Saturday, March 23, 2013

A further update on the continuing normalization of anti-semitic imagery

It may seem boringly repetitive to keep pointing out that unmistakeably anti-semitic imagery—for example, hook-nosed Jews crucifying Christ-like victims, their hands dripping with the victims' blood, etc.—is routine and pervasive in Arab (and Iranian) treatments of Israel, Israelis, and actual or imaginary "Zionist" conspiracies.  It's not really news, is it?  But the fact that the routine use of anti-semitic imagery is so ordinary, unremarkable, and taken-for-granted in some parts of the world is precisely what's worth noticing.

This cartoon from Al Jazeera (included in a roundup of Arab media responses to Obama's trip to Israel) is one interesting recent example.

אובמה נושא מזוודת "סיוע" ומבטיח לישראל: "ליבנו אתכם". מתוך אל-ג'זירה
Al Jazeera: Obama sympathizes with Israel, gives aid

Actually, as David Hirsh of Engage has pointed out in some previous cartoon roundups, the ongoing resurgence in the pervasiveness and respectability of anti-semitic imagery is not a tendency confined to Arab and Islamic societies but is a phenomenon of world-wide scope—including western countries—though obviously it takes different forms and reaches different levels of virulence in different areas. And it may be worth noting that, in some ways, this particular cartoon is tastefully restrained.  At least there are no Jews cutting up babies in butcher shops, Jews wallowing in vats of non-Jewish blood, Nazi-like caricatures of Jews as puppet-masters ruling the world, and that sort of thing.

—Jeff Weintraub