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!