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Defaming Religions: Where do I pick up my Pulitzer?

So there’s been some discussion regarding Pat Oliphant’s most recent cartoon depicting Jews and Israelis as blood thirsty Nazis intent on driving Palestinians over a cliff. While I feel that Oliphant’s cartoon is idiotic, I believe in his right to express himself. I don’t feel we need to be protected against cartoons by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti Defamation League. The ADL called Oliphant’s cartoon “hideously anti-Semitic” (I think it’s hideously ignorant) while the Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged the New York Times and other Web sites to remove it. Of course, given the publicity and attention this dumb drawing has received, it’s now been seen by much more people and in all likelihood will never disappear. I understand that these otherwise well meaning organizations are hurt by the perceived defamation of Israel and the Jewish people, but in civilized countries, we don’t ban such expression – we discuss why we think its wrong and let intelligent people make up their own minds.

The ADL and the SWC should have asked the World Jewish Congress for advice. Today the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling “defamation of religion” a human rights violation. The Council adopted the text proposed by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that essentially deems criticism of Islam a human rights violation. This was condemned by the World Jewish Congress whose President, Ronald S. Lauder stated “We see it as weakening the rights of individuals to express their views and criticize other religions, and, in the case of this specific resolution, particularly Islam … This resolution is an attempt to bring to the international body the blasphemy laws prevalent in some Muslim countries. In accordance with human rights laws, the rights of individuals to express their views should be protected and not restricted or punished by the state. Today’s vote is unfortunately only a harbinger for what may yet transpire in Geneva at the upcoming Durban Review Conference as proposals such as this one keep coming to the fore.”

The Jewish Community ought to adopt a consistent policy regarding freedom of expression. If it’s ok to be critical of radical Islam, then it ought to be ok to be critical of Judaism – regardless of how idiotic such criticism may be. In that vein, I hope you enjoy my cartoon showing a heartless creature representing Hamas, it’s Iranian supporters and radical Islam seeking to devour and destroy the people of Gaza in order to further their own political and religious agendas. How else do you explain firing thousands of rockets at a much stronger neighbor in order to provoke an attack that would inevitably lead to the deaths of your own otherwise innocent people?

Whatever. Where do I pick up my Pulitzer already? And the prize money. I have rent to pay!

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Publisher at Jewlicious
Founder of Jewlicious? Publisher? Man I hate titles. I coined the name Jewlicious and I slave over the site. I live in Jerusalem and I need to get some breakfast.
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11 Comments

  1. Tori

    3/27/2009 at 1:38 am

    Who says these Jewish organizations speak for Jews? Did we elect them?

  2. themiddle

    3/27/2009 at 5:04 am

    Could you please change “Gaza” for “Israel.” Merci.

  3. With Love

    3/27/2009 at 8:38 am

    I am glad the Jewish defense organizations decided to fight against the cartoon. I find the cartoon extremely offensive. Images of this nature can be found in Nazi Germany, or, any Muslim country in the Middle East today. Defamation and dehumanization, is the first step towards something worse. It is easier to kill your enemy, when they are seen as the embodiment of evil.

    I agree with you. Pat Oliphant has every right to draw his cartoons. He can express himself anyway he sees fit. However, the Jewish community has an obligation to react to that expression.

    Would your cartoon ever make it into a newspaper? I don’t think so. We have been down that road before. Muslim extremists around the world would riot and there would be blood in the streets. The artist would need police protection, and would have to live in a secret secure location.

    Such a response shapes the nature of public expression. So, your argument of freedom already rings false. Today we are afraid of insulting the religion of peace. We self censor our ideas and expressions. Outrage over behavior that is outrageous, stoning adulterers, imprisoning the victims of rape, hanging gays, even prohibiting women the right to drive, is muted. No one wants to insult the religion of peace. We all want to demonstrate cultural sensitivity.

    However, as we see, that cultural sensitivity only operates in one direction. The defamation of religion law, will only be applied to Islam. Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, these are all fair game. What greater insult is it for the Bahai, than to be imprisoned?

    Perhaps the Jewish community would get more respect, if we didn’t have octogenarian defense organizations fight our battles. Perhaps burning a few newstands and firebombing Pat Oliphant’s car would make Judaism the religion of Peace?

  4. Tovitim

    3/27/2009 at 10:39 am

    I really like the part where you say the Jewish community should adopt a consistent policy. Giggle!

  5. Soriah

    3/28/2009 at 12:28 am

    Interesting that all this anger is directed at a cartoonist when there is total silence over the shocking details that emerged during the week of Israel’s actions in Gaza. Cowardly soldiers have admitted to targeting civilians, murdering old women carrying white flags, burning children alive. Oliphant’s cartoon is quite mild in comparison to the terrible deeds of the IDF in Gaza.

  6. themiddle

    3/28/2009 at 1:58 am

    Soriah, we’re still waiting to find out the details of the investigation. I’ve read op-eds about it and some have accepted the stories at face value while others point out that other soldiers who were there have rejected that this type of thing was going on. We’ll know very soon what happened and we’ll discuss it then.

    This past week, the IDF also came out with some statistics about the dead in this war. They are claiming that nearly 3/4 of the Palestinian dead can be connected to participation with military groups and about a quarter were civilians. Even if you split the divide between their claims and the Palestinian claims about the dead, you still had a war here where the majority of the casualties are Palestinian fighters and terrorists. Considering they fought from civilian centers such as civilian homes and mosques, it appears that the IDF was cautious in its approach to the fighting in Gaza.

    Don’t misunderstand, one civilian death is one too many. However, the IDF was warned by Hamas before the Gaza offensive that Gaza will become a graveyard for Israeli soldiers. I’m sure that ensuring this prediction didn’t come to pass was on the Israelis’ minds and still they were generally careful about civilian casualties.

    And finally, please let’s not lose sight that Israel didn’t attack for fun or in a vacuum. Israel attacked Gaza because of years of rocket bombardments, and only after the range and targeting of the Palestinian rockets improved greatly.

  7. LD

    3/28/2009 at 1:09 pm

    Jews use antisemitism to divert attention from the crimes of Zionism.

    The original cartoon was not antisemitic.

    The smoke (pay close attention) and the floor in the picture were put in to represent the same aspects of the Israeli flag.

    It was not about Judaism, it was about the political entity known as Israel, the ‘Jewish’ State. It was a subtle reference to the Israeli flag.

    But continue to straw man.

    If you didn’t have the 4th strongest army in the world, an airforce stronger than any NATO power, and an annual allowance in the billions of dollars, I’m sure you’d have more incentive to act like human beings.

    Fucking Nazis.

  8. themiddle

    3/28/2009 at 5:08 pm

    LD, Jews don’t “use” anti-Semitism. Jews bring it up when it’s there.

    The original cartoon can be construed as anti-Semitic very easily. There was no subtlety there and especially so because of the use of the stormtrooper in the back of the Star of David. As you so eloquently wrote, what the cartoon seems to be saying to the victims of the Nazis: you are the fucking Nazis.

    But keep denying what’s staring you right in the face.

  9. ck

    3/28/2009 at 8:21 pm

    Man LD, you need to read a history book or something. The Nazis methodically committed genocide against people who were not remotely a threat to them. Had the Israelis used Nazi tactics, the Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza would now be a sad footnote in the history books. Don’t you think that with the firepower Israel possesses they could have done a much better job at indiscriminately murdering innocent people had they been motivated by Nazi-like intentions? The Nazis murdered up to 6000 people a day in Auschwitz, meanwhile the population in Gaza was 250,000 or so in 1948 and is now 1.5 million. Clearly, if we are hell bent on genocide, we must totally suck at it!

    And I am not trying to make favorable comparisons to the Nazis. I just think your comparisons, while grandiose and dramatic, are kinds, you know, dumb.

  10. Ephraim

    3/28/2009 at 11:24 pm

    Hey, LD:

    Research how many schools, universities and hospitals there were in Yehuda and Shomron (what tools like you call the “occupied West Bank”) before June 1967 and how may there are now and get back to me.

    And you know that if the Israelis really were Nazis, there wouldn’t be a single Arab left alive from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. Instead, there are so many Arabs there now that everybody says that Israel must withdraw to preserve its Jewish character. And what about the million Israeli Arabs? How come they’re still alive? How come the evil Judeonazis haven’t turned them into soap and lampshades, huh? Cocksucker.

    Thanks G-d Israel has a strong military. If it didn’t, the Arabs, who were Hitler’s allies in WWII, would kill all the Jews they could get their hands on. Not so easy to kill Jews when we can stick up for ourselves, is it?

    Of course, if the Israelis acted like human beings as you say you want them to, they would do what every other nation has done in wars from time immemorial: kill the enemy until they are all dead or until they surrender and beg for peace. Instead, Israel keeps holding back its hand, hoping that the Arabs will grow some sense. And what does Israel get in return for its forbearance? More missiles and homicide bombers. If Israel acted like all the other nations who now lecture her about “morality”, there would have been 13,000 or 130,000 dead in Gaza instead of only 1,300. So yes, I agree, Israel should start acting more human and less saintly. They could end this war in a week.

    Kiss my Jew ass, you fucking POS.

  11. Susan

    3/30/2009 at 5:31 pm

    Great cartoon, Jewlicious – but they apparently only give Pulitzer’s for lies, these days; you’ll get nothing.

    And I see that we have a stereotypical bigot – lying about Jews to cover his other lies about Jews, but, in the end, still projecting his own flaws onto those who expose them. Yawn.

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