely beyond the deepest (for lack of a better word) realme of the apologists. Well, perhaps maybe I just “don’t get it”. But, I sleep better at night knowing this since I obviously don’t qualify to membership of Sandy’s cute little clique of sophisticates who appreciate these type of stunts. You take Lenny Bruce, I’ll take Rabbi Akiva, Maimonedes, Mendel of Kotzk and Shimshon Raphael Hirsch. Even Sandy Koufax.
The origin is of Tikkun Olam of course is “L’Takein Olam B’Malchut Shada-” To fix the world with the Heavenly Kingship. So lacking that uh….minor qualifier, apparently anything goes. Fixing the world can now be interpreted and accomplished through the proliferation of the vilest hate imagery or whatever subjective criteria to maximize readership.
Regarding the pitiful thug who cowardly graced your jaw with that geological projectile; well Richard, it took you 30+ years but you really showed him who was boss.
Funny you should ask that question. No less a “rational” African-American than Spike Lee disagrees with you. In fact, he wrote the film Bamboozled about the minstrel show phenomenon in the context of U.S. race relations. There are many other research sites devoted to minstrelsy as well. So yes, the study of this phenomenon is an important part of understanding what was & is wrong with black-white relations in this country.
And in my humble opinion, Sandy’s project is no less serious an attempt to deconstruct anti-Semitism. He is not “aiding and abetting” anti-Semites except in your mind. He is providing us with images which satirize anti-Semitic graphic traditions. He is also turning the spotlight on some of the foibles which Jews (or Israelis) have.
Oh, I see…you view the Muslims as the ones who’ve disrespected western traditions while the Dutch cartoons were–what? Respectful representations of Islamic tradition?? What a load of crap! THe disrespect is a 2-way street. We don’t respect Islam and Muslim don’t respect us. If you say different you’re living in a land of delusion.
No doubt many would not like it one bit. But I’m also betting that some survivors would understand the need to see, discuss, refute, and yes, make fun of anti-Semitic graphic images.
I respect their suffering. There were even a few cartoons (not represented here) which I wouldn’t have allowed if the competition were mine. But it’s not. This competition was Sandy’s idea and I honor him for it even if his judgement parts ways (a bit) with mine.
Only someone deeply defensive about himself & his traditions would see Sandy as an “apologist” for anti-Semites. And I don’t think he owes you or anyone else an answer to the question, how much does he know about his tradition. He’s Jewish and he’s Israeli. He has as much right as you or I to define what those terms mean to him even if they diverge from your own. And if in your wildest dreams you intended to imply that I too am an apolgist or Jew ignorant of my history, well–I’d have a few choice words for you. But since you didn’t make that clear & I don’t know if you intended to say that, I’ll leave those words for another day.
No, I guess you don’t.
The Rambam, Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and Rabbi Akiba are honored figures in my own Jewish world. So don’t go thinking that you in your “right-thinking” Jewish ways have a monopoly on them. Afraid you’ll have to share them with us apikorsim (“heathen non-believers”).
Healing the world can happen in many ways. You seem to forget a critical Hasidic teaching that viewed sin as possessing a “holy spark” that needed to be liberated & converted into holiness. For that reason, many rebbes went out of their way to cultivate sinners in order to turn them from their errant ways toward God. It is precisely for this reason that studying the hate that is used against us can be one important way of combatting it.
I linked to your article because I thought my readers would be interested in reading a different point of view about the Holocaust cartoons especially a discussion about ones done by Jews themselves. It wasn’t a gratuitous link and it was on point.
If you read my policy on copyrights in the sidebar: whenever I lift a photo I always link to the source article which my readers can access by clicking on the photo. Since I stole the photo from you I thought it only proper that my readers see where it came from. I already linked to Sandy’s article in my post.
In addition, I allow people who disagree with me in my comment section to link to their articles as long as it is on topic.
You left a comment on my site rebuking me for something about which I miss the point. Are you saying I should only link to blogs which agree with my point of view?
Or that if I discuss their article I should leave a comment first?
Is there something I am missing?
By the way, there is a difference between someone who fears the Jewish religion because of distorted lies and someone who fears Islam because of a non-distorted view of the real danger it poses to the modern world. I think the danger to Jews surviving at all is that most Jews think that anti-Muslim sentiment is anti-intellectual or some character flaw. 98% of my relatives skipped willingly into gas chambers precisely because they could not believe in utter evil, that somehow it would all turn out OK. My father told me he had arguments with German Jews in the 30’s who were proud to be German Jews and were upset with anyone who vilified their government and that not ALL Nazis were bad.
In point of fact, not all Nazis were bad. To say so back then would have been inaccurate. Indeed many Germans joined the party only so that they could have a job or continue in one. Many disagreed in their hearts with Nazi Policies toward Jews, but what could they do?
Today, I would say many Muslims disagree with Islamic fascists. Of course polls taken in London recently indicate only 40% would not want to live under Sharia, so that is a bit disappointing. But many disagree about destroying Israel and all Jews but what can they do? If you go on Islamic forums you can read how bitterly moderate Muslims are criticised. Nazis couldn’t leave Nazism and Muslims can’t leave Islam.
But just as history has given us the perspective that hating all of Nazism today is no evil, also too someday, hating Islam will be viewed as a sensible intelligent thing. Those who disagree can willingly skip into the warm embrace of their Islamic friends.
I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if your attitude changes as the Muslim population overwhelms the Western World.
Bernie–here’s what you did wrong. It’s fine to link to my post in your own blog. But if you want to link to your own post at MY blog you send a ping or trackback. That’s the way you do it. Perhaps you’re not aware of what they are. If so, I take back my rebuke. But you should learn what a pingback is & how to create one if you don’t already know. Comments should be reserved for an actual comment on something the blog author actually wrote.
I see. Islamic extremists fear Judaism because of distorted lies but people like you really understand the true nature of Islam. Don’t make me laugh. What gives you the impression that you have a line on the truth that the anti-Semites don’t have? You know no more about the true nature of Islam than an anti-Semite knows about Judaism.
What you mean to say or what you would say if you were intellectually honest is that there are individual Muslims or groups of Muslims who believe a tissue of lies about Judaism. But they are not ISLAM as a whole any more than Israeli settler extremists represents all of Israel or Judaism.
Hmmm. I couldn’t have put it better myself. You’ve nailed yourself dead on. Thanks for not forcing me to do the heavy lifting in this argument.
That is a tremendously unfair and simplistic characterization of what actually happened. Besides, it is blaming the victim in some way for their victimization. How much do you actually know about the Holocaust? What books or research have you actually done on the subject? And why do you, who sit safe & warm in a nice home somewhere, presume to judge what others did under circumstances you can’t begin to understand? How do you know for a certainty that you would’ve acted (or even been able to act) differently?
And I have visited Israel forums and been vilified from pillar to post for my views. What does it prove? Does it prove that all Zionists are bad or evil. No, of course not. No more than it means that most Muslims are the same. You’re making a fatal mistake of attempting to generalize from a very narrow particular that is completely unrepresentative of the general (that is, Islam).
That is an utterly ridiculous comparison. You’re no different than the ultra-Arab supporter who just wrote a comment here (in another thread) comparing Zionism to Nazism. It is no more apt to compare Islam to Nazism than it is to compare Zionism to Nazism. That is, it’s wholly inapt in every possible way.
You’ll be waiting a long time, my friend. Precisely until Hell freezes over. What a grand slogan, “the Muslim population overwhelms the Western World.” You really need to go back & reread The Great Gatsby. The rich, white murderer Tom Buchanan cherishes precisely the same views except in his case they were of the African race which was destined to overrun the civilized world. These benighted views sound no better coming from you than they do from him.
You also remind me of those hellfire Christians who carry around signs warning mankind to repent from sin & disbelief before God destroys the earth. It’s no more likely that God would destroy his creation than that Islam will destroy the western world. That is to say, impossible.
It’s no more likely that God would destroy his creation than that Islam will destroy the western world. That is to say, impossible.
I am an Atheist Jew and therefore I do not believe that God intends to destroy his creation. On the other hand, I fully believe the words of Muslim leaders when they promise to make the world one Caliphate. Islam may have been a paper camel decades ago, but today Islam is rich, has more than a billion adherents, and is on a tear to obtain nuclear weapons.
Perhaps you have a different take on the promises of the current prince of Persia?
But now it all makes sense why you do not feel threatened by Islam. You think Islam is just another religion like Judaism; it is not. It is a political system more than anything else. And it certainly not benign.
As for your thinking I have a narrow or limited knowledge of Islam, I have read the Quran in Arabic, I can read Hebrew, and a number of other languages. I have lived a number of years with them and among them. I seriously doubt you could come up with any passage from the Quran or the Torah, Mishnah, Midrash, Septuagint (which I read in the original Greek) for which I could not give you an erudite and expert analysis. I do not read things in simple text but with knowledge of the subtext and the contextual history surrounding the writings. I can tell which of 4 different authors actually scribed sections of the Torah just by the style used. I can argue with the best of Rabbis about Rashi’s commenteries, so your opinion about my intellectual skills is inaccurate. I fear Islam precisely because of too much information not the lack of it. Test me if you like.
Oh, and by the way, I do not recall leaving a comment with a link to my post, I thought I did ping your article. It must have shown up as a comment somehow. I do not leave comments with links to my articles unless I have a problem sending pings and I always let the blogger know that I am leaving a comment precisely because pinging is not working on his site. Are you completely sure it was a comment I left?
If somehow I was in some stupor and inadvertenly left a comment with a link then I do apoligize. I do not do that unless I am discussing the article and the auther asks for links.
Now I understand your initial complaint and if somehow I left a comment I must have been on autopilot and done it accidentally since my intention was to ping your post. I have over 5000 links from various sites and so I am very aware of how pinging works. In addition, my own comment policy [which I have in my sidebar] has the same rules, for the most part, as you do.
Their words are no more credible than those of MK Bernie Elon when he declares with a straight face that Israel’s Arab citizens must be shipped off to Bulgaria–a statement he made yesterday. The settler leaders want the equivalent of a Jewish theocracy in Israel. Do you really believe they will ever come remotely close to achieving their goal? Of course not. And that’s how close Muslims will come to achieving a Caliphate. The only people in the world who believe this malarkey are you, Dick Cheney & all the other Islam haters in the world.
You know that phrase: “If wishing made it so.” But wishing something doesn’t make it happen.
“Islam” is doing no such thing. Religions don’t “obtain nuclear weapons.” Nations do that. You seem to confuse the two. It makes me wonder how much you really understand about either nationalism or religion.
Balderdash. Islam is no more a “political system” than Judaism is. And if you claim Islam is not benign because it is a political system there are an equal number of Arabs who make the exact same mistake you do by equating Judaism with Zionism (& also equating Zionism with settler extremist ideology/theology). You are both wrong in almost the same ways.
I have no idea what you mean & I’d like you to be more specific about where you lived ‘with them & among them’ & how you came to do so. Yr statement could mean virtually anything.
Which proves precisely what? And why would I want to get into a pissing contest with you to determine which of us has the best or deepest understanding of Judaism, Islam or any religion? There are many human beings who claim to know everything about a particular subject, yet they completely lack any wisdom. So all that supposed knowledge gets them nowhere. If you do know something about the Quran, you certainly know next to nothing about Islam. All you know is propaganda based on prejudice & hate. Anyone can study any particular subject & come out with pre-conceived judgments about the subject finding everywhere along the way proof for those preconceived notions. That doesn’t mean you understand what you study. It just means that you’re a propagandist.
When people leave pingbacks at my site the comment notification clearly indicates that it is a pingback. Yours did not. It appeared as if it was a comment & not a pingback. But I’ll check with people who know my blog platform better than I to find out if wordpress is handling pingbacks differently than it used to. And if you did send a pingback & I deleted it, I invite you to send another using this link:
I promise it will remain on my site & I won’t rebuke you for it. Sorry if I was mistaken. We may disagree about things, but I wouldn’t deny you the right to pingback to one of my posts especially if you did link to one of mine. Anything else would be uncivil of me.
Well, I just sent a ping.
Just for my own edification, do you consider the teenage female bomber a civilian or an enemy combatant? I am refering to http://jihadidujour.blogspot.com/2006/11/female-palestinian-homicide-bomber.html
[you may remove the link if you find it superfluous]
As for when did I live among/with Muslims:
1965-1967 Jerusalem – I lived in Moshav Germanit (heavily Moroccan – 10% Muslim) also studied at the Hebrew University – took courses on Islam alongside Muslim students.
July-Sept 1967 Paris. I bunked with a Muslim for 3 months while we both studied at the Alliance Francaise at the Sorbonne. He then moved to another dorm because he finally found it too difficult to sleep so close to a Jew.
1970-1975 Had a Muslim partner in vending business.
1985-1986 Had a Muslim roommate.
1994-1998 Muslim partner in Egyptian Telecommunications business in Brooklyn
2000-2005 (Different) Muslim Partner in Queens TV station
I went to their homes, drank irak with them.
There are also quite a number of Muslim phonecard distributors who I do business with and with whom I have contracts that do not expire for a number of years. When they do expire, I will not be renewing them as my view of Islam has changed rather dramatically these past few years. I was not born an Islamophobe and only came about from realization that Islam is in fact a violent political ideology rather than a religion.
Your quick and witty response to this is of course the standard nonsense that this is “just like those who equate Judaism with Zionism”. Not quite. The goal of Zionism is to take the whole world of Jews and put them into a tiny footprint in the middle east; the goal of Islamists is to take a tiny footprint in the middle east and turn the whole world into Muslims.
Zionists hope to keep Jews from turning into non-Jews; Islamists hope to turn non-Muslims into Muslims. Seems to me quite opposite types of political entities.
You still haven’t told me your solution to the crises: should the Israelis stop fighting, should they just leave Israel? Whay are your true feelings on this matter? It’s ok to say you despise the Jews in Israel, after all I admit that I despise Islam.
Asked & previously answered. Why do you repeat questions I’ve already answered in replies to yr own comments here? Is this some kind of test you’re trying to get me to fail? You mean you don’t see a distinction betw. an unarmed Palestinian woman standing in front of a mosque & a young female suicide bomber?
As for your supposed enormous experience with Muslims & Islam, I wouldn’t say any of yr rather limited experience gives you the right nor authority to make sweeping generalizations about all Muslims or all of Islam.
Utter nonsense. The majority of Muslims neither want to turn the entire world into Muslims nor do they have even the remotest capacity to do so. You are a raving doomsayer deserving of no attention.
As for the goal of Zionism–from even the moderate Arab perspective (& not without some measure of truth) Zionists want to bring 9 million more Jews to Israel, settle them on Arab land, and take over some of the most holy places from their Muslim religion. In addition they wish to displace most or all of the 1.5 million Arab citizens living within the State. This is not the innocent little project you make it out to be. Whatever the justifications may be for Zionism, & there are justifications–yr. description of it is completely tendentious & designed to cast Islam in the worst possible light & attach no share of fault to Israel. It won’t wash.
Not really. Most Israeli Zionists don’t really care much for Judaism or Jewishness except as a corollary of their main project. They want a Jewish nation, one that is strong & can demolish any opponent. Judaism is actually something that is anathema to many Zionists (though not the settler movement of course) since it represents Diaspora thinking & reminds Zionists of the time when Jews were supposedly powerless.
And as I say, you’ve left out oh so many other Zionist goals that are not so flattering. The goal of eradicating or submerging the Arab minority. The goal of expanding the Israeli footprint by assuming control (i.e. stealing) of Palestinian land through settlements. The goal of eradicating any Arab neighbor who stands in its way. The goal of being able to drop a nuclear weapon on any Arab neighbor who threatens it. Not quite as pretty a picture is it?
I say all these things as a progressive Zionist. So above I’m not criticizing the entire Zionist movement, but only those who represent an expansionist, triumphalist version of it. But no doubt they are in the majority & so deserve opprobrium for their policies & views.
This passage was not only stupid, but deeply insulting. I do NOT despise Jews or Israel. To even imply otherwise is a calumny. I lived in Israel for two years. I speak fluent Hebrew. I’ve studied sacred text for decades both in academia & personally. I studied at a Jewish theological seminary. I’ve worked for Jewish communal institutions. Why in heaven’s name would I say I despise Jews? You’re lower than the belly of a cur dog to even hint that I might.
As for my solution to the conflict, I’ve only written it here 10 or 20 times both in posts & comments. It’s very simple: return to 67 borders. Create an international monitoring force to secure the borders. Demand Arab recognition of Israel. Jerusalem becomes the capital of 2 states. Law of Return is amended to allow compensation instead of physical return.
I find many of the anti-Semitic stereotypes from the past seem to have traveled into anti-Islam stereotypes. I think it is an interesting phenomenon: anti-Semitism takes a rest in the West while they turn to anti-Arab cartoonery.
I suppose after this sabbatical they will be back… refreshed.