More than two months ago, following the cartoon scandal and the outrage of the Muslim world that ensued, a group of Israelis announced their own anti-Jewish cartoons contest. At the time, they received very wide coverage in the Israeli media and Jewish supportive press around the world. At the end of the day, the Israelis in particular, and Jews in general, insist on being ‘seen’ as open-minded beings, people who can easily handle self-mockery.
The contest is now over. More than a few cartoons were submitted from around the world, many of them made by Jews and Israelis. Most of the cartoons are hilariously vicious, but — how can one put it — the Jewish and the Israeli media are now far less enthusiastic about the entire issue of self-mockery. Two out of the four jurists (Art Spiegelman and Amos Biderman) were quick to distance themselves from the contest, dismissing the submissions as disappointing, low quality work. While Spiegelman suggested that the cartoons were “frightening for being too real, lack any sense of irony, and look very much like genuine Anti-Semitic cartoons,” Biderman insisted that the illustrations are not funny at all and fall into the category of “letting the shit hit the fan.”
“We don’t think this is the right way,” said a spokesman for the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. The Simon Wiesenthal Center dismissed the contest as “gallows humor.” Once it was clear what the imagery of the cartoons might suggest, Israeli mainstream press imposed upon itself a complete silence.
It is fairly clear that the artists who sent in their cartoons have something to say about the devastating Jewish reality, something that Israeli and Jewish media would prefer to brush under the carpet. As it seems, the two artists behind the contest (Eyal Zusman and Amitai Sandi) were abandoned. The Israelis and the Jewish media failed miserably in the ‘self- mockery exam’.
In an article named ‘Kosher Anti-Semites’, Henryk M. Broder, a German and a devoted supporter of Israel, offered an insight into the content of the Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoons Contest. “In the past,” says Broder, “there were Jewish anti-Semites like Karl Marx, Otto Weininger and Karl Kraus, yet they were all operating as individuals, not as a collective. Nowadays,” Broder concludes, “this could change.”
Indeed, Mr Broder is absolutely correct, this could change, and in fact, it has already changed. In an era in which Jews celebrate their symptoms collectively, as well as violently, it is rather natural that a few Jews who happen to be ethically motivated and talented enough to express themselves would raise their voices. Seemingly, the morally deteriorated conduct of the Jewish state and its supportive Jewish lobbies around the world push some Jews towards some manifestations of collective self-hate. The Israeli Anti-Semitic Cartoons Contest has illustrated, with a real collection of ‘Kosher anti-Semitism’, a celebration of what I tend to define as ‘proud Jewish self-hatred’.
It is crucial to suggest the following necessary criticism. Rather clearly, for most of the cartoons, the Orthodox Jew, the one with the caftan and the beard, serves as a stereotype of the Jewish protagonist of Zionist crimes. As bizarre as it may sound, Orthodox Jews have very little to do with the crime they are associated with: the Holocaust industry, the Zionist sin which oppresses Palestinians, and American lobbying for Israel. If anything, the converse is true. It is a Jewish Orthodox sect, namely Neturei Karta, that collectively supports the Palestinians and fiercely fights Zionism. The secular Jewish tendency to stereotype the Orthodox Jew may expose two fundamental psychological elements within the collective Jewish secular psyche. First, more than anything else, anti-Jewishness, and anti-Semitism, are internal Jewish affairs. It is the Jews who are the first to hate everything Jewish. Second, the so-called ‘liberated’ secular Jew is eager to disassociate himself from any possible ties with the notion of the ‘Jew’, whom he intentionally defines as a Diaspora ultra-Orthodox man wrapped in a characteristic caftan and covered with facial hair. Rather than looking in the mirror and engaging in self-reflection, the secular Jew pins the current crimes of Israel and Jewish lobbies on a backward-looking and unattractive man with a big nose and a big black skullcap. As I mentioned above, this is a misleading, manipulative tactic. The crimes of the Jewish state, and its supportive Jewish lobbies, are committed by some handsome Sabras and ordinary looking human beings; people who look more like Mr Broder than like an Orthodox Rabbi. The Orthodox Jews have no share in this crime, at least not collectively.
The collection of cartoons is a glimpse into the world of a few morally enlightened Jews and what they feel uncomfortable with. It portrays as well what seems to be the Jewish notion of Anti-Semitism. Clearly, three main themes keep repeating themselves.
2.’Zionist official Holocaust narrative’
Seemingly, more than a few of the cartoonists found a way to ridicule what they see as a Jewish intent to own the world, to run its media, to run America and to seek any means of power and control available, dismissing any possible moral conduct.
In Jeremy Gerils’ work, it is the ‘Other’ who refers to the Jews the intent to own the world. In Codor’s work it is Jews in disguise that run, what seems to be, the ‘World Order’. Alfred Breitman’s ‘American Flag’ doesn’t leave us with much doubt. We are dealing here with the ‘Jewnited States of JewMerica’. The Poetic Sherman may have something to say about the real power behind the American $$$$$s.
Elders Of Zion is indeed something a proper anti-Semite should never skip. This time it is an offer no one can refuse: Join now, Circumcise later. Indeed brilliant work by Mike Eighpe (France).
Clearly, the cartoonists do not shy away from illustrating that which we are all banned from saying. Whether they mean it or now is indeed a difficult question to answer. However,more than enough was published about the Israeli influence within the American presidential administration. As evidence that this issue is entering into mainstream discourse, recently, an extensive work about the Jewish Lobby’s influence in America was published by two major American academics. The cartoons above were made by Jews and were published in Israel. Thus, I would maintain that artistic work could serve as a glimpse into the notion of Jewish and Zionist brutality from a unique internal Jewish perspective.
The holocaust narrative cartoons can be divided into three main categories: the ones that ridicule the notion of Jewish suffering, the ones that ridicule the official historical narrative (mainly numbers), and the ones that draw moral conclusions and associate Nazi crimes with current Israeli brutality.
Jewish identity is associated with the exceptional capability to enjoy, not to say celebrate, one’s symptoms.
Without a doubt, Post-WW2 Jewish politics reduced Jewish agony into an unbeatable positivist argument backed with many numbers, mountains of shoes, and piles of glasses and golden teeth. Robin Moore portrays the process of cold decision-making made by the concentration camp inmates. Jeremy Gerlis, who we met before, enlightens the notion of the post-Holocaust orientated Judeo-centric symbolic order. Within the newly formed Hebraic world, every perception and lingual expression is Auschwitz’ly orientated.
Ostensibly, many of the Jewish cartoonists can’t stop themselves from ridiculing the sacred ‘six’ figure. Nowadays, when some German-speaking nations are actively implementing Holocaust denial laws and arresting historical revisionists, it is rather crucial to emphasize that many Jews do not take the ‘six’ figure and the Zionist Holocaust narrative very seriously. As we will see next, the Jewish cartoonists portray the Holocaust as an utter manipulative lie.
Miki Mottes and Elad Cahana from Israel can probably see some clear discrepancies within the Holocaust tale they learned in Israel. Asaf Luzon from Israel is no different. He can see that the numbers do not add. Ilan Touri may try to tell us that the ‘six narrative’ is basically a Jewish orchestrated Hollywood movie. Aron Katz is no different. He locates Jews in the hub of ‘fake’ American glory. Greg found a very personal and funny way to express his doubts.
Some of the cartoonists didn’t refrain themselves from drawing the necessary conclusions. The Zionists transformed the Jewish bloody history into a Palestinian reality of pain and misery.
Arnon Moskoitz and Koren Shadmi depict the image of Palestinians queuing in the entrance to a ‘Nazi-like’ Israeli employment office. According to AF, from Illinois USA, considering the current Israeli murderous reality, Adolph may have gotten it right.
Naturally, the Jewish cartoonists couldn’t avoid the very charged subject of blood libel. Jewish European history is spiced with sporadic tales of blood libel in which Jews are blamed for making Matzos for Passover using the blood of Christian youngsters. Indeed, not many would take such an allegation seriously in the 21st century. However, the blood-thirstiness portrayed by Israeli politicians as well as the Israeli society, who time after time votes in war criminals, raises some major concerns regarding the moral integrity of the reformed Hebraic people. The cartoonist challenges the ethical quality of the Jewish state and its Jewish inhabitants.
Leandro Spett doesn’t leave us much room for doubt. Palestinians are indeed a necessary ingredient for Passover Matzos.
Greg Berman is concerned whether Palestinian babies are Kosher. Indeed a legitimate Talmudic question to ask your local Rabbi. Beto Cruz takes it one step forward. He associates Judaism with some clear murderous tendencies. Neta Ram knows how to strengthen the so-called Judeo-Christian bond. With just a little bit of money and luck, every narrative can be transformed in favour of the Jews
To follow Broder’s interpretation into the cartoonists’ insights, Jews are capable of anything. They run the show, they own the world, and they are brutal, monstrous cannibals. As one would expect, once realising what the contest was about, the Israeli media was very quick to ignore the event and to dismiss its importance. Israel is far from interested in letting the world know what Jews could think of themselves.
Generally speaking, in many cases, the strength of a given cartoon is due to a very clear method of exaggeration; something verging on Reductio ad absurdum. It stretches our notions and categories beyond imagination. Yet, it may be hard for some to admit, the Zionist moral reality is overwhelmingly stretched and this has been the case for more than a while. Whether it is the continuous robbery of Palestinian lands, the endless ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, or the merciless daily killing of innocent Palestinian civilians, all those appalling crimes are done by the Jewish state in the name of the Jewish People. Undeniably, as far as the Jewish state is concerned, there is no room left for the absurd.
Moreover, the current state of Jewish ethics is beyond absurdum, it is a total disaster. It is no coincidence therefore that within the continuous cruelty towards the Palestinian people, a reference is made to the plausibility of Blood Libel or there is a comparison with Nazis. The cartoons may suggest that if world Jewry supports such genocidal crimes against the Palestinian people, Jews are probably capable of anything.
It is quite apparent that many of the Jewish cartoonists present us with a very low image of the Jewish character, world Jewry, Jewish interests and so on. Although it may be possible that many of the cartoonists are taking a very highly cynical standpoint that is far from what they themselves believe in, it is as well very likely that we are dealing here with an outstanding collective manifestation of Jewish self-contempt. Considering the Israeli reality and the support from world Jewry of this very brutal reality, such a collective reaction by honest Jews is long overdue, yet, it is more than welcome. At the end of the day, it is always the proud self-hating Jews who transform Jewishness into an ethical message.
GILAD ATZMON was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of two novels: A Guide to the Perplexed and the recently released My One and Only Love. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His recent CD, Exile, was named the year’s best jazz CD by the BBC. He now lives in London and can be reached at: email@example.com