Scarfe is probably not an antisemite. Bell probably is.

January 29, 2013 at 9:44 am (anti-semitism, BBC, conspiracy theories, Guardian, israel, Jim D, Middle East, Murdoch, palestine, Steve Bell, zionism)

I wasn’t going to comment on the Gerald Scarfe cartoon published in the last Sunday Times, especially as Rupert Murdoch has apologised for it and Scarfe himself has stated that he hadn’t realised it would be published on Holocaust Memorial Day.

My personal view is that, on balance, the cartoon cannot fairly be considered antisemtic, but it certainly sails close to the wind, and its publication on Holocaust Memorial Day was a very serious misjudgement.

Political cartoonists frequently depict political leaders as blood-smeared, and they (the cartoonists, that is) sometimes seem unaware of, or indifferent to, the significance of the “blood libel” in the history of antisemitism.

Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, very sensibly comments that the artist’s subjective intention is not necessarily the crucial consideration:

“As ever, we are immediately drawn into the old ‘is it antisemitic, isn’t it antisemitic’ routine – as if anybody could ever prove what actually goes on in Gerald Scarfe’s head; and as if what goes on in his head is the most important thing in all of this.

“For sure, Gerald Scarfe has ‘a thing’ about blood. It is a theme that repeats in his cartoons. For example, his Sunday Times cartoon of 26th February 2012, literally shows Syria’s President Assad guzzling blood from a cup that has “children’s blood” written on it. So, he has not singled out Benjamin Netanyahu for the blood treatment and he is perfectly capable of drawing a full-on blood libel should the mood take him. Neither has Scarfe singled out Netanyahu for physical disfigurement. This is how he draws people, regardless of their nationality or religion.

“Unfortunately for Jews – and for satirists – antisemites and antisemitism also have ‘a thing’ about blood; and especially about the allegation that Jews murder others (children in particular) in order to use their blood or organs for heinous purpose. It is a harsh fact that blood has long played a profoundly disturbing part in the history of antisemitism, and this has obvious consequences for Jews and antisemites today. The actual intentions of Gerald Scarfe and the Sunday Times count for very little within this broader context of history, and its contemporary emotional and racist impacts.”

But, as I said, I wasn’t going to comment until I heard Steve Bell “defending” the cartoon on the Today Programme this morning. Bell’s rant (against Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle who didn’t, in fact, want such cartoons banned) was vile, full of stuff about “you people,” the “Zionist lobby,” how strange that even Murdoch has been forced to apologise (the “Zionist lobby” you see), an extraordinarliy ignorant claim that the blood libel is never used these days, and the alleged “fact” that the root cause of the problem is the foundation of Israel itself, based as it is (according to Bell) on “ethnic cleansing.”

This quote from Bell, in the course of this morning’s discussion, must never be forgotten:

“Extraneous notions like blood libel are
dropped in and sensitivities are talked up .. the very word
‘antisemitic’ becomes devalued…
“.. they throw it around with such abandon. If there really is
antisemitism it’s actually getting ignored…”

When the Guardian published this much-criticised cartoon by Bell last year,

I was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt against charges of antisemitism. I wouldn’t anymore.

50 Comments

  1. Roman Steven Toczyski said,

    Yet more hoo-ha regarding anti-semitic thoughts. When will we be able to poke fun at this self-important, self-righteous group. It was a political comment cartoon not a racist cartoon. These must get over themselves. The Holocaust was horrific, demonic, evil agreed but Scarfes cartton was a political statement I cant help but think that Israeli spin doctors are at the root of this storm in a teacup.

  2. Alan said,

    Agree with you about Steve Bell – his performance this morning on the Today programme was shameful. Shouting down both Naughtie and Pollard, he knew nothing about the resurgent blood libel myths in the middle east and cared even less, and was obviously not in the least interested in any kind of two-way conversation. He came over as the worst kind of blustering bully.

  3. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Bell is simply an idiot and is just repeating the standard far left line on Zionism in a positively Pavlovian fashion.

    IMO Scarfe’s case is worse as he is actually old enough to remember World War II (b.1936) and he moves in much wider and more sophisticated circles than a clown like Bell.

    Plus Scarfe does not have Bell’s daily deadlines and presumably puts a lot more thought and work into a cartoon like this one than Bell ever does – this is clearly a considered political statement.

    And hook-nosed Jewish monster cementing a wall with the blood of dead gentiles is actually a far older, more powerful and lethal anti-semitic trope than even Bell’s worst efforts.

  4. Sensorite said,

    What on Earth is ‘anti-semitic’ about that cartoon, and why should it not be published on ‘holocaust day’? If it was Ahmedinajad would it be construed as ‘anti-Muslim?

    So Bell has said that Israel was created by ‘ethnic cleansing’. Is that incorrect? And if someone mentions Serbian ‘ethnic cleansing’ does that mean they are anti-Serb, or, indeed, anti-Slav?

    “It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionists (Jews) do to Palestinian Arabs much of what Nazis did to Jews.”
    “If we do not succeed in finding a path of sincere co-operation… with the Arabs, then we will have learned nothing from our 2,000-year-old ordeal and will deserve the fate that will await us.”

    ― Albert Einstein.

  5. Sensorite said,

    I’ve just realised it was not published on ‘holocaust day’ but my points still stand.

  6. Martin Rodgers said,

    So I must enjoy Bell’s cartoons in the same way I enjoy the Ring Cycle, a guilty pleasure.

  7. Danny O'Dare said,

    This is a distorted account. Bell was quite calm, rather it was Pollard who was being provocative throughout the piece. Bell mentioned, quite rightly, that the “Zionist lobby” (which surely exists) is a permanent state of neurotic and semi-hysterial denial about Israel’s origins – ie, in an act of “ethnic cleansing”, surely another historical fact. Therefore to suggest or imply that Bell is ‘anti-Semitic’ is irrational, if not totally dishonest.

    • Sensorite said,

      I’m trying to respond to Mr Jim Denham but can’t and have been ‘directed’ by this blog to you. Apologies if you are getting understandably tired of this discussion, but I finally got time to listen to Steve Bell’s ‘anti-semitic’ tirade on the Today programme.

      So Steve Bell is not calm. Is that indicative of his anti-semitism? He ‘suggests’ that Israel was founded by ethnic-cleansing. I don’t know how this can be disputed but even less how it could anti-Semitic, although of course I’m aware of all those ‘anti American’ critiques of the appalling ways the settlers treated the native Americans and ‘anti Afrikaans’ critics of the South African Apartheid regime, not to mention the ‘anti Shiah/Iranian/Islamic’ cartoons of Ahmedinijad and various other Arab leaders.

      Interesting that Pollard states that Bell’s cartoon as ‘anti-Semitic’ because it portrays Netanyahu as the puppet master. That’s really scraping the barrel. Also, he objects to Scarfe’s cartoon because it ‘anti-Semitically’ suggests he rejoices in the blood of Palestinians. Is this not the case. Are you suggesting this man has remorse? Perhaps, because he’s Jewish, we need to presume that his atrocities reflect his ‘angelic nature’. Ooh – sorry for the religious overtones. Hope that wasn’t too anti-Semitic!

      I concur with Malte Brigge’s point about pontificating on someone’s probable or inprobable anti-semiticism.

      Perhaps we can try this one out. Obama’s policy towards Israel is shameful. Since Obama is mixed-race, does that make me probably racist, probably not racist, or somewhere in between?

      Sorry to go on, but in the absence of satisfactory answers…..

  8. Jim Denham said,

    Sensorite: It *was* published on Holocaust Memorial Day (Sunday 27 January), and if you have to have it explained to you why that’s very, very inappropriate, then you really are pretty far-gone.

    The argument that Israel was created by ethnic cleansing is a simplistic, one-sided and politically misleading half-truth.

    The point about Slav ethnic cleansing is that no-one (to the best of my knowledge) *does* use the historical fact of it to deny the Serbs the right to self-determination or to write them off as a fundamentally evil people.

    And, as a secondary point (already pointed out by Pink Prosecco on the previous Holocaust Day thread), your Einstein quote appears to be a fabrication:

    http://skepticaesoterica.com/debunking-fake-albert-einstein-quotes/

    • Sensorite said,

      The article is interesting. Thank you. I am, myself, ‘ethnically jewish’ by the way.

      In case you didn’t read the letters which followed the article you directed me to, pls see below.

      ‘The first quote you list is indeed from Einstein in his 1938 speech “Our Debt to Zionism”.
      The second quote was not actually written or spoken by Einstein. He was, however, one of the dozens of Jewish intellectuals who signed the open letter which you quoted above. Clearly, this means he agreed with its contents, but I don’t believe it would be correct to call it his quote.’

      Since the ‘quote’ of ‘“It would be my greatest sadness to see Zionists (Jews) do to Palestinian Arabs much of what Nazis did to Jews.” is the first one with relevance to Israel/Palestine, I presume this is the one they are referring to. Btw, does this not bring you sadness?

      Whether it’s one dimensional or not, I would be interested to hear how the displacement of hundreds of thousand of people into refugee camps and all that followed does not qualify as ethnic cleansing but I guess there isn’t space here (?) But re the ‘one-dimensional’ argument, the Serbians had their ‘reasons’ for THEIR ethnic cleansing. That does not make it right.

      I don’t really understand your argument about Slavs but mine is simple. No-one suggests that criticism of the actions of many members of the ‘Slavic race’ means that they are fundamentally evil. No-one suggested that criticising of apartheid made one anti-white or anti-Afrikaans. How many times does it have to be explained that criticism, or cartoons of people like Netanyahu does not make you anti-Jewish, on ‘holocaust memorial day’ or any other day. Should ‘holocaust memorial day’ not be a day for contemplation that man’s inhumanity to man is wrong regardless of which ethnic group is the perpetrator? You didn’t you answer my question. On what planet does a cartoon shooting into the appallingly open goal of Netanyahu’s ‘premiership’ constitute anti-semiticism? And why should it not be published on ‘holocaust memorial day’.

      I long for the day when SOME jewish people realise that putting 1 and 1 together together to achieve a disingenuous and absurd 3 does them a disservice.

      Btw, could you send me the link to the Today programme too? Many thanks.

      ‘Shalom’

      • Jim Denham said,

        Sensorite: the best brief outline of the (true) socialist view of the complexities of Israel/Palestine, is this:

        http://www.workersliberty.org/node/1739

        It’s in “Q and A” format, and sometimes the questions and answers are not entirely clearly differentiated because of poor formatting, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it.

        I have already provided a link to this morning’s Today programme, but I suspect you cannot “listen again” at the moment. You will probably be able to tomorrow (and you should!)

    • Sensorite said,

      Btw, I read the article ‘how to be criticise Israel without being anti-Semitic with interest, and at least he concedes that alot of said criticism is valid but with reference to a few of its’ points –

      1 Don’t claim that the Jews control the media/banks/country that isn’t Israel.

      There is substantial hard evidence that the Zionist lobby significantly influences media organisations including the BBC.

      2 Genocide, racism, occupation, murder, extermination—go ahead and use those terms, but leave the Holocaust out of it.

      Would you concede that memories of many supporters of the Israeli government are far too quick to label criticism of said government as ‘anti-Semitic’? Would you agree that, in doing so, they are, consciously or otherwise, evoking memories of the holocaust, which amounts to emotional blackmail of a most pernicious form? And would you also agree that, since the ‘criticism of Israel = anti-Semiticism’ discourse is so common, you cannot ‘have your cake and eat it’?

      Apologies for the ‘lawyer style’ questioning

      3 Don’t expect Jews to apologise for the behaviour of the Israeli govt

      Fair enough, and this is an ‘unloaded question’ but, out of interest, would you also agree that it was unnecessary for so many Mullahs etc to ‘apologise’ for 911.

      Maybe I am blinkered but I see nothing in Steve Bell’s comments which qualify as ‘anti-Semiticism’ as such and look forward to you sending me the link so I can judge for myself.

      A final point. Not everyone has the benefit of our ‘liberal education’ and since Israel is the one and only ‘jewish state’ is it entirely surprising that alot of people equate Israel with Judaism? As the piece states, anti-Semiticism is on the rise. Is it possible that if we are GENUINELY concerned about anti-semiticism, rather than just using it as an argumentative weapon, then we should be trying to persuade the Israeli govt to act in a more peaceable and accommodating way. Just a thought….

      Sorry about the long responses but I look forward to your answers :)

    • Sensorite said,

      Please please please see my last comment as it’s mainly directed to you. By the way, what do you mean by the Israeli’s right to ‘self-determination’. Is that what people are denying?

      Re your comment to someone else here, are you SERIOUSLY suggesting that anti-Semitism is being ‘downplayed’?

  9. Jim Denham said,

    Danny: if you really want to claim that Bell was “quite calm” during that discussion, and that Pollard was the one being provocative, then you are free to do so (though I’d seriously question your judgement). Readers can judge for themselves by following the link I’ve provided to the Today programme and listening: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/default.stm

    Your other points are equally wrong (or, to be precise, one-sided and simplistic, leading all too often to seriously bad political conclusions).

  10. Danny O'Dare said,

    What “seriously bad political conclusions” are these?

  11. Jim Denham said,

    Danny

    Q: “What “seriously bad political conclusions” are these?”

    A: Denying the right of Israel to exist and opposition to 2 States, exaggerated beliefs in the power and influence of Jews in the media and US defence policy (eg: Mearsheimer and Walt) and other such conspiracy-theories, downplaying antisemitism and suggesting that there is a knee-jerk response of crying “antisemitism” to all criticism of Israel, comparisons between “Zionists” and Nazism etc, etc…

    … in fact, this lot:

    http://shirazsocialist.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/how-to-criticise-israel-without-being-antisemitic/

    I am not, btw suggesting that you, personally, are guilty of all (or even any) of the above.

    • Sensorite said,

      I’ll read the article and thanks for sending it. Believe it or not I have actually studied this issue but am always, of course, open to open and fair-minded analyses.

      I actually haven’t heard the Today programme in question and can’t find your link, so if you could post it to me it would be much appreciated .
      Cheers

  12. Malte Brigge said,

    I wish to insert a different strand into this debate. It is now a commonplace of political and theocratic elites to pathologise open critical (rather than cooperational) opposition by any means possible. I criticise Blair – I am suffering from ‘anti-modernisition’ syndrome, I criticise Bush and Clinton – I am suffering from ‘anti-Americanism’, I criticise the young Pakistani men who threatended to ‘kill’ both the audience and the Muslim woman who was speaking at the event I was attending – I am suffering from ‘Islamophobia’, I criticise the Chinese government’s appalling treament of its coal miners – I am a ‘Sinophobe’, – get the picture?
    What this kind of bracketing does is to instrumentalise a dubious clinical discourse into a repressive series of easy and convenient tropes. The criticism about the Scarf cartoon is getting pretty close to this mode and members of the left should be aware that this pathologising of criticism is in fact a deeply authoritarian gesture. It is a quick and easy gesture that can be deployed before any attempt at immanent understanding – that is part of its authoritarian charm. I often wonder in these cases, if the denunciations actually replicate the political guilt they seek to repudiate.

  13. Jim Denham said,

    Sensorite: here’s the link to today’s Today programme:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/default.stm

    The Pollard/Bell “debate” starts at about 2:20.40

  14. BobFromBrockley said,

    a. I pretty much agree with Jim’s conclusions. I don’t see the Scarfe cartoon as antisemitic, though I can see how its blood libel connotations make it a bad choice for Holocaust Memorial Day. I think that the reception of the cartoon was over-determined by the previous brouhaha about David Ward, whose comments (and those of some of his supporters) *were* antisemitic.

    b. The Einstein quote including “my great sadness” is almost certainly a fake. It does *not* appear in the collective open letter (a good clue would be the first person singular pronoun).

    c. Sensorite’s responses to the How not to Criticise Israel piece are pretty dodgy. For example, the notion that “the Zionist lobby” significantly influences the BBC is not based in any evidence, but even if it were true, that would not mean that “Jews” “control” the media – the fact that Sensorite thinks they mean the same thing speaks volumes.

    d. I don’t think it is helpful to claim that Bell, Ward or even Sensorite are “antisemites”. In a way, it doesn’t matter if they are or not, whatever “being antisemitic” might mean. What matters is the perpetuation of antisemitic images, myths, discourses, narratives – such as the blood libel or the Jewish control meme. These could probably be expressed innocently, but would still be wrong. It is these discourses that hurt, not what is in the soul of a cartoonist.

    • Sensorite said,

      A I have quoted from a letter which suggests that the Einstein quote is genuine. The quote begins ‘It would be MY greatest sadness to see Zionists’ (1st person). If you are going to claim falsehood at least provide some evidence.

      B I have just seen that the cartoon in question is not the one on this blog and can see that it probably isn’t the best cartoon to publish on Holocaust Memorial Day

      C I admit you make a decent point in that I shouldn’t, and didn’t mean to, claim that Zionist and jewish lobby are the same. I do have evidence for this claim however, some from the right wing writer Peter Oborne, some from research from the UK Palestine Solidairy Campaign which I fear you would therefore dismiss.

      One simple example. The BBC refused to play a ‘pop single’ in support of the Palestinians because it contained the word ‘Palestine’.

      Apologies too if this is wrong but the most powerful JEWISH lobby group re Israel is APAC, which is 4 square behind Netanyahu. Israel is the world’s only ‘Jewish state’. Likud has just won a democratic election with another thumping majority for Likud. This may be partly due to the vagaries Is it really so amazing that people occasionally mix the 2/3 up?

      People often wrongly accuse Islam of being this and that when mean Wahhabism. In fact, so often that it would be impossible for muslim ‘apologists’ to go around correcting the ‘perpetrators’ of the false link.

      The point is, unless we are living in different universes, is that Israel is pursuing/pursues policies which are deeply immoral and often murderous. Does this not concern you at all. Your obsession/pre-occupation with slight possible ‘freudian slips’ (anti-semitic?) suggests not. I have yet to read a piece on the anti-Semiticism of Ward’s comments and this cartoon which acknowledges that the Israeli is violating international law, not to mention basic human values.

      By the way, Gerald Kaufman recently made a speech where he said (apologies if I have slightly misquoted him) that ‘my grandmother did not die in the holocaust to give cover for the murder of grandmothers in Gaza’. Is he an anti-semite too?

      The anti-semitic charge is used by everyone (sorry for the generalisation) from the writer of this piece to the Israeli ambassador following the latest bombing campaign. It is used, I am sure, often because of perceived mental connection (by some) between the jewish people and the holocaust. I presume/hope you are not trying to make this link but the point stands.

      Anti Israel = Anti semitic = pro holocaust. This is one of the cheapest, dirtiest and most abhorrent political tricks I can think of.

      Could it also be that the concentration on possible anti-semiticism is a deliberate red-herring to divert attention from the behaviour of the Israeli govt and army?

      If none of this makes sense to you I despair, but should you be jewish is not for this reason and therefore is not anti-semitic!

      If nothing else this has taught me to ultra-careful when commenting on issues such as this but I’m not sure how useful a lesson this is. Let’s look at the bigger picture for a minute.

      Did Ward, Scarfe or Bell for a minute suggest that the holocaust was not one of, if not the worst genocide in history? No. Are there not, therefore more important things to devote our energy to like the atrocious circumstances the Palestinians find themselves in. Apologies if this is anti-Semitic but, for me, the answer is a definitive YES!!!!

  15. Jim Denham said,

    Bell’s Graun colleague Martin Rowson manages to completely miss the point, as well as erecting several straw men (notably the erroneous suggestions that those of us who’ve expressed uneaase about Scarfe’s cartoon object to “offensive” cartoons in general, and/or want to see such cartoons banned and/or want special rules for Jewish targets of satire):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2013/jan/29/scarfe-netanyahu-cartoon-offensive-hurrah

    • Sensorite said,

      Did Ward, Scarfe or Bell for a minute suggest that the holocaust was not one of, if not the worst genocide in history? No. Are there not, therefore more important things to think about like the atrocious circumstances the Palestinians find themselves in. Apologies if this is anti-Semitic but, for me, the answer is a definitive YES!!!!
      Honestly, do you really think this ‘righteous offence’ does your cause, whatever it is, any favours? I admit, as Scarfe has done, that you could say that this should not have gone out on holocaust memorial day?

      The apology went to Mr Netanyahu, one of the nastiest premiers in the world to one of the nastiest editors. Are they political bedfellows of yours?

      Does no-one here actually care about one the central issues which is the behaviour of said premier and his predecessors or is it all about whether a cartoon in a slightly, allegedly left-wing newspaper in the UK is evocative of a 12th century myth about jews? What planet are you on, and more to the point, what century are you in?

      Why are you so absurdly sensitive? What is your agenda? I can’t believe this is supposed to be a left-wing blog. God knows what the Daily Mail ones must be saying!

      OK, so we live in an imperfect world and some people are prone to prejudice, in case you hadn’t noticed. I would suggest that jews are not the main recipients of it at the moment but whatever. Baring this in mind, people will have noted that Israel is ‘the jewish state’, so who is doing more to harm the cause of ‘pro-Semiticism’, Gerald Scarfe or Benjamin Netanyahu?

      I know you think I’m an ignorant anti-semite, and on the first count you may be partially right, but people who have a sense of justice have a right to be involved in the debate. It would be great if you could answer at least some of my questions rather than posting more critiques of critiques that might conceivably be seen as ‘anti-Semitic’!

    • BobFromBrockley said,

      a. I am probably being stupid, but I see no link to any letter where Einstein says the thing Sensorite “quoted” him saying.

      b. The BBC were wrong to censor the Mic Righteous “free Palestine” lyric, but that is one example of them avoiding controversy; there are plenty of examples that other commentators see as anti-Israel bias. Personally, I think the BBC makes wrong decisions in both directions, ending up more or less balanced. To claim “Jewish” or “Zionist” undue influence, let alone control, over them is an antisemitic lie. To bolster that claim by making reference to a US lobby organisation, which has zero influence over the BBC, is even more ridiculous. AIPAC is, yes, a Zionist lobby group, but it is not a “Jewish lobby”; claiming it has some kind of malignant control over US, let alone UK politics and media, is absurd and racist. And then the claim about Likud – who received no “thumping majority” but rather 23%, less than a quarter. In fact, even adding Shas and the further right Jewish Home comes to 41% of the vote, so the notion that Likudnik politics, Israel, Zionists and Jews are all one single thing is as racist as saying all Muslims are Wahhabi terrorists.

      Leftists who care about racism, like Jim, do not need to debate Israel’s violation of international law to know whether Ward’s comments are racist, just as we wouldn’t need to debate the morality of al-Qaeda to know that the EDL are Islamophobic. It’s simply not relevant.

      The suggestion that because Palestinian suffering is more serious we shouldn’t care about antisemitism (or “anti-semiticism” as Sensorite insists on calling it) is also obscene. Should we ignore everyday sexism because people are being killed in Burma? Should we forget about hospital closures because Islamists are cutting off people’s hands in Mali? Should we go easy on Islamophobes because Assad is slaughtering Syrians? Of course not, and of course we shouldn’t let antisemitism from the likes of Ward and Bell off the hook because what is happening in Palestine is more serious. To claim that being serious about racism is a tactic to distract from Israel’s actions is a completely out of order point to make.

      • Sensorite said,

        OK. You make some fair and funny points especially at the end and I’m greatly relieved to read that you do actually care about the plight of the Palestinians and not only cartoons which might conceivably be seen as anti-Semitic. I’m also relieved to read that Likud only achieved 23% of votes cast. 41% voting for them or further right parties is alot but point taken. Like I say, I admit my knowledge is embarrassingly sketchy in some areas.

        Re the Einstein quote. The quote and following debate about its’ authenticity is to be found here;

        http://skepticaesoterica.com/debunking-fake-albert-einstein-quotes.

        If you google ‘Einstein Israel quotes’ you should find the other one.

        I’d just like to re-iterate what I actually said in the post you refer to;

        ‘Apologies too if this is wrong but the most powerful JEWISH lobby group re Israel is APAC.

        Note I said ‘re Israel’. And it is a jewish lobby group, is it not?.

        At 2 points you accuse me of racism.

        1 To suggest that APAC has some ‘malignant’ control over US policy is absurd racist. Actually I didn’t say it has control, although I would have thought it was obvious that has considerable influence, as does the ‘gun lobby’ for example. Shall we split hairs? And who used the word ‘malignant’? Why are you putting words into my mouth? If you genuinely do think these points have anti-semitic racist overtones then I’m genuinely sorry, but if every time someone makes a point about Israel someone reads ‘racism’ between the lines it will be very hard to make progress. Since Obama is mixed-race, does make every criticism of him racist? No – only if we mention his RACE. By the way, would it be a good idea to see if there are any potential racist connotations in the many cartoons of him?

        2 Worse, you claim that my suggestion that the BBC is unduly influenced by the ‘Zionist lobby’ is RACIST. This really takes the biscuit. Are you actually unable to have a debate about Israel without claiming that those who you disagree with are racist? If this is the voice of the left then we are in worse trouble than I thought. You may not agree with it, but on what planet is it racist? If there is a census which accidentally over-estimates the jewish population of the UK would it be a racist census? I note also that you are seem no longer content to use the word ‘anti-semitic’. Now it’s ‘racist’. Hmmmm.

        Just for the record, I wasn’t claiming that APAC influences the UK media. That’s why I start a different paragraph. I make 3 points A,B and C.so I think it’s pretty clear, although I should have made it clear I was talking about the US in said paragraph.

        Like I say, I’m glad that you find time to worry about abiit of blood in a cartoon, and to find racism in an objective discussion of media bias, as well being concerned the Israeli blockade and Netanyahu’s mission to end any hope of peace in Israel/Palestine, but bear in mind that there are only so many hours in the day!

      • Sensorite said,

        By the way, since Jim (you – I dont know? I’m being directed to Jim Denham) has brought up the question I was regrettably waiting for about the Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed with a bomb on his head, what do you think about the widespread calls, often taken up, for muslims to apologise for the September 11th attacks? It really is a not a loaded question but I’d welcome any thoughts. My perspective is that, in the same way that it is of course not accurate or helpful to ‘blame’ all jews for the policies of the Israeli government, it is certainly not up to muslims to apologise for the actions of terrorists.

        Any thoughts?

      • Jim Denham said,

        It would be outrageous to ask Muslims to “apologise” for the 9/11 attacks, just as it’s outrageous to demand that Jews denounce Israel or “Zionism” in order to be accepted on the left or in a union like the UCU.

    • Sensorite said,

      Of course. The reason I ask is that you hear people like Richard Dawkins complaining that mullahss did not apologise loudly enough and many high-profile muslims did apologise. I feel there was no need for them to do so, as I say.

    • Sensorite said,

      By the way, since you sent me the list of ‘how to be anti Israel without being anti-semitic’ I hope you may find this list of ‘how to judge whether criticism of Israel is anti-semitic that I found in an article from media-lens

      http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/alerts-2013/717-cartoon-politics-rupert-murdoch-the-pro-israel-lobby-and-israel-s-crimes.html

      Here’s the list –

      ‘1. It is not directed at Jews: There is absolutely nothing in the cartoon which identifies its subject as a Jew. [...] Netanyahu is an Israeli politician who was just elected by a quarter of Israeli voters, not a Jewish symbol or a global representative of the Jews.

      ‘2. It does not use Holocaust imagery: [...] there is nothing in Scarfe’s cartoon that can put the Holocaust in mind. Perhaps someone thinks that the wall should remind us of the ghetto, but don’t forget, Scarfe is the original designer of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Should the Sunday Times have not published the cartoon on International Holocaust Memorial Day? Only if one believes that is a day in which Israeli politicians have immunity from being caricatured. [...]

      ‘3. There was no discrimination: [...]. Netanyahu’s depiction is grossly offensive and unfair, but that is only par for the course for any politician when Scarfe is at his drawing-board. Scarfe has spent his entire career viciously lampooning the high and mighty – Netanyahu is in illustrious company.

      ‘4. This is not what a blood libel looks like: Some have claimed that the blood-red cement Netanyahu is using in the cartoon to build his wall indicates a blood libel motif. Well of course it’s blood but is anyone seriously demanding that no cartoon reference to Israeli or Jewish figures can contain a red fluid?

      The 1st 3, I feel, are a start for what should be a charter for deciding whether something is anti-semitic or not, In the same way that one would think very carefully before describing something as ‘racism’, the same vigilance should be used before the term ‘anti-semitic’ is used, owing to it’s connotations of holocaust denial etc, thus amounting to, as I’ve said before, emotional blackmail of the lowest order.

      • Jim Denham said,

        Sensorite: you may recall that I (in the main post) have stated that, on balance, I don’t think the Scarfe cartoon is antisemitic.

        Also:

        1/ I hate Netenyahu and have no problem with him being attacked and ridiculed as viciously as you like…

        2/ But I also think that cartoonists, however scatological, wild, untrammelled, irreverent, etc (as Bell and Rowson like to describe themselves, with reference to Hogarth, Gillray and Cruikshank), still need to be careful about racial stereoptyping…

        3/ For instance, in the 1970s, some UK cartoonists portrayed Idi Amin as a monkey or gorilla: they would have (I think, did) claim(ed) this was nothing to do with racism, but merely a satirical comment/image upon a brutal head of state who acted like a wild beast. I don’t think anyone, these days, would accept that explanation.

        4/ Similarly, although satirical attacks, however vicious, upon Netenyahu are clearly in order, I would ask the cartoonists to avoid offensive stereotypes and references, even thouigh those references may not be intended. I suspect that some cartoonists aren’t even aware of the historic significance of the images they use, like Bell with his “puppet-master” image of Netenyahu, and the Independent’s Dave Brown with this, based upon Goya’s ‘Saturn eating his Own Children': http://www.amptoons.com/blog/2003/01/31/the-independent-responds-to-antisemitic-cartoon-charges/

        Brown may well have been telling the truth when he said that he wasn’t aware of the ‘blood libel’ or how his cartoon could be seen as a reference to it. But that doesn’t excuse him, except in the sense that ignorance *should* perhaps, be an explanation, though not an excuse.

  16. Malte Brigge said,

    I have yet to hear from any of the ‘critics’ who are so keen to parade their moral exibitionism here, what is actually anti-semitic in the cartoon. Do I read any close formal analysis of the cartoon subsequently shown to be attached to repressive ideological conclusions? No! Do I read any historical analysis of racist and Jew-bating cartoons to which this cartoon may be attached? No! Do I see any plausible interpretative or decryptive analysis whereby the cartoon can be shown to be a coded anti-Semitic attack? No!
    At a loss to make any serious crtical points these denunciators fallback to a rather shallow position that attacks Bell as an ‘idiot’ or ‘probable anti-Semite’ (a notion I do not understand) and sniping attacks on people who don’t see anything anti-Semitic in the cartoon. Do not make vague and insinuating but nonetheless very serious accusations about people from a pseudo-psychologcal position based on notions of your own unproven ‘insights’ (perhaps they should try to be more like you eh?). Explain the anti-Semetic form and content of the cartoon and once convinced you have my agreement and unswerving support. Babble on about ‘probable’ anti-Semites and what people should or should not say or think and you remain ridiculous. You are telling not showing, always a bad sign!

    • Sensorite said,

      Sorry to chime in again. but I think the objection to the cartoon (not the one pictured on this blog) is that it is obliquely evocative ‘blood libel';

      ‘Specifically, critics of the cartoon are accusing it of “blood libel,” a centuries-old false accusation that Jews used the blood of slaughtered Christians in rituals, including the preparation of matzah. According to the Anti-Defamation League, which has called for an apology from the Times, the charge dates back to the 12th century, when a young boy was found dead in Norwich, England, and a monk accused Jews of torturing and killing the child in a mock crucifixion.

      “This is the stuff which historically justified hatred of Jews and led to the wholesale slaughter of Jews,” ADF International Affairs Director Michael A. Salberg told the Algemeiner.

      The definition of blood libel in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, as referenced in a 2011 BBC article, explains further that blood libel can represent a “form of the belief that Jews had been and still were responsible for the passion and crucifixion of Jesus Christ” and “popular beliefs about the murder-lust of the Jews and their bloodthirstiness, based on the conception that Jews hate Christianity and mankind in general.” Inferences to Jewish ritualistic murder were also used in Nazi propaganda in the 1930s.

      At least, that’s what I found on the ‘International Business Times’ website – http://www.ibtimes.com/rupert-murdoch-condemns-sunday-times-netanyahu-cartoon-what-blood-libel-1046120.

      Sorry to repeat, but just to round off, I agree with Scarfe that Holocaust Memorial Day was not a good day to publish such a cartoon but feel that any other day it could not be fairly seen as anti-Semitic.

  17. BobFromBrockley said,

    I largely agree with Malte Brigge’s first point about pathologising opposition and the dangers of a pseudo-psychological analysis. I don’t think it is in the least helpful to say that Bell is an antisemite, that he’s mad, etc. Except for those who make antisemitism the central part of their ideological armoury (the Gilad Atzmons and David Dukes), there’s no need to be about labelling people as “antisemites”, let alone go around unmasking secret ones.

    Nevertheless, there are a significant number of instances (among the massive amount of Israel-criticism) of antisemitic narratives, images, discourses. These can be expressed innocently and in good faith by decent people who don’t know what they are doing, as well as by the Atzmons and Dukes who know exactly what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter if Bell is one of the former or one of the latter; what matters is the effect of his cartoon.

    (Exactly the same thing would be said about the very large number of disgusting racist cartoons about Barack Obama. Antisemitism is a member of the family of racism, not some other kind of beast.)

    Two of the most deeply embedded racist narratives about Jews are the blood libel and the myth of Jewish world domination. These narratives are antisemitic even when they don’t explicitly mention the Jewishness of their protagonists – just as a cartoon about Obama can be racist even without explicitly mentioning Obama’s blackness but draws on racist images of blackness, such as the myth of the savage African or the sexually insatiable black man.

    The blood libel is the story, widely believed by Christians in former times, that Jews ritually kill gentiles (specifically, gentile children) and do ritual things with their blood, such as baking it into matzo for Passover. Historically, pogroms against Jews have been frequently triggered by false accusations based on the blood libel.

    As Sensorite says, some people claim that the Scarfe cartoon, with a blood-thirsty Netanyahu taking in pleasure in the blood of gentiles, including gentile children, draws on the imagery of the blood libel. I don’t think this is true, especially viewed alongside Scarfe’s extreme depictions of other tyrants engaged in obscene brutality.

    The myth of Jewish control has historically often been perpetuated in images of Jews as octopi manipulating the world with their multiple tentacles, or as puppet masters secretly pulling the strings of elected leaders. Again, this image has been used as a licence for genocide and continues to justify violence against Jews. It is this image that Bell perpetuated in his cartoon, which is why it was antisemitic, whatever his motivation.

    The image of Jewish tentacular power is also perpetuated in false claims about Jewish control of the media and of the “Zionist lobby’s” extraordinary string-pulling powers, even when these claims are made innocently in good faith by decent people. Hence the “How to criticise Israel” piece says (rightly) that claiming that “the Jews” control the media is antisemitic. Sensorite suggests that actually the claim is at least rooted in fact: “There is substantial hard evidence that the Zionist lobby significantly influences media organisations including the BBC.” This response doesn’t make sense: the Zionist lobby is not “the Jews” and “significantly influences” is not control. If I said “The blacks control the world”, you wouldn’t say “He’s got a point, the president of America is black.” It’s apples and oranges. When you say that the apples are *really* oranges, you’re buying into a conspiratorial account of the world that rests on the racist myth of Jewish secret power.

    When I questioned Sensorite’s claims about the BBC, the response was to bring in AIPAC and Likud, increasingly tenuous links in a conspiratorial chain. No, AIPAC is not a Jewish lobby, let alone the Jewish lobby. I don’t know how many of its staff and supporters are Jewish, but it is a pro-Israel lobby, one of an almost endless list of lobby groups deforming American politics. (If all of the NRA staff and donors were white, we’d still call it the gun lobby and not the white lobby.)

    And, finally, we should be able to engage in discussion over this sort of racism without taking up the issue of Israel. I am not interested in a debate about Israel. Harsh critics of Israel – Owen Jones, even George Galloway – could see that Ward’s comments about “the Jews” were antisemitic; when they called him out on it they were not censoring debate about Israel, they were condemning racism. We don’t put aside our objection to racism for the sake of our political positions on Israel.

    • Sensorite said,

      Didn’t want to get into a debate about the Zionist lobby in the UK as it makes me angry and upset but pls, if you would like evidence, watch this documentary from Peter Oborne, mainly about the substantial Zionist lobby in this country, but also about the media incl the BBC. Oborne, who you may not like, is, however, a right-wing commentator and not one of the ‘usual suspects’. Nor is Gerald Kaufman, whose ‘anti-semitic’ speech you have not mentioned. Included again.

      You may disagree, but is Oborne, in making these claims, an ‘anti-Semite’?

      Once again, I did NOT say that APAC is British. It IS, however, the most powerful ZIONIST lobby group in the US. Maybe not all it’s members are jewish. Maybe not all the members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, were coloured. Would it, however, be racist to describe it as an “African American’ group?

      There are many cartoons and depictions of Obama which could be described as accentuating his African American features. Does anyone post complaining of their racism? If so, fair enough, but I would argue, given there are only so many hours in the day, there are other things to worry about. Also, I’m sure you’ll hate this but, maybe the African American community realises that CONSTANTLY laying claim to ‘special victim status’ does their cause no good. To his credit, Obama generally goes out of his way to avoid race being an issue.

      More pertinently, perhaps, the Daily Mail recently ran an article about Adam Afriyie, whom they describe as ‘the Tory Obama’. In fact, the only notable trait Afriyie shares with the mixed-race (generally referred to as ‘black’) is that he is not ‘white’. Are there any posts on this arguably racist comparison. Indeed, has it even been mentioned in the media?

      I am somewhat distressed to read that you are not interested in a debate on Israel, but given that the ‘offensive’ cartoon which has, at worst, oblique connotations of the ‘blood libel’ myth of which most Britons are not even aware was of the premier of Israel, I suggest it is somewhat naive that people, when discussing this particular storm in a tea-cup, will discuss the allegations of the very subject matter of it i.e. the behaviour of the Israeli government, without discussing the behaviour of Israel!

      I rest my case, (for now!), probably to the relief of many!

    • Sensorite said,

      Just one (ish) more thing I forgot to mention. You suggested that the cartoon depicts ‘a blood-thirsty Netanyahu taking in pleasure in the blood of gentiles, including gentile children’. Really? He is using (blood) cement to make a wall. Is there any suggestion of whether the blood is ‘gentile’ or not, and where are the children. I would have thought any reasonable person living in the 21st century would have assumed it was the blood of Paletinians. Either you are ultra-sensitive or you have a hidden agenda, I would suggest, despite your claim to be ‘not interested in a debate about Israel’.

      I also note that you, apparently, dislike ‘pseudo psychological’ claims or anti-Semiticism etc. Are you not, however, suggesting that somehow this cartoon evokes some distant ‘race memory’ from several centuries ago. If not, apologies.

      Finally, on me, apparently evoking a myth that jews have world domination. The Zionist lobby have a significant impact on Western foreign policy, I would say to disastrous and murderous effect. This is about the 19th-21st centuries, here and now. Dispute this, if you must, but leave cheap and VERY nasty ‘criticism of Zionism = criticism of jews = apologetics for the holocaust out of it.

      I’m just trying to give the reverse of your argument. Hope you understand.

      Thank you

  18. Malte Brigge said,

    If you conjure the traditional anti-Semitic ‘blood libel’ when you see blood in a cartoon, even when that cartoon has no reference other than ‘blood’ to any of the tropes and images of the anti-Jewish blood-libel fantasy configuration (the stealing and murdering of children, the use of blood sacrifice in obscure religious rituals and so on), then you are the one with the problem!

  19. Malte Brigge said,

    I neglected to add one point but I think it is a necessary one. I do not see the anti-Semitism of the cartoon and I have yet to read any plausible descriptive anlaysis of it that changes my mind. However, the timing of the its publication was deeply inappropriate. I categorically refuse to believe that this was ‘accidental’. I simply do not accept that an international and ‘serious’ newspaper would do this ‘accidentally’. In this respect, the editor and deputy editor are culpable and should either be dismissed or pilloried. It is my contention that all the talk about the actual cartoon and whether Scarf is an ‘anti-Semite’ or not, actually detracts or masks the crucial question of what can only be described as a strategic or calculated act of provocation on behalf of the editorial staff at the paper. In this sense, the timing carries an anti-Semitic intent but that cartoon is not!

    • Clive said,

      How on earth are they culpable for anything if there’s nothing wrong with the cartoon? You can’t have it both ways.

      • Malte Brigge said,

        I did consider this possilbity, but think that it is incorrect Clive. A phenomenon, artefact or even an action that is relatively innocuous in itself can be positioned and rendered as an offensive ‘weapon’ or degenrate ideological attack by means of manipulation, timing, framing, positioning, exageration and so on. For example, I think that child abusing priests should be prosecuted and jailed to the full extent of the law and that the Catholic church should be severly criticised for sheltering or at least helping to mask these criminals. I would not have a problem with cartoon depicting this scenario. However, when I was invited to my friend’s daughter’s first holy communion, if I went around ranting about Catholic child abuse and handing out the cartoon to the assembled guests, would it not be correct for some to think that I was simply manipulating the issue (even if the depiction was not anti-Catholic as such) for a simple-minded anti-Catholic diatribe? See what I mean? A bread knife is just a bread knife until some deranged mugger uses it as weapon. I feel the same about the Scarf cartoon I think. I maintain that the editors are more sinister in their intentions than the cartoonist. I think I can justify this position.

    • Sensorite said,

      Well, don’t forget that the ‘supreme editor’ Rupert Murdoch apologised, although apparently he doesn’t know anything about editorial decisions and other malpractices in his ‘newspapers’. Is it not possible that the timing was a case of cock-up rather than conspiracy. After all, we have just had the Israeli elections so it’s unsurprising that Scarfe should want to satirise Netanyahu.

      By the way, apparently the press complaints commission are ‘investigating’ the Bell cartoon shown on this site. If they decide to take any action I would personally regard it as a very serious affront to free speech, but then I would say that wouldn’t I?

      And while I’m at it, I wonder why nobody in any mass media, or indeed here, has complained about the far more overt ‘racism’ in pieces like this recent story in The Daily Mail on ‘The Tory Obama’.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2268862/Adam-Afriyie-The-Tory-Obamas-stalking-horse-plot-oust-David-Cameron.html

  20. Jim Denham said,

    Sensorite: I am not aware of *anyone* who wishes to censor Steve Bell or Gerald Scarfe. That includes everyone I know of who has objected to some of their cartoons. I think you’ll find the people who really *do* want to ban cartoons (not to mention, killing the cartoonists) tend not to be very concerned about antisemitism, real or imagined…

    • Sensorite said,

      Well, to some extent it’s good to read that. Pollard’s comment on the ‘Today programme’ was that he doesn’t think the cartoons should be banned but the artists should feel very guilty about them, or words to the effect. I agree with Malte Brigge that any perceived connection with blood libels or historical fears of jewish domination are so tenuous that their is no reason for the cartoonists in question to feel guilty, apart from the unfortunate publishing of the recent one on holocaust memorial day.

      I also agree with the guy who wrote the follow-up article in The Guardian pointing out that it is the job of cartoonists to…..I don’t know how to continue as I’m afraid of being seen as an apologist for anti-Semitism, but I hope you see where I am coming from.

      One concern I have is that CERTAIN people seem to be requesting that the Mr Netanyahu be treated with kit-gloves because he is jewish, and I feel that this is actually potentially damaging to the jewish community. This is why I am pointing out that the ‘black community’ don’t seem to pick up so much on, often quite overt racism in the media, perhaps because there is a realisation that this could contribute to a patronising perception of black people. For example, there was not too long ago a ‘sketch’ in Little Britain suggesting that Mr Obama has a very big penis. I don’t remember any ensuing ‘hoo-hah’ and if I’m wrong about this apologies.

      Re the Danish cartoons which you are obliquely referring to, I feel the content of said cartoons is so obviously inflammatory that it’s a different kettle of fish, although I, of course, don’t feel that any cartoonist, or any other satirist, writer etc should be killed.

    • Sensorite said,

      OK, and I think you’ll probably appreciate my mercifully brief response.

      Good :)

  21. BobFromBrockley said,

    This is one of the most offensive things that’s been said in this debate: “maybe the African American community realises that CONSTANTLY laying claim to ‘special victim status’ does their cause no good.” This statement says: “don’t condemn racism, because if you are you’re claiming ‘special victim status’ and that won’t do your cause any good.” It implies that when Jews complain about antisemitism, they’re claiming ‘special victim status’. It’s like telling women not to complain about rape (“calm down dear, if you claim ‘special victim status’ men won’t treat you like grown-ups”). No-one in the comment thread here has claimed special victim status for Jews (and, as far as I can tell, those who have most sharply criticised either Bell or Scarfe in the thread here are not Jews).

    Why do I harp on about British liberal antisemitism and not about the anti-black racism of American cartoonists? Well, because I live in Britain, not America. Because I am a person of the left, who is surrounded by left-wing well-meaning people who often say things without thinking that are more or less antisemitic. Because my world is infected with antisemitism. Because I live in South London, where there are very few Jews but many black people, where the norm against anti-black racism is incredibly strong but antisemitism is often not taken seriously. Because I read papers like the Guardian which I expect to be racism-free and not like the Mail which I expect to be racist.

    I do complain about anti-black racism – I made a complaint to the Mail recently about a racist cartoon portraying black as cannibals in a way that is deeply shocking in the 21st century. But I don’t feel the need to argue about it on left-wing blogs, because no left-winger would disseminate that Daily Mail cartoon; they can see that it’s racist, but many leftists have a blind spot about antisemitism.

    Many people from “the black community” complain about the huge number of racist cartoons about Obama. Just google |Obama racist cartoon| and you’ll see that. Almost all white leftists would be sympathetic to them; why can’t white leftists see the same thing applies to anti-Jewish racism?

    Pointing to racist Obama cartoons, the racist phrase “Tory Obama” or racist requests for Muslims to apologise for 9/11 are all COMPLETELY irrelevant to the question of whether these cartoons are racist or not. None of the people here objecting to the cartoons would for one second ask Muslims to apologise for 9/11.

    And I do spend a lot of time discussing Israel (although I prefer not to do so with people who can’t talk about Israel without invoking “Jewish lobbies” and Jewish Nazis), but one’s position on Israel is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether a cartoon is antisemitic. When you see a racist cartoon of Obama, you shouldn’t say “well, his drones are killing Muslim children”.

    So, to be completely clear about why this stuff matters:

    1. Using the blood libel is not offensive because it conjures up some “race memory” (whatever that means) but because it keeps alive violent, genocidal antisemitism. The blood libel is a warrant for avenging gentile blood by killing Jews.

    2. There is nothing wrong with criticising Israel or Zionism, but attacking Jews AS JEWS is racist, as in phrases like “the Jewish lobby”, and so is repeating antisemitic myths and narratives even without explicitly using the word Jew. (Jim’s Idi Amin analogy is perfect for this, and my objection to the cannibal cartoon does not imply I endorse cannibalism.)

    By the way, I’ve looked yet again at skepticaesoterica.com and still can’t see anyone saying that Einstein ever said the thing about “my greatest sadness”, or signed a letter saying this. I feel I must be going mad, as Sensorite is very insistent, but I don’t think he said anything like this. Obviously, I can’t provide evidence that he didn’t say it, but I’ve seen no evidence he said it, certainly not in the site Sensorite cites. (Sensorite adds Btw, does this [Jews doing "to Palestinian Arabs much of what Nazis did to Jews"] bring you sadness?” Of course, what’s happening in Israel/Palestine brings me great sadness, but to describe what Israel doing to Arabs what the Nazis did to Jews is to miss the mark extraordinarily. If you can’t see the difference between Auschwitz and Gaza, there’s something really wrong with you.

    I don’t see why David Cromwell and Media Lens is a good source for whether a cartoon is antisemitic. ML has, I believe, been long-term doubters of the genocidal nature of the Srebernica massacre (which is little better than Holocaust denial), and attacked cartoonist Martin Rowson for portraying Assad as bloodthirsty coz there is apparently no evidence of his responsibility for Houla.

    Anyway, Cromwell’s article cites Jonathan Cook (a supporter of the vicious antisemite Gilad Atzmon, and is regularly quoted on David Duke’s website) dismissing Israeli peacenik Anshel Pfeffer as “Haaretz’s arbiter of all things anti-Semitic” (actually, he mainly writes on Israel/Palestine politics, from an extremely anti-Likud perspective, and rarely writes on antisemitism) and of having “hyper-sensitive measurements” (a claim only justified if you think all Jews have hyper-sensitive measurements).

    But Pfeiffer is basically right about Scarfe, as Jim already acknowledged in this post.

    Finally, a very trivial point, in the Scarfe cartoon I think it’s really clear that the victims are gentiles; they’re portrayed as Muslim and are obviously Palestinian – i.e. not Jewish. It’s true that at most it contains only one or two children. If all of the victims were children, it would float closer to the blood libel.

    • Sensorite said,

      OK. Just a few clarifications.

      Most importantly what I meant by ‘special victim status’. The email I received from the chaiman of the LibDems stated that the holocaust was an UNPARALLELED genocide. I think this common assertion, while quite possibly justified, at least deserves examination especially since, as I have suggested, allegations of anti-semitism suggest a less than robust denunciation of the holocaust – the unparalleled genocide.

      1 Genocide is genocide, and therefore uniformly reprehensible. Unlike the Lib Dem chairman I really don’t think it’s necessary or helpful to get into a grotesque discussion about whether one is even more grotesque than another, and I also really hate the idea of an equally grotesque discussion about numbers, but since the Lib Dem chairman makes this point, I’m sure you don’t need me to mention that up to half the number who died in the Nazi death-camps died in Pol Pots killing fields.

      ‘Unparalleled’ suggests, to me, something which was exponentially worse than something else. I’m not sure therefore that it is correct to say the holocaust was unparalleled, but I do know that many more learned people than me have been having this debate for decades. I believe that the, yes fairly ‘constant’, assertion, whether right or wrong, that the jewish people have suffered by far the worst genocide sometimes is often used by the Zionist lobby as ‘it’ believes it helps their cause. I’m sure you are aware of the works of Finkelstein and Chomsky who argue/explain this idea alot more articulately than I could. haven’t fully familiarised myself with them I’m not in a position to defend Mr Finkelstein and Chomsky if you have disagreement about them.

      Which brings me to the Media Lens piece I quoted from. I’m obviously not as well versed in left-wing discourse as most/many of the people who post here and so can’t comment on the authors of said piece. I just thought their tests of what constitute anti-semiticism were useful, and I stand by an important point. Sensible people are usually careful before they make accusations of racism, and they should also be very very careful before they make accusations of anti-semitism, owing to the obvious holocaust connection.

      By the way, I was talking about possible racist lampooning of Obama in The UK, not the USA. I take your point about there not being so much point in complaining about The Daily Mail here. On the other hand, racism etc shouldn’t be ignored just because it comes from the ‘usual suspects’. I expect I’m not alone here in often reading the right-wing wring press, mainly as I think it pays to ‘know your enemy’ and it’s worth ‘us’ taking ‘their’ editors to task too, as you have done, to your credit.

      Re muslims apologising for 911. I brought up the question of Islamophobia largely because Tim Denham seemed to making the point ‘at least no-one is trying to kill the cartoonists’. I’m glad that, as you say, none of the readers of this blog would suggest that muslims apologise for 911, but, for example, Richard Dawkins has complained that muslim leaders were not apologetic enough after said attack.

      Whether right or wrong, there is a common perception that Left Wing activists expend too much energy ‘fighting amongst themselves’. I’m not a left-wing activist btw ; I found this blog because of the piece on Karen Armstrong and then got the impression that the main focus of the blog was critiques of what seemed to me, fairly innocuous cartoons of Netanyahu!

      One last point. If I understood correctly, The Daily Star basically has a blanket editorial policy of Islamophobia as they believes it appeals to their readership. I’m not suggesting this means ignoring anti-semitism but, irrespective, I hope that the Left won’t concentrate too much fire power on its’ ‘own side (?)

      Anyway, I have at least learned alot from discussion, not least to be not to mistakenly call the Zionist lobby ‘the jewish lobby’….

  22. paul maleski said,

    Anti-semitism is just another jewish invention.
    Around 90% of jews worldwide are Ashkenazi. They are a lot of things but they definitely ain’t semites.

  23. Modernity's Ghost said,

    Jim

    Paul Maleski is a well known antisemite, and I use that word after consideration.

    You might re-consider whether or not he should be posting here.

  24. paul maleski said,

    Are you seriously telling the world that Abe Foxman and co. are not inbred, cruel, mass-murdering Slakhtals? Lay off so called jewish history! Don’t you ever yourself ask a simple question—: Why did not not the jew ever build a civilization? They imitate and corrupt– Watch them closely and you will see; they are but farcical clowns!

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