web analytics
December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Beyond Apologies: The British Blood Libel Cartoon

Gerstenfeld-020813

Apologies offered by the British Sunday Times for an anti-Semitic cartoon published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day address only one, albeit major, aspect of this issue.

The paper stated that publishing the drawing “was a mistake and crossed the line.” It admitted that Gerald Scalfe’s caricature reflected “historical iconography that is persecutory or anti-Semitic.” The cartoon showed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall using what appeared to be the blood of Palestinians as cement. The caption read, “Will cementing peace continue?” The paper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, had apologized earlier.

The effectiveness of an apology requires that both offender and victim agree that what took place was wrong. In this case, however, the apologies also underscore the need to ask several questions. One issue not addressed is that the cartoon inverted the truth rather than exaggerated it. Scarfe suggested that what is mainly a security fence – presented here as a wall – was meant to kill Palestinians. But of course it was constructed in order to prevent Palestinian murderers from entering Israel and killing Jewish civilians.

Further, the drawing reflects a major anti-Semitic motif with historical origins in Britain – the blood libel. It was invented in the twelfth century in Norwich. At that time, it was falsely claimed that Jews had killed for ritual purposes a 12-year-old Christian boy named William. The story kept going around. A few decades later, as was true in many other places in England, the Jews of Norwich were murdered. From Britain the blood libel about the Jews spread to other countries.

Where, one must ask, are the apologies for other cartoons using iconography that recalls the blood libel, both in Britain and elsewhere? Perhaps the best-known caricature in this genre was published by the British daily The Independent. Dave Brown drew then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a child eater. There was never an apology.

In answer to protests, the UK Press Complaints Commission cleared Brown’s cartoon. It was further “normalized” after it won the Political Cartoon Society’s Political Cartoon of the Year Award for 2003. The award was presented to Brown at the offices of the prestigious Economist weekly by Labour MP and former minister for overseas aid Clare Short.

At the time, Zvi Shtauber was the Israeli ambassador to Britain. He told me later, “Simon Kelner, the editor of The Independent, is Jewish. I asked Kelner whether The Independent had ever published a similar caricature of a public figure. He had to go back eighteen years to find a similar one. Tim Benson, the president of the Political Cartoon Society…saw nothing wrong in the award-winning racist cartoon.”

The Independent was not the only “progressive” paper to print blood libel cartoons. In April 2005 The Guardianpublished a cartoon by Steve Bell depicting Michael Howard, the then-leader of the Conservative Party and a Jew, with vampire teeth (one of which was dripping blood) and holding a glass of blood. The caption read: “Are you drinking what we are drinking? Vote Conservative.”

To add insult to injury, Annabel Crabb of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation praised him, in a TV interview, for the cartoon.

Belgian political scientist Joël Kotek has a collection of thousands of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate cartoons from Arab and Western media. He has published a selection of these in his book Cartoons and Extremism. One only has to compare the above mentioned British caricatures with that broad selection, mainly from the Arab world and some from the Nazi period, to see how their iconography fits in perfectly.

A 2011 study by the University of Bielefeld, for the German Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert Foundation, found that 42 percent of the British people – a percentage similar to that in some other European countries – believe Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians. Who planted this extreme anti-Semitic worldview in British minds? Which politicians, media figures, academics and church and union leaders have consistently helped strengthen the genocidal image that so many in the UK hold regarding Israel? The lines crossed here were of an infinitely greater magnitude than publishing an anti-Semitic caricature on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Beyond Apologies: The British Blood Libel Cartoon”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A clip from"How to Stab a Jew," the latest hit on Arab social media.
‘How to Stab a Jew’ Going Viral on Palestinian Authority Social Media [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Ben-Tsvi-122614

“Farming still allows some unique opportunities for mitzvah fulfillment that a city dweller never meets.”

Bill Cosby

It shakes our sense of justice when allegations against a famed role model are covered up or ignored

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Feiglin: Only true liberty will allow us to genuinely connect to our Jewish identity.

Knesset Logo

The silver lining with early elections is the chance to change the current dysfunctional government.

The Holocaust Educational Trust Ireland informed the host he could not say “Israel or Jewish state”

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

The West needs to ensure Russia understands that aggression comes at a significant cost.

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Girlfriend and double cop-killer Ismaaiyl Brinsley apparently was influenced by Islamic extremism.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

Thus, despite the increasingly serious problems for the mayor arising out of the current anti-police protests, Mr. de Blasio apparently will be cut no slack by those who seem to be aiming for a significant role in running the city from the streets and who will do whatever they can to prevent their momentum from ebbing.

Also left unsaid was the fact that the menorah and its oil were in the Beit HaMikdash, which of course was located on Har HaBayit – the Temple Mount that present-day Muslims claim as their own.

Despite strong pressure to throw the book at the accused, Mr. Thompson allowed him to plead guilty to assault.

A revolution is taking place between good and evil; light and darkness. Make the light activism!

More Articles from Manfred Gerstenfeld
Jewish Youth from all over the world participating in the March of the Living  walk the tracks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp site in Poland. (illustrative)

The West must be educated about the cruelty that has become endemic to much of the Muslim world.

Gerstenfeld-020813

Apologies offered by the British Sunday Times for an anti-Semitic cartoon published on International Holocaust Remembrance Day address only one, albeit major, aspect of this issue.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/beyond-apologies-the-british-blood-libel-cartoon/2013/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: