Arab Cartoonists' Response To Gaza Violence: Holocaust Analogies And Anti-Semitism
New York, NY, March 3, 2008 … The barrage of rocket fire from Gaza and Israel's military action to stem the attacks on its cities have prompted an outpouring of "deeply offensive and bigoted" commentary in the Arab press, whose response has come in the form of a series of rapid-fire editorial cartoons using swastikas, classical anti-Semitic images and other hateful references to the Holocaust to vilify Israel and portray the Jewish state as an aggressor with genocidal ambitions.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has posted online a selection of the most recent editorial cartoons, including cartoons appearing in Egyptian, Jordanian, and Palestinian newspapers.
"While it is not surprising that the editorial cartoonists would focus their criticism on Israel, their doing so with a mix of deeply offensive and bigoted Holocaust imagery, Jewish religious symbolism and vile stereotypes is breathtaking and at times quite shocking," said Abraham H. Foxman ADL National Director. "While we do not expect the Arab media to have a balanced view of the situation, the level of animosity and hate being aimed against Israel and Jews in response to the situation in Gaza is staggering."
One Jordanian cartoonist, in an image labeled "Gaza's Holocaust," (Al-Ghad, March 3) drew an Israeli attack helicopter shaped like a menorah blazing with gunfire and with its rotor blades shaped into the form of a swastika.
Other cartoons use similar Holocaust analogies and themes, with the Nazi swastika appearing in many of the images. Israelis and Jews are portrayed as child killers and brutal assassins, while no mention is made of the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the rockets that have injured and killed scores of Israeli civilians, or the role Hamas has played in promoting the attacks.
"We have always said that it is OK to criticize Israel. But these images clearly cross the line," said Mr. Foxman. "Not only do they outrageously equate Israel's military response to rocket attacks to the Holocaust, but draw upon classic stereotypical representations of Jews that were used as a tool by the Nazis themselves to incite anti-Semitism."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.