Sometimes They Do Listen: Sunday Times Recants Grotesque Cartoon

— by Steve Wenick

I recently wrote a letter to the The Sunday Times, a London newspaper, castigating it for publishing an outrageous cartoon which portrayed a Jew in the most hideous manner. Their initial public response was that it was a criticism of Bibi Netanyahu’s policies and it was by no means meant to disparage all Jews. However, as I pointed out to the newspaper’s editors, Bibi has neither a large hook nose nor large rat-like ears; a favorite Der Sturmer-like characterization of Jews.  Therefore their lame excuse was unacceptable and their cartoon inexcusable.

To my shock, the acting editor of The Sunday Times responded to me in a somewhat conciliatory manner. Here is the correspondence I received via email:

Dear Wenick

I am grateful to you for writing to The Sunday Times and expressing your views so clearly. I’d like to apologise at the outset for the offence caused by Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon published last Sunday.

Its publication was a terrible mistake. The timing – on Holocaust Memorial Day – was inexcusable. The associations on this occasion were grotesque. As someone who understands the history and iconography in this context, I appreciate fully why publication has caused such offence and I apologise unreservedly for my part in that.

I sought an urgent meeting with leading members of the Jewish community, and am pleased to say that we got together on Tuesday evening. It was a frank but constructive meeting. Mick Davis, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council, accepted my apology on behalf of the group and told the press afterwards that the community “now looks forward to constructively moving on from this affair”.

I hope you will find this reply reassuring; I thank you again for your correspondence.

Yours sincerely

Martin Ivens
Acting Editor

Which One Of These Anti-Semitic Cartoons Is Not Like The Others?

(CAMERA) It’s a trick question. They’re all similar. The large one on the right was published in The Sunday Times of London on Jan. 27, 2013, a day designated as Holocaust Remembrance Day. The cartoonist is Gerald Scarfe.

Notice the stereotypical features; The large flapping ears, the exaggerated, unpleasantly shaped nose, the dark arched brow, the sneering expression, a large lower lip, the position of the face pointed downward while the eyes are looking upward to a evoke a menacing glance. All of these features are intended to create a demonic Semitic caricature. In fact, so classic are these features that one might suspect Scarfe studied the prior “art” to craft his cartoon.

Four of the comparison cartoons feature menacing sharp tools in at least one hand intended to evoke the classic blood libel charge against the Jews.

Of course, The Sunday Times of London denies any anti-Semitic intent. Banish that thought, the paper frequently publishes cartoons of non-Jewish world figures using classic anti-Semitic visual imagery. Oh sorry, actually it doesn’t. Those collective features are reserved for depicting villainous Jews.

More after the jump.
The cartoonist Scarfe has earned a place of distinction on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and a special salute from deceased Nazi propaganda minister Josef Goebbels, who commissioned many of the cartoons and films that popularized these stereotypical features. Here you can see the film poster for the “Eternal Jew” a Nazi propaganda film intended to incite the population to hate Jews. Notice the characteristic facial features that Scarfe emulated.

This Is Real: Lapid Gets 19 Knesset Seats

Election Day in Israel was declared a national holiday and the weather was gorgeous. The public voted and then most of us went to the beach, to cafes, or shopping for the rest of the “day off”. It was a delightful, very Israeli experience. Everyone seemed happy and up about being who and what we are.

In the morning we found that we’ve handed our politicians a classic Israeli post-election dilemma. It feels so very Israeli and nostalgic that I did today’s cartoon in Blue and White.

— by Amir Shoam

Update: after counting all votes, including all IDF soldeirs, Habait Hayehudi got another seat and went up to 12 on the expense of Raam-Taal, that went down to 4. See full table below.

After counting 99.8% of Israel general elections votes, Yesh Atid, former journalist Yair Lapid’s one-year-old party, gets 19 seats in the Knesset. The unification of HaLikud and Israel Beytenu gets 31. HaAvoda gets 15 seats, two less than expected in TV channel samples. Right party HaBait HaYehudi gets 11 seats, like orthodox party Shas. Religious party Yahaduth HaTorah gets 7 seats. Center-left party HaTnuah and left party Meretz get 6 seats each.

Ultra-left party Hadash gets 4 seats, while Arab parties Raam-Taal and Balad get 5 and 3 seats respectively.

Kadima, largest party in current Knesset that was eliminated in TV samples, eventually enters the Knesset with 2.09% of all votes (2% is required to enter), and 2 seats.

HaAvoda had announced that it will not join a coalition headed by HaLikud. Assuming Halikud leader and current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will get to build a coalition, his partners are likely to be Yesh Atid, HaBait HaYehudi and Hatnuah (67 of 120 seats total). There is also a risky possibility of having a coalition with Shas, Habait HaYehudi and Yahaduth HaTorah (60 seats). Netanyahu will speak with the leaders of all mentioned parties trying to form a 85-seat coalition, but it is not likely to happen. If Netanyahu fails to form a coalition, Lapid will get the opportunity to do so, but only if he reaches agreements with all HaAvoda, Shas, Yahaduth Hatorah, Hatnuah and Meretz (64 seats total).

Cartoon courtesy of Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen.

‘It’s Over’

 – by Steve Wenick

Tomorrow the election will be over but the sniping will go on and on and on.

Whether Obama is reelected or Romney is elected it will result in the losing side predicting that the end of civilization is at hand. Part of the reason for that predictable doomsday reaction can be attributed to the media’s persistent mantra which warns in the most foreboding tones, “This is the most important election in American history”.

If I were cynical I might suspect that the media’s hyperbolic declaration is just another device used to bump up their Nielsen Ratings to gain, more sponsors, a larger share of the market, and thus increase their bottom line. On the other hand consider this: every generation prides itself on its own importance and the impact it has on the future generations and the fate of our country. The hubris of each generation is second to none other.

Soon the cheers of the victors and the moans of the vanquished will fade and in the not too distant future we will hear the drumbeat of the faithful as they embark upon their inexorable march to the 2016 Presidential Election.

Cartoon reprinted courtesy of Yaakov (Dry Bones) Kirschen

Reflections on Yom Kippur

— by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Jewish families across America and around the world will begin their observance of Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the year for the Jewish community.  Yom Kippur is a holy day of fasting, prayer, and atonement – bringing to a close a period of our calendar dedicated to reflection and forgiveness.  During these ten days, we give ourselves once again to values at the core of the ancient Jewish faith: justice, community, and repairing the world.  As we emerge from these Days of Awe, we move forward, committing ourselves to the good we will do in the year ahead.

On Wednesday morning, we read from the Book of Isaiah:

This is the fast I desire: to unlock the shackles of wrongdoing, to untie the bonds of those burdened, to let the oppressed go free.  It is to share your bread with the hungry, welcome the poor into your home.  When you see the naked you must clothe him and never ignore your neighbors.

This passage, espousing values so firmly at the heart of our religious tradition, represents the ideals of our great country that we cannot forget.  At the core of the American spirit is the imperative to improve our communities, work with our neighbors, and never abandon those in need.

There is a clear connection between this sacred fast and the words found on the Statue of Liberty, written by Jewish American Emma Lazarus.  Together, we heed the call of Lady Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

From the call of Isaiah to the dreams of our forefathers that we still work to fulfill, these Jewish and American values reflect an innate vision to support one another and build a better world.  In 5773, my hope is that we can continue to support one another and together build a more peaceful and just society.  I wish you a meaningful fast – and that you and your loved ones may be signed and sealed in the Book of Life.
Cartoon courtesy of Yaakov “Dry Bones” Kirschen