Tuesday, January 29, 2013

British cartoonists turn history on its head

 Ariel Sharon drinking the blood of Palestinian children (Al-Watan, Qatar, 2002)

 What is it with British cartoonists?  Steve Bell of the Guardian, Gerald Scarfe of the Sunday Times and Dave Brown of the Independent all seem to have lost their moral compass when it comes to the Middle East, producing work indistinguishable from the blood libels of the Arab press. Steve Bell believes the very opposite of the truth: that Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Has he never heard of the 800, 000 Jews who really were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries? As the Scarfe cartoon scandal rages on, read Melanie Philips' masterful blogpost, Britain's infernal cocktail of hate.

Update:  Harry's Place is having an interesting discussion on what Steve Bell does or doesn't understand by ethnic cleansing.

"For Bell, Israel is itself a tyrannical entity which perpetrated the greatest possible atrocity upon the supposedly rightful inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, by driving them out. For Bell, it is now clear, the outrage is not the behaviour of Netanyahu but the fact that Israel exists at all.

"But of course, Bell’s belief is the very opposite of the truth. It was not the Arabs who were ethnically cleansed from Palestine; it was the Arabs who tried to ethnically cleanse the Jews from there, by mounting a war of extermination against the re-established Jewish homeland. It was the Jews, not the Arabs, who were the ethnic group with the overwhelming historical, moral and legal claim to the land, as the international community had recognised. And it was Jews – some 800,000 of them -- who really were then ethnically cleansed from Arab countries and who found refuge in Israel.

"But then Bell does not appear to understand the moral difference between tyrants and their victims. For he also observed that no-one had objected to Scarfe’s cartoon the previous week which portrayed Syria’s President Assad slicing the head off a baby. It is certainly true that Scarfe has often drawn such images of Assad, such as this one, or this one, and regularly depicts tyrants steeped in blood.

"But the crucial point is that Netanyahu is not a tyrant who murders innocents; Assad is. Netanyahu is defending his people against mass murder; Assad has been deliberately killing thousands of his own citizens in order to suppress revolution. Bell’s comparison is morally obtuse to a quite staggering degree. He appears not to understand the difference between a crime against humanity and the protection against a crime against humanity."

Read article in full


Rich Jenn said...

Melanie Philips is hardly a reliable source of opinion on ANYTHING.
No, the cartoon was not anti-semetic, it was anti Zionist, and the deliberate attempt to portray both as identical is a notable characteristic of the defenders of the deeply disturbing actions and aims of the right wing parties in control of the Israeli state.

bataween said...

Even anti-Zionists don't have a right to play fast and loose with the facts.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

I for one commend Melanie Philips for her excellent column. Next I would like the UK govt and perhaps the Queen as well, to acknowledge the British role as silent partner in the Holocaust. Is it a desire to divest themselves of guilt in re the Holocaust that motivates British anti-Zionism?

Anonymous said...

very depressing and distressing cartoon.
Are we going to re-live all that again?
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