Thursday, 4 December 2008
London gallery shows anti-Semitism in Arab media
"Cartoons and Extremism: Israel and the Jews in Arab and Western Media" will run until January 16, with a possible extension, at the Political Cartoon Gallery in central London.
The exhibition shows the frequent use of classic anti-Semitism to demonize the State of Israel. Appearing in publications across the Arab world, the cartoons revive depictions of Jews as sadistic and bloodthirsty monsters, solely interested in money, power and blood, to use as anti-Israel propaganda.
They depict Jews as set apart from the rest of humanity, agents of the devil, all-powerful manipulators, warmongers, killers of prophets and innocents, and the eternal enemies of all mankind.
The exhibition marked the launch of an English-languge version of Belgian academic Dr. Joel Kotek's book, Cartoons and Extremism: Israel and the Jews in Arab and Western Media, published in the UK by Vallentine Mitchell.
The exhibition was curated by the Community Security Trust (CST) and Dr. Simon Cohen. Speaking at the launch, Labor MP Denis MacShane, chairman of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism and author of the recently published book, Globalizing Hatred: The New Anti-Semitism, said the exhibition needed to be seen by the wider world.
"Parliamentarians, journalists and ambassadors in London should find time to come to this exhibition of cartoons to see what is poisoning young minds and promoting hate against Jews and Israel, which is not acceptable for any faith or nation," MacShane said.
CST's director of communications Marc Gardner cited two examples of anti-Semitic imagery in the British press that sparked outrage in the Jewish community and were seen as a modern day revival of the medieval blood libel.
Citing the New Statesman magazine cover of January 14, 2002 - which used a gold Magen David piercing and dominating a prostrate British flag with the title "A kosher conspiracy?" - and a cartoon in The Independent newspaper published on Holocaust Memorial Day 2003, showing then-prime minister Ariel Sharon eating a baby.
"I don't believe that either of these people want to see Jews beaten up or Israel annihilated, but they are very important case studies about the creeping anti-Semitic bias that inevitably shadows overt anti-Israel sentiment," Gardner said.
"These images, for Jews at least, have blatant anti-Semitic resonance, but they came from the most respectable of publishers, both of whom then showed a blatant contempt for mainstream Jewish concerns about contemporary anti-Semitism.
"Yet both cases also show what is perhaps the most important, yet largely unspoken, anti-Semitic canard in Britain today: namely, that local Jewish communal bodies and activists are nothing more than fifth columnists, Zionist outriders for the fundamentally evil State of Israel and its American blood brother. And, when these same Jews then complain about anti-Semitism, doesn't that only prove that they are trying to cover up Israel's indefensible crimes?" he said.
Source: article by Jonny Paul, TJP