On September 21, The Australian published a Bill Leak cartoon depicting militant gay rights advocates as a platoon wearing a combination Waffen-SS and gay rainbow uniforms, captioned “Waffen-SSM,” where the SSM was a reference to Same Sex Marriage. Needless to say, there were some reactions to the cartoon, and most of them not so friendly, many of them from Jews…
“No matter how strong Leak’s objections to marriage equality advocates are, to compare them to the Waffen SS, part of Hitler’s demonic regime and responsible for the murder of millions, only adds to the cynical debasement, twisting and abusing of the Holocaust so prevalent today,” B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich said in a statement, pointing out that “to draw such repulsive equations is deeply offensive, shows a gross lack of understanding of the historical truth, and only fans the flames of hatred and denomination of the LGBTI community (in Australia, the additional I refers to Intersex, and we don’t really want to know what that means). It also insults the memory of the victims, which included gay people, as well as hurts the survivors and all those who fought valiantly against the Nazis in WWII.”
The cartoon was published amid news that the Australian LGBTIQ (this acronym just gets bigger all the time) community shut down a meeting of traditional marriage groups planned for the Mecure Sydney Airport Hotel. The Sydney Anglicans, Sydney Catholics, the MarriageAlliance and the Australian Christian Lobby were forced to relocate, because the hotel received “unsavory and threatening” attacks, possibly (the hotel won’t confirm the rumors) death threats made against staff. The hotel would only confirm that they cancelled the event because of concerns for the safety of staff and guests.
That should provide a taste of what Bill Leak was drawing about.
Nevertheless, Dayenu leader Alex Linker from the Jewish LGBTQI+ group, who stated that his grandparents and great-grandparents “lived through the horrors of Nazism,” was “insulted that Leak would compare same-sex marriage advocates to the SS without regard to all the queer and Jewish people who were decimated by SS soldiers.”
And Executive Council of Australian Jewry executive director Peter Wertheim said, “As a political cartoonist, it is Bill Leak’s job to be provocative and controversial, [but] to liken any advocate of -same-sex marriage to the perpetrators of mass murder and cruelty in the Nazi era is an inversion of history.” (Thanks to JewishNews for rounding up the above statements).
Ben Jenkins, writing in the Guardian, suggested that Leak, a controversial cartoonist if there ever was one, is saying to gay activists, “We are merely trying to have a civil conversation about a sensitive subject and are being silenced by the rabid and censorious opposition,” and so, “to that end, here is a drawing of you as a Nazi.”
However, Jenkins argued, “literally drawing a group of people that the Nazis targeted for execution as Nazis goes beyond vacuous argument and into the realm of something at the very least reprehensible and at the worst, sinister.”
That’s probably one of two valid arguments against Leak’s cartoon, the other being the old rule that whomever mentions the Holocaust first loses the debate. Except that none of the enraged hordes of leftwingers attacking Leak for his frivolous use of a Nazi imagery to make his point would be caught dead attacking similar cartoons from Iran and the Arab world, which have been contaminating the Google image bin and a myriad Facebook pages.
One is tempted to support the Bill Leak response to gay hyperactivism on the grounds of Hillel the Elder’s sage advice, “That which you do not want done to you, do not do to others.” One also wonders if the same voices who express their repulsion by the cartoon would go out of their way to condemn the reported threats of violence against anti-gay groups.