When the international version of the NY Times decided to publish an anti-Semitic cartoon by the Portuguese cartoonist Antonio Moreira Antunes, it was just following a long-established European post-WWII tradition. Antunes has been in the anti-Semitic image business for decades, and won an award in 1983 for his appropriation of a Warsaw ghetto photo, changing the victim of Nazis into a Palestinian victim of Israeli Jews. For this, Antunes received the top prize at the 20th International Salon of Cartoons in Montreal.

So that’s the identity and history of the cartoonist who drew the more recent cartoon with Trump as a blind Jew being led by the dachshund Jew Netanyahu. So far, though, the Times hasn’t seen fit to name the person or persons who decided to publish the Trump/Netanyahu cartoon in their paper. But my guess is that this person or people who made the call is/are European as well—or, if American, has/have lived a long time abroad.

To Europeans, that cartoon would likely be considered ho-hum, just business as usual—or maybe even worthy of a prize or two. They have lost the ability to see what the cartoon looks like to others because they are so used to what’s being expressed here that it’s become mainstream.

It’s not as though any of this is new in Europe, although it may be somewhat new for the NY Times (even the international version) to publish this sort of thing. Prior to doing the research for this post, I had never heard of Antunes’ reworking of the Warsaw ghetto image. But for me, that blind-Trump/dachshund-Netanyahu cartoon had already conjured up the memory of another cartoon, one that had appeared in the British newspaper The Independent and was drawn by the British political cartoonist Dave Brown.

It was early in 2003, during the Second Intifada, when Palestinians had been deliberately targeting and blowing up Israelis civilians (including Israeli children) at a rapid clip for three years. The wall had been started but was far from completion at the time the cartoon was published (January of 2003). One would think that if anyone was going to be depicted as deliberate and ghoulish child killers it would be the Palestinians, who not only supported suicide bombers who murdered children but who purposely used their own children as sacrifices, putting them in harm’s way (see also this) to make it more likely that defensive retaliatory measures by the Israelis would result in the inadvertent death of Palestinian children.

But ghoulish Palestinians wasn’t the image Brown was after (and here the reference is to the famous Goya painting “Saturn Devouring His Son“):

See? Ariel Sharon is naked, except for that little Likud rosette instead of a fig leaf. Not a kippah or a Jewish star in sight. So that makes the blood libel perfectly okay, apparently. In fact, the cartoon was so highly thought of that it was awarded the 2003 first prize by the British Political Cartoon Society. In his acceptance speech, “Brown thanked the Israeli Embassy for its angry reaction to the cartoon, which he said had contributed greatly to its publicity.”

If you think about it, it’s a wonder that the international NY Times took so long to get with the program.

[Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.]


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