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Not only was Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon not anti-Semitic; hysterically saying it was makes any rational criticism of it impossible

To accuse Scarfe of a ‘blood libel’ is unpardonably over the top: accusations of that seriousness should be more carefully made

By on Thursday, 31 January 2013

Israeli forces march along Israel's separation barrier (Photo: PA)

Israeli forces march along Israel's separation barrier (Photo: PA)

I have always believed that anti-Semitism is not merely one of the most disgusting but also one of the most dangerous political attitudes thrown up in the political chaos of the last 150 years (its roots go back further, of course, but the term was invented around 1873 by one Wilhelm Marr to describe the policy that he and others advocated toward Jews, based on what he called “racism”). That’s why I think it should not be used too readily, or simply used as a means of discrediting someone who has expressed an opinion, usually to do with the policies of the State of Israel, by which you are offended or with which you merely disagree.

Two examples of this phenomenon have just made the news. The first was to do with a cartoon by Gerald Scarfe. Like all Scarfe cartoons, it is intentionally offensive. The Sunday Times, of course, is not available on the net, but you can see the cartoon by going to the Jerusalem Post. The Post itself puts it like this: “The Sunday Times marked Holocaust Memorial Day in a less-than-traditional manner, running a virulently anti-Israel cartoon depicting a big-nosed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu paving a wall with the blood and limbs of writhing Palestinians. The cartoon included a caption beneath the image entitled ‘Israeli elections – will cementing peace continue?’”

The Jerusalem Post doesn’t directly accuse Scarfe of anti-Semitism, though it does go on to say that “British anti-Semitism has made headlines throughout the week after Liberal Democrat MP David Ward accused “the Jews” of inflicting violence on Palestinians on a daily basis,” and questioned how they could do this so soon after their “liberation from the death camps”.

The Sunday Times defended Scarfe from the accusation of anti-Semitism, and Ward himself has denied it. How convincing are the accusations of anti-Semitism? And how valid were the rebuttals? I focus on the Scarfe cartoon, since it is more memorable, and since the opinion of some obscure Lib Dem MP is by definition here today and gone tomorrow: Scarfe won’t be. The Sunday Times simply says in its defence that “This is a typically robust cartoon by Gerald Scarfe. The Sunday Times firmly believes that it is not anti-Semitic. It is aimed squarely at Mr Netanyahu and his policies, not at Israel, let alone at Jewish people.” (And incidentally, that “big-nosed” representation of Netanyahu is hardly anti-Semitic: this is the smallest nose I have ever seen on a Scarfe cartoon).

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, never slow off the mark or unduly moderate in its own utterances, said the cartoon was “shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press”. The term “blood libel” refers, of course, to medieval stories that Jews murdered Christian children to use their blood during their rituals, stories which led to some of the most shameful atrocities against the Jews ever committed before Hitler himself brought the phenomenon to its sickening climax in the death camps.

Now, the trouble with attacking Scarfe by trying to associate him with all that, is that it removes the possibility of disposing of his attack on the great wall the Israelis have built between themselves and the West Bank, by making the real argument against the cartoon’s message: that Scarfe is just wrong. There is a great deal to be said against the wall. But rightly or wrongly, it was put up so that the Israelis could protect themselves against being slaughtered, not so that they could themselves do any slaughtering. It may be true that elsewhere, many Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli retaliation against Hamas rocket attacks: but the rocket attacks came first: if there had been no rockets, there would have been no retaliation. The way to stop the Israelis killing Palestinians is for the Palestinians to stop killing them.

The trouble with reacting against Scarfe’s cartoon by accusing him of a “blood libel” is not simply that it’s unjust, but that it makes it impossible to criticise the cartoon for what’s really wrong with it. It gives the impression, not of a reasoned critique (to which Scarfe is vulnerable) but of a trigger-happy paranoia. I do see that publishing the cartoon on Holocaust memorial day was an unbelievably insensitive thing to do (the ignorant Scarfe says he didn’t even realise that’s what that Sunday was). But the “blood libel” accusation simply made any kind of rational dismissal of Scarfe’s crass attack impossible.

And, yet again, it seemed to justify the equally knee-jerk reaction that some Jews really do seem to have a tendency to a paranoid reaction to any kind of criticism. I will bet that somebody is going to attack me for being anti-Semitic in this post. I’m not anti-Semitic: and I don’t think that Gerald Scarfe’s cartoon is. That’s also the view of some Jews at least. “Pillorying Scarfe and his cartoon,” argued the Israeli paper Haaretz “cheapens a noble cause, as this was not anti-Semitic by any standard.”

“Here are four reasons why,” it continues: I give you Haaretz’s arguments uncut (since unfortunately, they appear to be no more generally available on the paper’s website). Having read them I have no more to say, this says it all. Just one thing, though: like me, Haaretz has its reservations about the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who really should reflect more carefully before issuing their overheated press releases. These are Haaretz’s reasons for saying that Scarfe’s cartoon isn’t anti-Semitic:

1. It is not directed at Jews: There is absolutely nothing in the cartoon which identifies its subject as a Jew. No Star of David or kippa, and though some commentators have claimed Netanyahu’s nose in the cartoon is over-sized, at most this is in line with Scarfe’s style (and that of cartoonists) of slightly exaggerating physical features. Jew-noses are prevalent in truly anti-Semitic cartoons that routinely appear in Arab newspapers – you can find them easily on the web. They are big, bulbous and hooked snouts, and look nothing like Netanyahu’s nose a-la-Scarfe. Furthermore, Netanyahu is an Israeli politician who was just elected by a quarter of Israeli voters, not a Jewish symbol or a global representative of the Jews.

2. It does not use Holocaust imagery: It has become generally accepted – justifiably I think – that comparing Israel’s leaders and policies to those of the Third Reich is borderline, if not full-on anti-Semitism. Not only because there is no comparable genocide in human history, but because choosing it to describe the actions of the Jewish state is a nasty slur identifying Israelis as the successors of the Holocaust’s victims turned into perpetrators of a second Holocaust. But there is nothing in Scarfe’s cartoon that can put the Holocaust in mind. Perhaps someone thinks that the wall should remind us of the ghetto, but don’t forget, Scarfe is the original designer of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Should the Sunday Times have not published the cartoon on International Holocaust Memorial Day? Only if one believes that is a day in which Israeli politicians have immunity from being caricatured. Such a belief would certainly cheapen the memory of the Shoah. The Sunday Times, as its names indicates, appears only on Sundays and this was the end of elections week in Israel – when else did you expect them to feature a cartoon of Netanyahu?

3. There was no discrimination: If Gerald Scarfe had been a benign and gentle artist, treating the subjects of his cartoons with due respect and reverence, sharpening his pencil only on Israeli and Jewish figures, there would be grounds here for assuming he was tainted by the most ancient of hatreds. Anyone who has had even a casual glance at Scarfe’s oeuvre of over half a century knows that is not the case. Netanyahu’s depiction is grossly offensive and unfair, but that is only par for the course for any politician when Scarfe is at his drawing-board. Scarfe has spent his entire career viciously lampooning the high and mighty – Netanyahu is in illustrious company.

4. This is not what a blood libel looks like: Some have claimed that the blood-red cement Netanyahu is using in the cartoon to build his wall indicates a blood libel motif. Well, of course it’s blood but is anyone seriously demanding that no cartoon reference to Israeli or Jewish figures can contain a red fluid? The classic European blood libel, like many other classic European creations, had a strict set of images which must always contain a cherubic gentile child sacrificed by those perfidious Jews, his blood to be used for ritual purposes. It was a direct continuation of the Christ-killer myth. Scarfe’s cartoon has blood-cement but no blood libel components – it almost seems he was careful not to include any small children among his Palestinian figures (one of the eight is arguably an adolescent) so as not to have any sort of libel scenery. The blood libel was a terrible feature of Jewish life in Europe up until the beginning of the 20th century, and the myth still occasionally emerges from between the cracks in some East European backwaters to this day. To ascribe Scarfe’s cartoon with any of its features distorts another chapter of Jewish history.

I rest my case.

  • scary goat

    Agree with you on this Mr. Oddie.  More as a general principle than this particular cartoon, as I really don’t know anything about it except what I have read here.  It’s just another reflection of “the discrimination culture”.  Every group wants to be un-touchable and no-one dares raise a legitimate criticism (or even an unfair criticism which can be legitimately rebutted).  As soon as anyone opens their mouth about anything, cries of racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, etc etc go up.   Does no-one actually stop and think things through any more?

  • Jonathan West

    It may be true that elsewhere, many Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli retaliation against Hamas rocket attacks: but the rocket attacks came first: if there had been no rockets, there would have been no retaliation. The way to stop the Israelis killing Palestinians is for the Palestinians to stop killing them.

    I think you might have to go further back than that. After all, if there been no occupation, there would be no cause for rocket attacks. So the occupation came first. Or did it? What came before the occupation?

    Language is important. Are you justified in calling the actions of one side “attacks” and the other “retaliation”?

  • scary goat

     Fair point.

  • DOVPOL

    The thing is that some Catholics believe that Jews and the Jewish State are exceptional. In other words, it’s a sin to lie “except” about Jews. You would think that after Degenndorf, Jewish book burning, making Jews wear clothing marking them as Jews, forcing Jews to live in ghettos and making areas Jew free, blood purity rules, the murder of one quarter to one half of European Jewry in the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the denial of basic civil and legal rights to Jews, that adherents to Catholicism would be reticent about promulgation of hatred against Jews. I rest my case. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AYWBMPPNHNFNZPXKP5XA6ZWLBU Sami Bitoon

    Dov, you must understand the moral bankruptcy of the European Christian.

    Vatican II made propagating anti-Semitism a sin, but neither European Christians nor this journal take that principal very seriously. As a result, they will never admit anti-Semitism without a certified  photograph of the offender putting Jews in ovens.

    The reason is that both European Christians and Muslims imbibe the poison of anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk; that’s why they have so easily formed an unofficial Euro-Islamic alliance to effect a second Holocaust.

    All we Jews can do is:
    - for Israeli Jews, ignore the loathsome European Christian
    - for American Jews, boycott Europe
    - for European Jews, lech lecha – get out – do not give your energies to this putrid continent – move to more civilised countries such as the USA, Canada, or Israel.

    I have no doubt, when the Europeans’ Jewish divinity, Jesus of Nazareth, judges them, that they will be sent to the Hell they deserve – even by their own definition of Hell.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AYWBMPPNHNFNZPXKP5XA6ZWLBU Sami Bitoon

    Language is important … and knowledge and facts are even more important … You seem unaware that Islamic/Arab attacks on Jews began 622 CE, and your own religion’s attacks on Judaism began a quarter millennium before that.

  • andHarry

     ‘I think you might have to go further back than that.’

    Indeed. ‘Dan to Beersheba’ was a somewhat larger area.

  • andHarry

     ‘Language is important … and knowledge and facts are even more
    important … You seem unaware that Islamic/Arab attacks on Jews began
    622 CE, and your own religion’s attacks on Judaism began a quarter
    millennium before that.’

    and in that small space you have left unfilled, Jews, filled and led by the Holy Spirit, were persecuted by Jews.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OTCKAYXC6V65WVJUPZFYCCUEUU Lee

    Anti-Semitism has all but been hijacked by a bunch of folks (Zionists) who recently were found not even to be of Semitic stock http://www.france24.com/en/20130117-gene-study-settles-debate-over-origin-european-jews.

    I am fed up to the teeth with a bunch of Europeans who have hijacked history and a distortion of a religion (Talmud is verily different from OT Judaism in many areas), using dodgy Germanic Romanticist and French Revolution ideals to make up a contradiction of a ‘state’, not a nation, but a ‘state’. This ‘state’ has been getting away with absolute murder since day dot and has not been stopped. Scarfe’s cartoon is outstanding and precise on so many levels, that it has attracted this bedeeming of all those wishing to stay in the proverbial good books of a bunch of fraudsters. All I know is ‘Israel’ as the world knows it is not Israel. The real one is a ghostly one and it has another name, The Catholic Church.

    P.S. Arabs cannot be Anti-Semites, that is a logical fallacy, one of ‘Appealing to Fear’.

  • kittydeer

    In general it appears to be perfectly acceptable to bash Jews in the UK. It is of course due to the cowards who generally operate the media. There was an article in the DT recently about a woman who is leaving West London due to the very menacing influence of muslims in her area. What she described was horrific and very very frightening. The DT closed the article to comments. It is so blatantly obvious that the media are running away from this particular fight that is not going to go away.

  • IrishAtheist

    “The way to stop the Israelis killing Palestinians is for the Palestinians to stop killing them.”AND
    The way to stop Palestinians killing Israeles is for the Israelis to stop killing them.

  • Jonathan West

    If you are going to maintain a blood feud dating back to 622, you will never have peace, and it sounds as if you never want peace.

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘loathsome European Christian’

    Dear me.  What hatred, what prejudice, what intolerance.

    And as for Europe as a ‘putrid continent’.  The same.

  • awkwardcustomer

    Listen to what former Israeli minister Shulamit Aloni says about the overuse of accusations of anti-Semitism. 

    Is there anything in what she says?

  • awkwardcustomer

    ‘the loathsome European Christian’

    Dear me.  What hatred, what prejudice, what intolerance.

    And as for Europe as a ‘putrid continent’.  The same.

  • teigitur

    Is that you Damo?

  • Inquisator

    “You would think that after Degenndorf……Jews wear clothing marking them as Jews, forcing Jews to live in ghettos and making areas Jew free…….”

    All activities to be found in healthy Jewish occupied parts of major cities all over the world – self created and self perpetuating.

  • Jonathan

    The editor of the Sunday Times was a bloody fool for publishing that cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day.

    No, it wasn’t anti-Semitic in my judgement.  It *was* in poor taste and it was bound to be interpreted by many as being anti-Semitic.

    I can imagine an equivalent cartoon targeting, say, Pope Benedict on, say, Easter Day, which I wouldn’t much like either.  We might be quick to detect anti-Catholicism even though the object of the cartoon were not every Catholic, or even Catholicism per se, but the Pope.

    The blood libel accusation is incomprehensible.  Nevertheless, back to this: the editor should have exercised better judgement than this.

  • Jonathan

    I can’t agree with much of this (Sami) but I am often surprised that the “loathsome European Christian” is not much, much more sensitive than it is to possible anti-Semitism.  We quickly forget what we would rather not remember.

  • Jonathan

    And I agree with much of what you, scary goat, have posted… We’re too tribal, and too ready to raise the cry of “homophobia”, “anti-Catholic”, “racist” etc.  Easier to slur those with whom we disagree than to engage them in discussion…

    I can’t help feeling, though, that anti-Semitism *does* need different handling.  Jewish people have endured a unique suffering. 

    It would be seemly if non-Jews sprang faster to the defence of Jews than the Jewish people themselves.

    Does that put Israel beyond criticism?  No.  Should newspaper editors be more careful about what’s published on Holocaust Memorial Day?  Yes.

  • CullenD

    Teig, there’s more than one atheist in Ireland! Last time I counted there were 27 of us :)

  • CullenD

    I wouldn’t normally post a comment on this subject, but I have observed a frightening tendency in my one of my close friends. He is the closest to being catholic amongst my circle. In all other ways he’s a nice calm, reasonable bloke, but he just has an illogical dislike of jews, which is not based on any lived experience. At times he will even laud Hamas in their fight against “Zionists”.

    I’m am not implying that those are catholic views, more that they are based in the nastiest ideas once held by many catholics. He seems to view jews as Christ killers and be angered by their view that they are the chosen people. It is an idea he holds against any evidence or reason.

    I honestly find it disturbing that my close friend of 30 years can be so … so… well frightening. And if it’s true for him, how true is it for people who have been brought up to view jewish people as apes or pigs, or just the enemy.

  • GratefulCatholic

    Lee, best we keep out of this matter which lies betwixt God and Israel (Ezechiel 38,39. Osee 5:15. It’s not for Gentiles to Judge.
    GC

  • teigitur

    LOL Its just that I thought you were about due a nom de plume change. I do realise you are not tigger status anymore over there.

  • teigitur

    A terribly complicated subject.  Its very true that the Church used to be far more anti-semitic than it is now, the reasons are also complicated though” Christ killers” was
     a fundamental one. Of course that had to happen so the idea was a backward one.
     Our Church roots are totally, irrevocably Jewish. The pre-1970 Mass was very Jewish in structure, one of the many reasons I prefer it.
     I think we can safely say, considering the way they have been endlessly persecuted,that they were God s chosen people.
     

  • CullenD

    When I think of jewish people, in general, I think of Churchill’s words about flyboys during the Battle of Britain… Never have many owed so much to so few. When I think of science and medicine, I can see the utterly amazing contributions jewish people have made. As I haven’t been friendly with a jew since I dated a jewish girl back when I was 16, that’s just a non-emotive impression I have. 

    I just can’t understand the visceral hate some people have for a people they’ve never met, and are incapable of judging fairly.

  • teigitur

    My late mother had a Jewish boyfriend during the war. They remained friends and he often visited my parents when he returned the UK from his home in the USA. He never married. Of course it ended because there was no question of her marrying a Jew. He was a very wealthy man and left the bulk of his estate to Glasgow University. He was ever grateful to the people of Scotland who looked after him when his life was in turmoil because of the war.
     Just a little, but pertinant , aside.

  • Mr Grumpy

    You have a point, but you would have a better one if you didn’t put words into people’s mouths. You talk of “reacting against Scarfe’s cartoon by accusing him of a “blood libel””, yet what you quote the Board of Deputies as saying is only that the cartoon is “shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press”. That’s a statement of fact which in my judgement is substantially correct. So why shouldn’t they say it? And if Scarfe can’t take it, maybe it’s time for him to stop dishing it out.
     
    And re Jewish “paranoia”, did you see Ruth Dudley Edwards’ piece on Trocaire?
     
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/ruthdudleyedwards/100200301/the-jews-crucified-our-lord-irish-antisemitism-and-the-complicity-of-the-catholic-bishops/

  • Leo King

    What came before the 6-Day War and subsequent occupation of the West Bank and Gaza were two decades of terrorists attacks on Israeli civilians culminating in the convergence of five Arab armies on Israel’s borders, the closure of the vital Gulf of Aqaba and the explicit threat to finally “drive the Jews into the sea”. To make the “occupation” appear as if it came out of nowhere is disingenuous and historically inaccurate. 

  • CullenD

    An aside, but important. Perhaps I have a somewhat romantic view due to early teenage love, perhaps your view was warped by your mother’s story of a good man. But aren’t those better reasons to judge a person’s merit than a religion or ethnicity? 

  • CullenD

    I can’t see the need for a name change for a while. I just do it because of work issues. I won’t give hints because it would make my job seem far more interesting than it is, but I have to be careful not to have any overt views. I don’t let my friends e-mail me in work, just in case they write about a sensitive topic. For the same reason I don’t do facebook or it’s ilk.

    Darn it.. I’ve said too much…. this comment will destruct in 10 seconds.

  • teigitur

    Yes, of course.

  • teigitur

    Oh, I always had you down as some class of a civil servant anyhow..lol. In am awful for “boxing ” people, quite often rightly, but I never judge a book by its cover.

  • CullenD

    I can neither confirm or deny.

    But I am on a flexi long weekend. Which is somewhat telling.

    I am planning for some debauchery while I’m off. I’ve already had custard donuts and coffee for breakfast. Later I might get a take-out and have chips instead of boiled rice. I’ll visit the local tonight or tomorrow, then I’ll have 4 or even 5 instead of my normal 3. Darn it, but I’ll have to put in reading my book at some stage.

    The hectic life of an atheist is so difficult. 

  • Jonathan West

    Israelis like to think of history starting in 1967. They don’t like to think of the events of 1948 when Jewish forces committed what today be described as ethnic cleansing, causing about half a million people to flee their homes. They were never allowed to return.

  • Malkefredrics

    Mr Oddie-THE PAPER APOLOGIZED FOR THE ANTI-SEMITIC CARTOON. 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 sincerelyMartin IvensActing Editor

  • teigitur

     So it would seem…….. you scallywag. Chips indeed. Living dangerously!
     What are you reading?

  • Kevin

    “sacrificed by those perfidious Jews”

    That is a careless statement with an anti-Catholic effect, as it contains an obvious reference to the language of the Good Friday liturgy.

    This is one of the explanations of the non-antisemitic significance of the Good Friday prayer for the Jews listed in Wikipedia:
    “the expression ‘perfidious’ cannot logically apply to Jews apart from the circumstances of the crucifixion, except under a theory of collective guilt”.

  • Solly Gratia

    Thanks Mr Oddie, a welcome relief from all the hysteria of ‘he said they said’. As far as Israel’s history is concerned, let’s remember the Poles and Gypsies who also died in large numbers; do they make special claims on our guilt feelings 60 yeas later? As far as Palestine is concerned, Blood Brothers, by Palestinian Christian Bp Elias Chacour is a worth while read.

  • CullenD

    I was reading three when I wrote that but I just finished Cloud Atlas. I’m in the middle of a thriller/crime one called Reamde. It’s pretty good, 1000 pages long, but doesn’t drag on. 

    I also like fantasy, though I like ones that have a dark or unusual twist on the genre. So “Straight Razor Cure” wouldn’t be to most people’s taste as it’s a detective/fantasy novel. But the main character is enough of an anti-hero to appeal to me. 

  • W Oddie

    The paper apologised for publishing it on Holocaust memorial day. But it insisted that IT WASN’T  ANTI-SEMITIC. 

  • Leo King

    Once again you selectively choose to begin history with the alleged 1948 “ethnic cleansing” by “Jewish” (not Israeli) forces! You conveniently forget the rejection of the UN resolution creating two states (the Palestinian one three times larger than what is envisioned today) and subsequent attack on the fledgling State of Israel by the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq combined. You also conveniently omit the documented evidence (see Karsh’s “Palestine Betrayed”) of radio broadcasts by the Syrian military ordering Palestinian Arabs to leave the areas of conflict until the expected Arab victory to “drive the Jews into the sea” and the Arab evacuation from Haifa, Jaffa and other cities because of those orders. You obviously have a pretty lame grip on history, and undoubtedly are one of those who also wishes the Arab armies had indeed succeeded in the real ethnic cleansing and genocide that has been an explicit element in the charters of both the PLO and Hamas (check it out on the Internet). So continue fooling yourself, it it assuages your contempt for a Jewish state, but please don’t try and foist your ignorance on those who know better.

  • Skypilot

    You Eurpoeans must have the largest navels in the world!

  • Jonathan West

    I called them Jewish forces because that is what they were, there was no Israel at the time, and that is what they called themselves.

    The Arab armies didn’t attempt to attack until the ethnic cleansing was well under way, and the Syrian military made no such orders as you describe – it would have made no military sense. If you are advancing in order to liberate a friendly population, you want them to stay where they are and harass enemy lines of communication and tie down enemy troops in occupation duty.

    These are all a part of an Israeli rewriting of history to justify in particular the 1948 ethnic cleansing and avoid offering any kind of justice or compensation to those who were displaced or killed, and an particular to find a way of avoiding having to make any kind of land for peace deal.

    Just try a thought-experiment for a moment. Imagine what Israel’s policies and tactics would have been over the years had it not wanted to make a land-for-peace deal because in practice it wanted the land more than it wanted the peace, and that it wants the land but wants to ensure that the “demographic problem” is kept under control by not having to rule directly over a bunch of unruly non-Jewish Arabs who will insist on having human rights, which if granted would destroy the Jewish nature of Israel.

    What would successive governments do if they were operating according to
    such principles? It seems to me that they would use the following
    combination of tactics:

    1. Loudly insist on all possible occasions that they have “no partner
    for peace”. If the Palestinian leadership is united, then claim that
    they are unfit to be negotiated with because they are evil terrorists,
    and if the Palestinian leadership is divided, then claim that no
    negotiations are possible because the other side doesn’t have the power
    to deliver its end of the bargain.

    2. When negotiations with the Palestinians are unavoidable, ensure that
    the negotiations are strung out for the longest possible time with
    endless bickering over minor issues, and ensure that the negotiations
    ultimately fail, or are arranged for a delayed or progressive
    implementation which Israel can then cancel at a whim citing “security
    concerns”.

    3. Keep building further settlements irrespective of any promises made to the Americans or others. Obfuscate the issue by describing new building as “natural growth”, or claiming that new settlements are “illegal” and will be removed in due course. Of course, they hardly ever are, except that occasionally a caravan will be removed from a hilltop with great fanfare.

    4. Whip up as much fury among the Palestinian people as possible so that they are so angry at Israel that Palestinian public opinion is made as anti-peace as can be achieved. Publicise all Palestinian anti-peace actions and claim that they show that the Palestinians will never be satisfied with anything less than driving the Jews into the Mediterranean. This can be achieved with routine killings of individual Palestinians by Israeli soldiers for which nobody is ever brought to trial, coupled with occasional larger-scale operations going after “terrorist infrastructure” which in practice end up demolishing key elements of Palestinian civil society. For maximum effect, such larger-scale operations should be timed to occur whenever the pressure to participate in negotiations is rising, such as the imminent inauguration of a more moderate American president

    5. Ensure that the Palestinians remain as poor and helpless as possible, by restricting economic activity of all kind by means of checkpoints, blockades, barriers and other restrictions. In doing so, encourage the emigration of as many Palestinians as possible, and make it is difficult as possible for them ever to return once they have gone.

    6. Prevent as far as possible the building of new Palestinian homes or the expansion of Palestinian towns in order to claim that the surrounding land is unused and unwanted by the Palestinians and therefore can and should be built on by settlers.

    7. Whip up hatred among ordinary Israelis by making parallels with the Holocaust at every opportunity, and ensure that Israeli history textbooks include lies suggesting that the flight of the Palestinians during the 1948 war wasn’t an ethnic cleansing carried out under the guns of Israeli forces but was instead a voluntary movement to make way for the advancing Arab armies. Neglect to mention that the best way for a population to assist the advance of a friendly army is to stay put and do what it can to interdict enemy lines of supply and communication.

    Leo do you think that there is any chance that you yourself have been taken in by these tactics?

  • andHarry

    ‘ Neglect to mention that the best way for a population to assist the advance of a friendly army is to stay put and do what it can to interdict enemy lines of supply and communication.’

    I think you seriously overestimate the intelligence of the Arab opposition. It is not so much that Israel always won; rather, the opposition sometimes boobed.

  • Jonathan West

    If that was truly the case, then there wasn’t any threat to the Jewish communities in Palestine in the first place, and no need for the ethnic cleansing of 1948.

  • Weppa

    This is simply stronger then you are. It’s seems to be impossible for
    people in the UK to criticise Israel with out involving good old
    antisemitic symbols. You can’t avoid it even when it’s damaging your own
    argument. 

  • Jimbo2010

    If the wall was put up purely to protect Israel from terrorists it would have folowed the internationally recognised border. However it does not and weaves itself through the West Bank grabbing more land.

    Also the blood imagery is justified.

    The day after the cartoon was published it was reported in the press that 7 young Palestininians had been killed by Israeli security forces since the New Year.

    If we look back further, from September 2000 to November 2012
    (according to Israeli human rights group B’tselem) 6,511 Palestinians
    were killed by Israeli security
    forces.So the Occupation has indeed led to the blood of Palestinians being spilled.The cartoon was justified.

  • Na

    Of course, this didn’t use the same formula as Europe’s old
    blood accusation did. This time, it was different because Mr. Scarfe was
    careful not to bring up Jewish religious practices. However, in some ways, this
    modernized version of vitriol was much worse.

    To say this doesn’t smack of holocaust imagery (of the Polish
    ghetto) has me laughing so hard, I need a facelift to remove my deeply-troubled
    smile. Didn’t you hear that the Nazis forced us to bury ourselves too? What a
    romantic theme. Look at that mean messed up Jewish leader doing the same thing
    to the Arabs – that was done to him by the Nazis. The message is clear. Look at
    how he persecutes the “innocent” – in the same way that was done to them. Evidently,
    now we are the blood thirsty persecutors. Nice twist huh? Look, let’s stop
    getting caught up on the incorrect term anti-Semite anyway, shall we? The Arabs
    are Semites. Who cried Anti-Semite. It’s really a matter of JEW hatred. The point is that many elements of “Jew hatred” are there. I just
    can’t see this as being an accident – or due to the deep brilliance of Mr.
    Scarfe’s career. Pink Floyd proves the wall was not a hate device? Not buying
    that one at all. Of course the modern state of Israel is predominantly Jewish –
    so how could this not be viewed in that context.

    Bottom line: I agree that the
    world would be better served TRYING to make CONTENT oriented arguments (in their
    caricatures) of us Jewish folks, which they certainly did not do here,
    instead of using them to emotively demonize Israelis, every chance they get.
    It’s getting real old. But as you correctly noted, there are none to be
    made. On the other hand, I have a better idea, why not look at the situation in
    context? Nahhh. That will never happen.

  • Concerned

    Of course, this didn’t use the same formula as Europe’s old
    blood accusation did. This time, it was different because Mr. Scarfe was
    careful not to bring up Jewish religious practices. However, in some ways, this
    modernized version of vitriol was much worse.

    To say this doesn’t smack of holocaust imagery (of the Polish
    ghetto) has me laughing so hard, I need a facelift to remove my deeply-troubled
    smile. Didn’t you hear that the Nazis forced us to bury ourselves too? What a
    romantic theme. Look at that mean messed up Jewish leader doing the same thing
    to the Arabs – that was done to him by the Nazis. The message is clear. Look at
    how he persecutes the “innocent” – in the same way that was done to them. Evidently,
    now we are the blood thirsty persecutors. Nice twist huh? Look, let’s stop
    getting caught up on the incorrect term anti-Semite anyway, shall we? The Arabs
    are Semites. The point is that many elements of “Jew hatred” are there. I just
    can’t see this as being an accident – or due to the deep brilliance of Mr.
    Scarfe’s career. Pink Floyd proves the wall was not a hate device? Not buying
    that one at all. Of course the modern state of Israel is predominantly Jewish –
    so how could this not be viewed in that context. Bottom line: I agree that the
    world would be better served TRYING to make CONTENTUAL arguments (in their
    caricatures) against us Jewish folks, which they certainly did not do here,
    instead of using them to emotively demonize Israelis, every chance they get.
    It’s getting real old. But as you correctly noted, there are none to be
    made. On the other hand, I have a better idea, why not look at the situation in
    context? Nahhh. That will never happen.