Patterico's Pontifications

4/28/2019

New York Times: We’re Sure Sorry About Publishing That Anti-Semitic Cartoon (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:25 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Oops. A cartoon appeared in the Op-Ed section of The New York Times’ International edition on Thursday that depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dachshund wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind President Trump who is wearing a yarmulke:

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After receiving criticism for its publication, The New York Times subsequently released a non-apology on Saturday that weaselly claimed that it was a cartoon that included anti-Semitic tropes, rather than a forthright description: it was an anti-Semitic cartoon:

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Knowing that this error of judgement didn’t happen in a vacuum, this can be seen as nothing but yet another effort at normalizing anti-Semitism in the pages of The New York Times. Thus the claimed “error in judgement to publish it” becomes as laughable as does the quasi-apology. Given that at least one editor of the International edition had to approve publication of the cartoon, one presumes said editor is educated and has some real awareness of the skyrocketing levels of anti-Semitism, both here and throughout Europe. Further, said editor must be familiar with the blowback the paper receives every time they engage in anti-Semitism. Therefore such an error in judgement would appear to be an intentional decision. Interestingly, no employee names are mentioned, and no mention of whether those who made the error in judgement will lose their jobs as a result of actively pushing anti-Semitism in the newspaper.

Seth Franzman, op-ed editor of The Jerusalem Post makes it simple enough for even the editors at the NYT to grasp:

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It’s instructive to remember what executive editor Dean Baquet told the public editor in 2015 about his decision made to not run the Charlie Hebdo cartoon in the pages of the NYT:

Mr. Baquet told me that he started out the day Wednesday convinced that The Times should publish the images, both because of their newsworthiness and out of a sense of solidarity with the slain journalists and the right of free expression.

He said he had spent “about half of my day” on the question, seeking out the views of senior editors and reaching out to reporters and editors in some of The Times’s international bureaus. They told him they would not feel endangered if The Times reproduced the images, he told me, but he remained concerned about staff safety.

“I sought out a lot of views, and I changed my mind twice,” he said. “It had to be my decision alone.”

Ultimately, he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers. To many of them, he said, depictions of the prophet Muhammad are sacrilegious; those that are meant to mock even more so. “We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult.”

Clearly the sensibilities of Jewish readers were not considered in this decision making process. But then again, even the NYT understands that the only real risk in offending the Jewish community is a short-lived collective outcry and the possible cancellation of subscriptions. Impacts they have previously absorbed.

This morning, however, an actual apology was published. Of course one has to wonder why such a direct, we-own-it apology wasn’t made right out the gate? That it took four days after the fact diminishes its intended impact. In a sad bit of irony, the apology comes as :

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This “faulty process,” however, is nothing new, not even in New York.

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens addressed the publication of the cartoon an op-ed this morning, pointing out that “The Times wasn’t explaining anti-Semitism. It was purveying it”:

Here was an image that, in another age, might have been published in the pages of Der Stürmer. The Jew in the form of a dog. The small but wily Jew leading the dumb and trusting American. The hated Trump being Judaized with a skullcap. The nominal servant acting as the true master. The cartoon checked so many anti-Semitic boxes that the only thing missing was a dollar sign.

The image also had an obvious political message: Namely, that in the current administration, the United States follows wherever Israel wants to go. This is false — consider Israel’s horrified reaction to Trump’s announcement last year that he intended to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria — but it’s beside the point. There are legitimate ways to criticize Trump’s approach to Israel, in pictures as well as words. But there was nothing legitimate about this cartoon.

While he questions its placement in the NYT, Stephens cuts the publication (and individual editors) slack, and is willing to give them a benefit of the doubt that I am unwilling to do:

For some Times readers — or, as often, former readers — the answer is clear: The Times has a longstanding Jewish problem, dating back to World War II, when it mostly buried news about the Holocaust, and continuing into the present day in the form of intensely adversarial coverage of Israel. The criticism goes double when it comes to the editorial pages, whose overall approach toward the Jewish state tends to range, with some notable exceptions, from tut-tutting disappointment to thunderous condemnation.

For these readers, the cartoon would have come like the slip of the tongue that reveals the deeper institutional prejudice. What was long suspected is, at last, revealed.

The real story is a bit different, though not in ways that acquit The Times. The cartoon appeared in the print version of the international edition, which has a limited overseas circulation, a much smaller staff, and far less oversight than the regular edition. Incredibly, the cartoon itself was selected and seen by just one midlevel editor right before the paper went to press.

An initial editor’s note acknowledged that the cartoon “included anti-Semitic tropes,” “was offensive,” and that “it was an error of judgment to publish it.” On Sunday, The Times issued an additional statement saying it was “deeply sorry” for the cartoon and that “significant changes” would be made in terms of internal processes and training.

In other words, the paper’s position is that it is guilty of a serious screw-up but not a cardinal sin. Not quite.

The problem with the cartoon isn’t that its publication was a willful act of anti-Semitism. It wasn’t. The problem is that its publication was an astonishing act of ignorance of anti-Semitism — and that, at a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial microaggressions to transphobia.

Imagine, for instance, if the dog on a leash in the image hadn’t been the Israeli prime minister but instead a prominent woman such as Nancy Pelosi, a person of color such as John Lewis, or a Muslim such as Ilhan Omar. Would that have gone unnoticed by either the wire service that provides the Times with images or the editor who, even if he were working in haste, selected it?

The question answers itself. And it raises a follow-on: How have even the most blatant expressions of anti-Semitism become almost undetectable to editors who think it’s part of their job to stand up to bigotry?

The reason is the almost torrential criticism of Israel and the mainstreaming of anti-Zionism, including by this paper, which has become so common that people have been desensitized to its inherent bigotry. So long as anti-Semitic arguments or images are framed, however speciously, as commentary about Israel, there will be a tendency to view them as a form of political opinion, not ethnic prejudice. But as I noted in a Sunday Review essay in February, anti-Zionism is all but indistinguishable from anti-Semitism in practice and often in intent, however much progressives try to deny this.

Add to the mix the media’s routine demonization of Netanyahu, and it is easy to see how the cartoon came to be drawn and published: Already depicted as a malevolent Jewish leader, it’s just a short step to depict him as a malevolent Jew.

It will interesting to see if the editor is actually fired over this error in judgement, and to learn exactly what an investigation reveals. But, in the end, will anything really change? After all, the publication of the cartoon occurred during the Jewish Holy Week, and the subsequent apology comes as Holocaust Remembrance week begins.

UPDATE: Here is some background on how the decision to publish the cartoon was made:

The cartoon was drawn by the Portuguese cartoonist António Moreira Antunes and originally published by Expresso, a newspaper in Lisbon. It was then picked up by CartoonArts International, a syndicate for cartoons from around the world.

The New York Times Licensing Group sells content from CartoonArts and other publishers along with material from The New York Times to news sites and other customers.

The Times’s United States edition does not typically publish political cartoons and did not run this one, but the international edition frequently includes them. An editor from The Times’s Opinion section downloaded Mr. Antunes’s cartoon from the syndicate and made the decision to publish it, according to Ms. Murphy.

[…]

Sergio Florez, the managing editor for The Times’s Licensing Group, said the group took in 30 or more cartoons a week from CartoonArts through an automated feed to its website, where publishers can look through the cartoons and buy a license to reprint them. The group’s editors sporadically review the feed and remove work that is biased or racist, he said.

“Had we seen this cartoon in one of those sweeps, we definitely would have pulled it,” Mr. Florez said. The cartoon has been deleted from the Licensing Group’s collection, he said.

Nancy Lee, the executive editor of the Licensing Group, said the group would review its arrangement with CartoonArts.

The company’s licensing deal with The Times goes back several decades, Ms. Lee said. CartoonArts, based in New York, was founded in 1978 by the cartoonist Jerry Robinson to bring global cartoons to a wider audience. It is now run by his son, Jens Robinson.

“We receive and post cartoons from around the world of many shades of political opinion,” Mr. Robinson said by email. “The cartoon in question was viewed as political commentary. However, we understand the decision to remove it from the website.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

-Dana

105 Responses to “New York Times: We’re Sure Sorry About Publishing That Anti-Semitic Cartoon (UPDATE ADDED)”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (779465)

  2. I actually don’t see anything offensive in that cartoon. But 1) I see it more as Bibi in the role of Trump’s housebroken pet than Bibi leading Trump along and 2) I think Bibi is a lousy PM (this includes stuff that has nothing to do directly with the Israeli American relationship or the Palestinians). If nothing else his open embrace of the GOP made it that much easier for the Democrats to go antiIsrael (perhaps they would get there on their own, but there’s no reason to encourage them).

    Kishnevi (c5cd7d)

  3. It also shows that the NYT hires anti-Semites who seem to be willing to express their views. Now, maybe the NY Times has an wide-ranging policy of encouraging political diversity, but somehow I don’t think so.

    Which brings up an interesting question: Are there more anti-Semites in the newsroom than Republicans? I’m guessing there are more blond Zoroastrians than Republicans.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  4. I actually don’t see anything offensive in that cartoon

    It shows the US as being blindly led in foreign policy by “Jewish” interests (the yarmulke). The casting of Netanyahu as a dog is probably extra funny to Muslims and has strong connotations in that region.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  5. I wonder what minimum number elements could be removed to make a not anti-semitic? Just the skullcap and the Star of David?

    I like the red, leading us to hell, background. Seems going anti-Jew wasted what could have been a good political cartoon.

    Frosty, Th GfY (87f836)

  6. @4 don’t forget it’s a wiener dog. So the wiener thing. And that breed of dog was developed to hunt small burrowing animals.

    Frosty, Th GfY (87f836)

  7. Appalling! The cartoonist should be drawn– then quartered; that pooch looks more like British actor Geoffrey Palmer than Bibi!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  8. worms love crapping in the N.Y. Times

    mg (8cbc69)

  9. 2. Kishnevi (c5cd7d) — 4/28/2019 @ 2:50 pm

    But 1) I see it more as Bibi in the role of Trump’s housebroken pet than Bibi leading Trump along

    Trump has dark
    glasses, so Bibi is a guide dog, and he’s”blindly” leading Trump around. As for Trump himself seemingly being Jewish which would spoil or interfere with the idea of Jews leading other people around, that is probably the result of the cartoonist throwing in every anti-semitic symbokl he could think of into the cartoon even if they work at cross purposes.

    Accusing people thought to have a favorable opinion of Jews of being Jews themselves is an anti-semitic trope, as is the idea that it is enough to accuse someone of being Jewish or being allied with “Zionists” to say that what he is doing is wrong is. They need not say any more.

    Now one thing: This cartoon did not originate at the New York Times. It was something probably published all over the Islamic world. It’s common to see such things published there – they’re republished from time to time to show what appears, say, in Egyptian or perhaps Turkish newspapers, and the editor had lost all of his sensitivity to that, if he ever had it.

    There is even a possibility that this was snuck in, because it was added at the last moment.

    Another question is what article or opinion piece was this supposed to illustrate? It seems to be this one by Thomas L. Friedman:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/opinion/trump-immigration-border-wall.html

    That’s probably the wrong column. Maybe he failed to get in in relation to this column:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/opinion/netanyahu-trump-israel-election.html

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  10. The problem here is maybe that some people won’t face the fact that is what is “mainstream” in certain places in the world is to be condemned. Places are not “western.” So they’re not on guard against it.

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  11. “It will interesting to see if the editor is actually fired over this error in judgement….”

    I think the odds are higher that editor wins a Pulitzer.

    Munroe (022387)

  12. My friend kish wrote, in #2 above, that he “actually do[esn’t] see anything offensive in that cartoon.” I think it’s offensive, and deliberately so, but not antisemitic.

    Suppose instead of a cartoon, the NYT had published an op-ed which asserted:

    Trump is utterly blind in matters of foreign policy, but he is indeed devoted, and perhaps indebted, to Israel and to its current PM for Netanyahu’s docile and vocal political support of him. Netanyahu in turn is eager to engage in subordination of himself and his country to Trump, licking Trump’s hand and currying his favor like a particularly foppish form of dog (perhaps even a dachshund) — while nevertheless remaining alert to, and taking advantage of, the many ways he (Netanyahu) can use the resulting influence to guide blind Trump and U.S. policy according to Netanyahu’s choices.

    I wouldn’t agree with an op-ed so arguing. And I think that there is no doubt whatsoever that the comparisons made in it — of Trump to a blind fool, and of Netanyahu to a clever dog — are offensive! Stripped of sarcasm and hyperbole, the argument is that Trump should open his eyes and stop allowing himself to be led, and that Netanyahu should stand up to Trump as an equal on the world stage instead of taking the role of a fawning subordinate.

    But I don’t think the argument depends upon antisemitic tropes in particular. People of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds can be sly and fawning in the manner of a pet dog, and likewise all such peoples can be politically blind and eager to be misled. There’s nothing which puts this kind of offensiveness into a category unique to Jews, Israelis, or semitic people in general. (If the dog had been killing gentile children and drinking their blood, in a deliberate an obvious allusion to the blood libels published in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that would be antisemitic.)

    And I don’t think that putting the argument into imagery instead of stating it in vivid text takes it outside the realm of permissible argument in the opinions section of a major American newspaper.

    If I’m missing something, I’m cheerfully willing to be corrected.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  13. name a street after the editor – “Anonymous Avenue”

    mg (8cbc69)

  14. How come they left out the Benjamins?

    nk (dbc370)

  15. Actually, the cartoon shows a Benjamin. Except his last name is not Franklin.

    Kishnevi (8f6228)

  16. Touche, kishnevi. (Or would the NYT say “tushie”?)

    And I must disagree with your earlier comment. It is something out of Der Sturmer. And a perfect summary of the alleged motives of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. And I think the NYT went into a bigger panic than they are letting on. Half of my first wife’s NYT was missing this morning.

    In case you didn’t know, the NYT is not printed in New York and flown to the rest of the world. It is sent out electronically to local printers with whom they sub-contract, and delivered likewise. (In the Chicago area, by the Chicago Tribune.) I think they did a “Stop the presses!” while figuring out where exactly it was.

    nk (dbc370)

  18. @ nk: Meh. I really don’t think that in terms of its antisemitism, the NYT’s current cartoon belongs in this collection.

    The whole point of a political cartoon is to shock, so deliberately offensive political cartoons are generally about as offensive as water is wet.

    Surely it’s possible, though, to have a political cartoon intended to shock the viewer on the topic of the Trump-Bibi relationship — and which will therefore include their cartoon likenesses, and in Bibi’s case a Star of David to ensure that the cartoon rendering of him is readily identifiable to American audiences — which is not antisemitic. I just don’t see blindness and doggish subservience/cunning to be antisemitic tropes.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  19. Bah. Trying again: “… so deliberately offensive political cartoons are generally about as common as wet water.”

    Beldar (fa637a)

  20. You know what, Beldar? You’re right. I should not have weakened my better argument with a disputable comparison. I hereby amend my comment:

    It may not rise to the level of something out of Der Sturmer, but it is a perfect summary of the alleged motives of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.

    nk (dbc370)

  21. Also: The yarmulke is obviously like Trump’s MAGA ballcaps — and indeed, you can readily find MAGA yarmulkes for sale on the internet. Trump uses hats more than most men in the public spotlight, because he needs them to conceal the bald desolation normally covered by his hairdo while he’s out of doors. Frantzman’s tweet claims the cartoon “put[s] a yarmulke on the US President in a negative way,” but I really don’t know what that’s supposed to mean. Trump wore a yarmulke when he visited the Wailing Wall. Was that “negative”? I don’t get it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  22. @ nk, re your #20: D’accord.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  23. “The New York Times….All the news a ‘mid-level editor’ sees fit to print”

    I think it’s interesting that it appeared in the International Edition, it’s almost like The Times has lower standards on how it presents the United States behind its back and where more like-minded people are enlightened on how evil and clueless it is.

    And it’s the managing editor and the editorial/opinion page editors who should be fired or at least disciplined. If they truly never even approved their own content then they weren’t doing their jobs, which is more damning than approving the toons outright.

    The Times was getting hammered by their own readers (even so, many were applauding the toon), that’s why they finally apologized. The double standard the Times employs in characterizing Israel vs Palestinian is just a reflection of their well-entrenched bias.

    They keep pushing further Left and they just discovered a line they can’t cross,…for the time being. Remember back when they said hurting Trump was more important than objective journalism?

    harkin (a741df)

  24. Beldar in 12 and 20 said what I meant, but much better than I did. Which (the saying much better part) is not unusual.

    But one detail may not strike me as meaningful is the sunglasses. Here in Florida where I am (and where Trump is when he’s Maralagoing) sunglasses are the normal thing dawn to dusk. Hence an image of anyone wesring sunglasses doesn’t signify much of anything. In places where they actually have winter, it might be different.

    Kishnevi (e266d6)

  25. “If the dog had been killing gentile children and drinking their blood, in a deliberate an obvious allusion to the blood libels published in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that would be antisemitic.”

    Are you sure?

    And Lol at not seeing BN as a guide dog for a blind Trump (I’m in CA, sunglasses everywhere, was not a problem spotting the theme).

    harkin (a741df)

  26. Agree with nk…if the dachshund stands on his back 2, they can swap out Bibi and put in Jared.

    urbanleftbehind (d0ddaa)

  27. Art is evocative. Even bad art. I see Netanyahu (In the cartoon, in the cartoon!) as more snake-like than wiener-like, for example. And Trump (The cartoon Trump!) looks the more stereotypically Jewish one to me — a cross between a pawnbroker and a Hollywood studio mogul.

    nk (dbc370)

  28. The cartoon bibi looks a bit like Telly Savalas.

    urbanleftbehind (d0ddaa)

  29. @ harkin (#25): You obviously didn’t read my entire comment, sir (#12), in which I described “the comparisons made in [the cartoon to be] of Trump to a blind fool, and of Netanyahu to a clever dog,” such that the cartoon’s “argument is that Trump should open his eyes and stop allowing himself to be led, and that Netanyahu should stand up to Trump as an equal on the world stage instead of taking the role of a fawning subordinate.”

    Yes, I spotted the themes. I remain willing to be corrected if I’m missing something, but not by someone who hasn’t bothered to read what I’ve already written.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  30. The cartoonist could have given Trump a white cane to go with the sunglasses, I suppose.

    Trump’s a fat guy in a suit. He’s a fat guy in a suit in pretty much every political cartoon that isn’t set on a golf course. Showing him as a fat guy in a suit isn’t something that screams antisemitism on the part of the cartoonist to me, but YMMV.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  31. Ok, let’s do a little bit more art appreciation:
    It’s obvious to me that the sunglasses are there to imply, by sitting on top of, Trump’s Jewish nose bump.
    While Netanayahu has an exaggerated “shiksa nose”. (Yes, I know a shiksa is a girl.)

    nk (dbc370)

  32. Stop it right there before you say that the dog’s ears resemble a blond hairdo!
    Still 3 hours of Sunday left in Patterico-land.

    urbanleftbehind (e5fadb)

  33. Well, akshually, I was going to say that Netanyahu’s snake-like body, muscular legs, and poised posture, imply the Apocalyptic Dragon.

    nk (dbc370)

  34. Bret Stephens, as quoted above in Dana’s post, lists the following supposed anti-semitic elements:

    The Jew in the form of a dog. The small but wily Jew leading the dumb and trusting American. The hated Trump being Judaized with a skullcap. The nominal servant acting as the true master. The cartoon checked so many anti-Semitic boxes that the only thing missing was a dollar sign.

    But dogs are ubiquitous in political cartoons, as in political metaphor and imagery generally. In its entry on Stereotypes of Jews, Wikipedia contains no references to Jews being compared to dogs. The far more usual comparison I’ve seen in antisemitic cartoons draws Jews as rats, actually. As a rough empirical measure thereof, when I do a google search on “cartoons of Jews as dogs,” the first two pages of search returns is filled with references to this particular cartoon. When I search on “cartoons of Jews as rats,” by contrast, I get pages upon pages of search returns going back decades.

    Regarding dumb and trusting Americans being led by small by wily figures, how long will it take us to find a cartoon of small and wily Vladimir Putin leading big fat Trump? It took me less than 10 seconds. Trump being either blind, or an eager dupe of other world leaders (certainly including Putin and Kim), isn’t an antisemitic trope, but rather an anti-Trump trope (and an accurate one).

    And as Stephens notes, the antisemitic trope most commonly used in demonizing Jews — references to dollars, wealth, avarice, and greed — is conspicuous here by its absence. It’s a significant absence, I submit.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  35. I agree with Beldar. It is deliberately offensive in that Israel/Bibi are leading the US/Trump around like a blind fool. But i don’t see the anti-Semitism. Israel is the smart one here. I know some think it is unfair to stereotype Jews as shrewd but is it anti-Semitic? I don’t know.

    DRJ (15874d)

  36. Further internet research suggests to me that few blind people use both a cane and a guide dog at the same time.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  37. Fluff only for me, lately. I rediscovered a childhood (ok, teens) favorite, Anthony Boucher, and read everything by him again. His novels are mediocre at best (I read them anyway) but his short stories, of which I found two collections, are excellent. His “The Compleat Werewolf” will always be my favorite werewolf story I think, and his “They Bite” still raised goosebumps and at my age too.

    nk (dbc370)

  38. Sorry, wrong thread.

    nk (dbc370)

  39. Alinsky’s Rule for Radical No. 13: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    It’s obvious to me that the intent of the cartoon, published in the international edition of the NYT, can have only three interpretations:
    1. The kinder one: To hurt Trump, by redirecting anger against Netanyahu’s policies to anger against Trump.
    2. The less kind one: To hurt America, by turning hatred of Israel to hatred of America.
    3. Both of the above.

    nk (dbc370)

  40. @ nk (#39): Again, d’accord.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  41. looks accurate to me. are they going to return israeli government bottles for their deposits to help bibi with his legal defense fund on corruption charges.

    lany (52d01d)

  42. What’s even more disappointing are the hundreds of commentators to this Op-Ed piece, approving of a cartoon that could have easily been published in the “Der Stürmer” back in the day.

    B.A. DuBois (80f588)

  43. 29 – “@ harkin (#25): You obviously didn’t read my entire comment,“

    My only reference to your comment was my first sentence.

    My comment on the theme for the ‘blind’ Trump referred to the comment at 24 that sunglasses didn’t signify much, which I thought was obvious when I referenced sunglasses and a different sunny locale than FL.

    harkin (a741df)

  44. “Further internet research suggests to me that few blind people use both a cane and a guide dog at the same time.”

    When you want to make sure people get the point, double down.

    harkin (a741df)

  45. There is an ugly history of “Jews as dogs” in Europe, the Middle East, and even America. A few examples:

    From Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

    At her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Ginsburg
    explained how her background sensitized her to the evils of
    inequality:
    Senator Kennedy, I am alert to discrimination. I grew up during World War II in a Jewish family. I have memories as a child, even before the war, of being in a car with my parents and passing a place in [Pennsylvania], a resort with a sign out in front that read: “No dogs or Jews allowed.” Signs of that kind existed in this country during my childhood. One couldn’t help but be sensitive to discrimination, living as a Jew in America at the time of World War
    11.1

    From Spectator:

    I mean, it’s not like this cartoon says that a tiny country on the other side of the world controls the president of the most powerful country in the world.

    It’s not like this cartoon implies this alleged manipulation is religious in inspiration, hence the kippah and the Star of David necklace, as if that might be the source of the malignant and magical power that this tiny people exerts over global politics.

    It’s not like the image of the ‘Jewish dog’ as manipulator has any resonance in European Christian culture. ‘As the dog Jew did utter in the streets, “My daughter, O my ducats”,’ Salarino says in the line that isn’t in The Merchant of Venice.

    It’s not as if the same image of the Jewish dog has any resonance among Muslims, whose holy book promises the transformation of Jews and Christians into apes, pigs and dogs.

    It’s not as if this classic European anti-Semitism, combined with what dog breeders would call a novel crossbreeding with themes rampant in the Jew-hating Arab and Muslim world.

    Late 19th century Europe “resort antisemitism” became popular:

    One particular form of discrimination that grew in significance during the last decades of the nineteenth century in Germany is what came to be known as ‘resort antisemitism’. Perhaps the most famous example of this phenomenon is the case of Borkum in the North Sea, which even came complete with its own antisemitic song. People there hung signs on their homes that read, “Jews and dogs may not enter!” and “This house is Jew-free, damned shall every Jew be!” (“Dieses Haus ist judenrein, verdammt soll jeder Jude sein!”)[7]

    and in America:

    It was social discrimination in the 1870s, in fact, that seemed to indicate a new and potentially troubling situation for Jews in the United States. No doubt the most famous instance of discrimination against Jews during those years involved the banker Joseph Seligman and the refusal of Henry Hilton’s Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga, New York, in 1877, to serve him. While it is widely cited, it was by no means the first such case. One year earlier a hotel in New Jersey placed an ad in the New York Tribune declaring, “Jews are not admitted.”[11] Two years after the Seligman case the Manhattan Beach Corporation in Coney Island, New York announced it would no longer accept Jewish guests. Its president, Austin Corbin, explained his thinking behind the new policy. “We do not like Jews as a class,” he said. “As a rule they make themselves offensive. They are a detestable and vulgar people.”[12] As John Higham noted, the decade that followed would see discrimination against Jews at hotels and resorts “spread like wildfire” across New York and New Jersey.[13] As Jews started purchasing hotels in this region, competition grew fierce, with non-Jewish hotels posting signs and publishing ads in newspapers and magazines announcing, for example, “No Dogs. No Jews. No Consumptives.”[14]

    Also, notable Jewish families depicted as dogs.

    And in the U.S., “Jews are our dogs”:

    The incident happened when I was at the anti-Israel demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate in San Francisco on Thursday, July 12. The demonstration, organized by a Palestinian group called Al-Awda, was loud, boisterous and passionate. Suddenly and shockingly, demonstrators began chanting in Arabic, “Al-Yahud kelabna!” Or, “The Jews are our dogs!”

    Etc., etc.

    Dana (779465)

  46. I’ve updated the post with some background info about the cartoon, the artist, and how the decision to publish it was made.

    Dana (779465)

  47. Dana @45. Spot on.

    nk (dbc370)

  48. nk, I’ve long known about this, and given the smart and more well informed individuals at the NYT, I have to assume they knew as well. This isn’t well hidden.

    Dana (779465)

  49. So they were not on the alert against this because it came from Portugal. But who knows who the cartoonist’s usual customers are? That’s the next thing I want to know. What papers or outlets?

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  50. Thanks for educating me, Dana.

    DRJ (15874d)

  51. If a cartoonist portrayed an African leader/chimp leading Trump around, most would consider that an objectionable stereotype and racist. I guess this is the same. It is clearly an objectionable stereotype but the “Jews as dogs” meme is news to me.

    DRJ (15874d)

  52. Thank you Dana. It really bothers me when people try to minimize the anti-Semitism and anti-Christianity of the left.

    NJRob (1f2e82)

  53. The dog actually is forced because of the motif of a seeing-eye dog leading a blind man, and the sunglasses of course means he is blind and makes clear it is seeing-eye dog. It is not really, in itself, an anti-Jewish trope, although maybe the cartoonist thought it might have a nice double meaning in some places.

    Trump wearing a skullcap is the telling thing here. It doesn’t identify him. It seems to indicate that Jewishness is the key thing here. As I said, the different anti-semitic themes get in the way of each other because if Trump is being fooled, he shouldn’t be wearing a velvet yarmulke. Unless the idea is to say he’s being converted or had it put on is head unknowingly. But really it has no meaning at all. The cartoonist just overdid it.

    35. DRJ (15874d) — 4/28/2019 @ 9:01 pm

    Israel is the smart one here. I know some think it is unfair to stereotype Jews as shrewd but is it anti-Semitic? I don’t know.

    It is, if they are accused of cheating or fooling people, (and it is not true, and it is supposed to be because they are Jewish.)

    It’s a kind of a meta slander. You know, the international Jewish conspiracy. This is used because when false accusations can’t be defended at all on the merits, they have to come up with some way to get people to stop listening to the refutations and not to trust their own ability to think. So they make a blanket accusation that (Jews) are fooling people (into harming themselves or others) i.e., you don’t know how or why but you’re being fooled because Jews are really smart.

    Ilhan Omar had a variation on that in her recently publicized 2012 tweet (Jews leading people around, with not the slightest bit of it being on the merits.)

    Sammy Finkelman (30b6b6)

  54. Omg, the Washington Examiner reminds me that this is the same NYT that published a Jew tracker, and then quietly removed it after massive criticism:

    The New York Times was accused of anti-Semitism on Thursday after publishing a list of lawmakers who voted against the Iran deal that included the columns “Jewish?” and “State and estimated Jewish population.” Jewish lawmakers and those who represent a district with a larger Jewish population than the U.S. average were singled out further with a yellow highlight…

    Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism, told the Washington Free Beacon that the chart plays into stereotypes of “Jewish pressure” and “Jewish money” influencing the vote on the Iran agreement adding, “It’s a grotesque insult to the intelligence of the people who voted for and will vote against [the deal].”

    Dana (779465)

  55. I should have trusted you, and myself, in my first of impression of your post, “How come they left out the Benjamins?”, and not been swayed by peer pressure from other commenters, Dana. You have thoroughly shown that this is not an isolated incident.

    nk (dbc370)

  56. Off-topic (but on a continuing topic):

    Massachusetts DA’s sue ICE to thwart arrests at Bay State courthouses

    https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/04/29/das-rachael-rollins-marian-ryan-to-sue-ice/

    Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said “it would be my honor” to face arrest by the feds in her opposition to ICE as she and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced a lawsuit aimed at keeping immigrations officials out of Bay state courthouses.

    Rollins and Ryan said they worked with public defenders, prosecutors, and various community groups over the past year to file the suit, which alleges that the increased ICE enforcement is scaring away immigrants and therefore making it harder to bring cases.

    “That is an assault on our justice system,” Ryan said in a news conference Monday morning in which she slammed Immigrations & Customs Enforcement practices. “Not one person in our Commonwealth is safer because of that practice.”

    “ICE’s policy is undermining the work of the justice system as a whole,” Ryan said. “Prosecutors are forced to abandon cases because many victims and witnesses are deterred from appearing in court. The policy also makes it more difficult to obtain defendants appearance in court.”

    I think it’s a nice touch that illegal immigrant defendants are excused from failing to appear by the DA’s.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  57. On-topic: The Poway shooter disliked Trump, calling the president a “Zionist, Anti-White, Traitorous, C***sucker.” Maybe he was a Times reader.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  58. Dana, #45, the post-Reconstruction period was rife with discrimination. Not only the beginning of Jim Crow, enabled by the US Supreme Court in Cruikshank, but open discrimination against both Jews and Catholics. In a period marked by a nativist movement within the Republican Party, the Blaine Amendment failed in the US Senate after passing the House overwhelmingly.

    No State shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; and no money raised by taxation in any State for the support of public schools, or derived from any public fund therefor, nor any public lands devoted thereto, shall ever be under the control of any religious sect; nor shall any money so raised or lands so devoted be divided between religious sects or denominations.

    The reality was that both Jewish and Catholic immigrants objected to the overt Protestant character of public schools and wanted something separate. The Blaine Amendment was aimed at blocking public funding of schools that the majority did not control, and while it failed 38 states put similar language into their state constitutions. These are still used against vouchers today.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  59. Between this fustercluck, “Jesus was a Palestinian”, and all the rest, these NYT folks are a bit backward. “Well-researched” associated with nearly anything they publish is over stated, to say the least.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  60. Pro-colonialist Israelis and Americans have gone out of their way to conflate Israeli nationalism, colonialism, and expansionism with Judaism. Understandable, I suppose – from a historical perspective, especially – but a vast surplus of social capital has been spent in the endeavor, and I think that surplus is quickly dwindling. The Star of David is the symbol of a religion and a nation-state, and politicians like Netanyahu would love for a respect of the former to prohibit criticism of the latter.

    When all serious criticism of Israeli nationalism, colonialism, and/or expansionism is automatically labeled as anti-Semitic, something is badly amiss. Nationalism, colonialism, and expansionism are political ideologies, whether they’re being implemented (to greater or lesser degrees) by Trump, Netanyahu, or any other political leader. They should be subject to criticism as such.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  61. That said, if a conservative cartoon dressed Barack Obama as a Muslim, the NYT would probably sh*t its pants.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  62. All anti-Semites are anti-Israel, and take cover there. It generally does not take very long for a statement critical of Israel to drift into one critical of Israelis and become indistinguishable from one critical of the Jews. A political position that would be unsatisfied until Israel disappeared from the Earth is ipso facto anti-Semitic. Politicians who denounce Israel, but support countless other regimes far more oppressive and undemocratic, have little real defense here.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  63. If I say “Israel is an important ally, but not a good ally” does that make me anti-semitic? Israel has a habit of selling American secrets to China, for example, and I feel that uncritical support doesn’t do us any favors.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  64. “All anti-Semites are anti-Israel, and take cover there.”

    – Kevin M

    I seriously, seriously doubt that, and would be very interested to see any evidence supporting it.

    To the extent that arguments critical of Israel and Israelis ever become “indistinguishable” from arguments critical of “the Jews,” they frequently become so in the eye of beholder. Many people *want* the two concepts to be “indistinguishable,” and *believe* that the two concepts are indistinguishable as a preexisting ideological tenet, devoid of rational basis, and (as such) the indistinguishability these people perceive will often be the product of confirmation bias. Those who *want* to perceive a distinction between Israel/Israelis and “the Jews” will almost always be able to do so, and on perfectly legitimate and rational grounds.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  65. “All anti-Semites are anti-Israel, and take cover there.”

    – Kevin M

    64. Leviticus (efada1) — 4/29/2019 @ 12:46 pm

    I seriously, seriously doubt that…

    he didn’t say “All people who are anti-Israel are anti-Semites but “All anti-Semites are anti-Israel.”

    and would be very interested to see any evidence supporting it.

    Logic, and many examoples, tells you this. The only exceptions should be those who do not talk about Israel

    Now, I suppose you could say some Eastern Europeans are anti-semitic but pro-Israel, although when that happens,. they also tend to pull back from their anti-semitism:

    https://www.jta.org/2017/01/13/global/jobbik-party-vows-to-reverse-its-anti-israel-attitude

    And you could even say that about Richard Nixon circa 1973.

    But then there has to be something not quite universal about their anti-semitism. Nixon seems to have adopted a few anti-semitic ideas, which he probably got from Bebe Rebozo. He thoght f Issraelis as different. What probably bothered him was that Jews woudn’t vote for him ny and large.

    Pat Buchanan started out being pro-Israel but he was so pro-Nazi he turned against Israel.

    I could say another thing: Most intolerant ideologies eventually become anti-semitic. (Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe just one third to one half of them.)

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  66. “All anti-Semites are anti-Israel, and take cover there.”

    I once read that there was a famous Russian intellectual who was both an anti-semite and a Zionist. On the theory that Jews were an unassimilatable element in Russian society, but deserved their own country.

    But that appears to be a rare combination.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  67. They cloak the anti-semitism with anti-Israel diatribes, but they don’t fool anyone.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  68. @ Dana: Do you think it is possible to construct a political cartoon criticizing the Trump-Bibi relationship without being antisemitic? Can you give us some examples?

    You went to considerable effort to find examples of Jews being compared to dogs, which I never denied had happened. My different point, which you haven’t addressed, is that they are more commonly referred to in antisemitic cartoons or other memes as rats and vermin. Do you disagree with my actual point?

    Is it ever possible to compare anyone who’s Jewish, or anyone who’s an Israeli, to a dog, without thereby becoming antisemitic? Dogs have many qualities; I have one at my feet right now whom I care about enormously. If I wish to praise Bibi for being as loyal to his partisans as my dog is to me, have I engaged in antisemitism?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  69. Will you also grant my parallel point — which, again, you didn’t earlier address — that dogs are ubiquitous in political cartoons, as well as in political metaphor and imagery generally, that have nothing to do with Jews, Zionism, Israel, or antisemitism?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  70. Bibi is, of course, a controversial leader within Israel, and both Israelis and the rest of the world were more than a little surprised at the last election result there, which appears to offer him the prospect of continuing to lead a slightly different coalition (if I understand Israeli politics correctly, something of which I have little confidence).

    If the same cartoon had been drawn by a Jewish Israeli and published in an Israeli newspaper, would it have been antisemitic?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  71. A last question for Dana (for now), begging her indulgence with my having asked these in a string of comments rather than combining them into one:

    Can we also agree that when the subject of a cartoon is a particular, identifiable human being — in this cartoon, there are two such subjects, Trump and Bibi — it may make more sense to attribute the criticism of that cartoon to those individuals, rather than to larger groups that they represent?

    When I see Trump — for instance, rather than, say, Uncle Sam — in this cartoon, that tends to lead me to believe that the cartoon is mocking Trump in particular, not (as Bret Stephens concluded, in what I believe to have been an unsupportable intellectual leap, aka a brain fart) Americans in general.

    Likewise, I read this cartoon as being a specific criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu — painting him as a servile pet who can be led on a leash — rather than a criticism of all Israelis, all Jews, or all semitic people. The dog isn’t some generic Jew, it’s Bibi — and a whole host of other specific, non-generic, non-hypothetical Israeli voters may well agree with this criticism of him, even though they’re certainly not antisemitic (as I understand that term). Do you agree?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  72. There seems to be a lot of leftwing excuse-making on Twitter for the NYT anti-Semitic cartoon.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  73. @ Beldar:

    My different point, which you haven’t addressed, is that they are more commonly referred to in antisemitic cartoons or other memes as rats and vermin. Do you disagree with my actual point?

    If we are measuring which is more commonly used, yes, I would agree that rats and vermin are more common. But I would also add that that does not negate the reference to use of dogs either in an antisemtic context.

    Do you think it is possible to construct a political cartoon criticizing the Trump-Bibi relationship without being antisemitic? Can you give us some examples?

    Of course. See here and here.

    You said at 12:

    But I don’t think the argument depends upon antisemitic tropes in particular. People of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds can be sly and fawning in the manner of a pet dog, and likewise all such peoples can be politically blind and eager to be misled. There’s nothing which puts this kind of offensiveness into a category unique to Jews, Israelis, or semitic people in general. (If the dog had been killing gentile children and drinking their blood, in a deliberate an obvious allusion to the blood libels published in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, that would be antisemitic.)

    I disagree, and I base that upon the historical anti-semitism of equating/comparing Jews to dogs. If Bibi were a rat in the cartoon, or a pig in the cartoon, I would also see it as anti-Semitic. If there had not been a particular line of hatred toward Jews through the usage of a dog, then I would agree with your statement. As it is though, and in our culture, Middle Eastern cultures and European culture, I can’t. I think that this kind of offensiveness is unique to Jews/Israelis, at least in the places that I mentioned.

    Is it ever possible to compare anyone who’s Jewish, or anyone who’s an Israeli, to a dog, without thereby becoming antisemitic? Dogs have many qualities; I have one at my feet right now whom I care about enormously. If I wish to praise Bibi for being as loyal to his partisans as my dog is to me, have I engaged in antisemitism?

    To your first question, of course we know everything is within the realm of possibility, however doubtful I might be with this particular proposition. Given the treatment of Jews, especially in places like the pages of the NYT, to successfully make a comparison of Jews and dogs would be akin to balancing on a razor’s edge. I really don’t think it could be done successfully in a political cartoon in the West though. Perhaps if it were carefully spelled out, yes.

    Dana (779465)

  74. Beldar @ 71,

    Can we also agree that when the subject of a cartoon is a particular, identifiable human being — in this cartoon, there are two such subjects, Trump and Bibi — it may make more sense to attribute the criticism of that cartoon to those individuals, rather than to larger groups that they represent?

    I wish I could agree fully but I can’t. Yes, they are the two subjects, however, given *who* they are and the countries they lead and represent, I can’t. Given the geopolitical position of the two countries, the rub of it all (Israel/US/one state or two state conundrum/boundary disputes/US unwavering support of the most hated country in ME, etc., etc.), I don’t think it is that simple. It would be nice if it were, but we’re long past that. Too much water under the bridge, and too much history.

    I am more able to see the mockery of Trump individually rather than the country at large. There is no real history with Trump – a mere two years. With Bibi, it’s not the same. He’s been involved in Israeli politics since around the mid-80’s, he is in essence, the face of Israel (whether held in contempt or admired). Of course, as a Jew, as a friend of the U.S., his longevity in the public eye, and the unceasing hatred displayed toward Jews in that part of the world (and now increasingly so in the U.S. and Europe), it all influences how I view such cartoons.

    Dana (779465)

  75. IOW, I am unable to divorce the cartoon from oodles of denigration and humiliation, including in the form of a dog. To do that would be to have to ignore far too much that is clear to see. If this were a new thing, maybe. But it’s not.

    Dana (779465)

  76. @ Dana: In the first cartoon you linked, Bibi is shown next to a vulture, a symbol commonly associated with Jews in Nazi propaganda, and he’s a small, wily man next to Trump, which (applying Bret Stephens’ logic) means this is an antisemitic meme. In the second cartoon, he’s shown as a slumlord — again, an antisemitic meme. Both of those cartoons are antisemitic — if I’m willing to project a little bit and to presume that my insights into the cartoonists’ intent are determinative.

    I reject the notion that all western cartoonists must be guilty of antisemitism if they ever use a dog in a political cartoon that also involves Israel or Jews, or that they’re “on a knife’s edge.”

    Bottom line, I lack the confidence my own mind- and heart-reading abilities in ambiguous circumstances which is shown by those who insist that they can divine antisemitism — as distinct from offensiveness — in this cartoon. I don’t see this cartoon as insulting to all semites, all Jews, all Israelis, or all of any other group; I see it as a criticism of the current prime minister of Israel and the current President of the United States; and I don’t believe that any substantial portion of its effectiveness relies on resonance with historic antisemitic memes. We’re going to have to agree to disagree, I think.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  77. I should add that although you haven’t persuaded me, I do appreciate your courteous and respectful dialog — as always, Dana!

    Beldar (fa637a)

  78. Beldar,

    Just days after the publication of the cartoon that we are discussing, the NYT published this one of Netanyahu. What do you think this is about – both the cartoon itself and yet another cartoon of Israel’s PM?

    Further, it’s interesting that the cartoon that we are discussing (in the post), is a riff on an antisemitic cartoon from Germany 1940, in which Jews lead Winston Churchill in Nazi Germany 1940.

    Dana (779465)

  79. I disagree re the second one: I’m totally blinded by how this would be so Trump to insist/suggest that it’s an opportunity for Trump to bring his brand to Israel. The message is totally overshadowed by that, to me.

    As for the first one, Bibi is not presented as a dog (or a rat or vermin). It makes a difference to me (perhaps in degrees).

    Dana (779465)

  80. I think Beldar makes some excellent points; in particular I agree with:

    I don’t see this cartoon as insulting to all semites, all Jews, all Israelis, or all of any other group; I see it as a criticism of the current prime minister of Israel and the current President of the United States; and I don’t believe that any substantial portion of its effectiveness relies on resonance with historic antisemitic memes.

    I do sort of wonder why they didn’t make Bibi into a more typical-looking seeing eye-dog with a harness rather than a leash. Not clear to me why a dachshund was chosen, or why Trump is wearing a yarmulke.

    Dave (1bb933)

  81. I reject the notion that all western cartoonists must be guilty of antisemitism if they ever use a dog in a political cartoon that also involves Israel or Jews, or that they’re “on a knife’s edge.”

    To clarify: I think that it would be a serious balancing act to depict Jews as dogs, not involves (which is non-specific). One is about a specific individual being shown as a dog.

    Bibi is shown next to a vulture, a symbol commonly associated with Jews in Nazi propaganda, and he’s a small, wily man next to Trump,

    Also, looking at the first cartoon again, both Trump and Bibi are standing next to vultures. It’s interesting that you see this as antisemitic because of how the vulture symbol was associated with Jews in Nazi propaganda but not dogs. I guess we are back to which was more common…

    Dana (779465)

  82. Who reads the international NYT? Netanyahu’s depiction as a dog has a special poignancy if intended to be seen by Muslims.

    In Islam, dogs are considered worse than unclean. For example, if someone keeps a dog for purposes other than guarding, hunting, or herding livestock, i.e. as a pet, he commits a sin for each day that he does, which negates one good deed, or two depending on which Hadith you read. Touching a dog or anything a dog has touched requires a ritual of purification, like washing seven times, and crossing your eyes, turning around three times and spitting (don’t quote me on that second thing).

    nk (dbc370)

  83. Also, “Jew dogs” is common imagery/insult for Hamas and their friends.

    Dana (779465)

  84. I don’t see this cartoon as insulting to all semites, all Jews, all Israelis, or all of any other group; I see it as a criticism of the current prime minister of Israel and the current President of the United States; and I don’t believe that any substantial portion of its effectiveness relies on resonance with historic antisemitic memes.

    So this gets back to back to Patterico’s point a long time ago about meaning and intent. I think he illustrated it through a thought experiment about yelling “HERE BOY” at a dog that was next to black man the speaker couldn’t see.

    But in this case there are some well established tropes about dogs and jewish people.
    And the speaker isn’t a random man on a porch. This is the NYT so it’s reasonable to expect they new better. It may have just been a mistake, but it’s a pretty dumb and offensive one.

    Also, given the context and the general POV i assume the NYT to have I think there’s a message that “The people shown in this cartoon are bad” Since there was a lot of jewish religious symbolism in the cartoon I also got the feeling that it’s part of what makes the people shown bad. Maybe I’m not understanding their point, but i it seemed like it was part of what they were saying.

    When you want to critique the behavior and policies of black people, jewish people, and women in modern America it’s challenging because

    1. People are very sensitive to insults along those lines.
    2. Some people will claim offense beyond all reason to score political points.
    3. For most of 200+ years the white, male, christian, people in power did a lot of nasty stuff to keep power among white, male, christians, and used a lot of different imagery to justify what they did and deny that black/women/non-christians were equal (or in some cases even fully human).

    On the one hand it leads to a lot of frustration that a simple cartoon about Tump being lead around by Bibi is anti-semitic and therefore the speaker is a bad person. On the other it’s no long acceptable to deny equal access to Jews and excuse it because they’re really subhumans who control the world through a vast, corrupt, network.

    So win some / lose some.

    time123 (d54166)

  85. People of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds can be sly and fawning in the manner of a pet dog, and likewise all such peoples can be politically blind and eager to be misled. There’s nothing which puts this kind of offensiveness into a category unique to Jews, Israelis, or semitic people in general.

    This is where I agree with you in your first statement but ultimately disagree with your conclusion because it ignores what we already know.

    Dana (779465)

  86. The only thing the editor left out was a gas chamber waiting for them to enter.

    mg (8cbc69)

  87. Are we that close to another round of gas chambers that we’re getting so wrapped over this? I thought it was something that just popped up here but I’m seeing it all over now.

    And wasn’t Trump pro-neo-nazi last week? These narratives are giving me whiplash.

    Frosty Fp (c141b1)

  88. @ Dana: I was being sarcastic in claiming that the first cartoon you linked was antisemitic. I don’t think any of these cartoons is antisemitic; I thought that was apparent from the context, but if not, I hereby so confirm.

    To me, the key question is whether a particular cartoon is an attack on everyone in a proposed classification of people — whether semitic peoples, Jews, Zionists, Israelis, or however one chooses to slice it — and whether it depends for its rhetorical power upon the viewer’s pre-existing familiarity with historic memes used to demonize those classes of people.

    I could sarcastically also construct an argument that by depicting Netanyahu in an American cowboy suit — when he is obviously not an American cowboy — is some sort of allusion to a traditional antisemitic meme about Jews impersonating gentiles and working themselves, through deception, into positions of acceptance, from which they can more effectively betray non-Jews en route to grinding their babies’ bones into bread, etc. Is that really why that artist put Netanyahu in a cowboy suit? No, I suspect he did that because he wanted to accuse Trump of being an American cowboy (with associations of overbold recklessness), and to accuse Netanyahu — in particular! not all Jews, all Israelis, all Zionists, all semites — of being a suck-up to Trump.

    Likewise, I have zero doubt that António Moreira Antunes, the Portuguese political cartoonist who drew Netanyahu as the sleek dachshund on the end of Trump’s leash, intended thereby to criticize and indeed insult Netanyahu. The dark glasses likewise were intended as an insult to Trump. But I don’t jump to the conclusion that António Moreira Antunes expected us to all say, “Oh, sunglasses, that means blind people, hey, yeah, now that I think about it, all those blind people are @ssholes, with their silly Braille and their bothersome guide dogs, to hell with all of them!” In other words, I don’t read this cartoon as anti-blind. I similarly decline to interpret it — or project onto António Moreira Antunes, about whom I know nothing at all — in a way that imputes to him (or the people who’ve republished his cartoon) an intention to evoke historical uses of dogs in antisemitic memes. I think that on its face, it’s a comparison of one Jew, Bibi Netanyahu, to a dog (and indeed, to a particular type of dog, a pampered, somewhat ridiculous pet of a fat man in a black suit). I don’t buy into Dana’s argument that because Netanyahu is been a prominent Jewish politician for a long time, every criticism of or attack on him can be equated to an attack on all Jews, Zionists, Israelis, semites, or whatever.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  89. This political cartoon — by an Israeli cartoonist, Avi Katz, and published in the Jerusalem Post — got its creator fired. His cartoon was based on an already nationally famous photo of Bibi celebrating a controversial new Israeli law that its (and Bibi’s) opponents characterize as racist; the artist took the same characters and poses from the photo and turned Bibi and the supporters into pigs, referencing George Orwell’s “Animal House” and the “some animals are more equal than others” meme from it.

    Was this offensive? Oh, yes — and intentionally so.

    Was it also antisemitic — written by an Israeli (I presume he’s a Jew as well, from his surname) for the Jerusalem Post?

    After all, antisemite tropes from the past have featured comparisons to Jews as swine, certainly — maybe somewhat less frequently than to rats and vermin, but probably more often than to dogs.

    Shouldn’t all Jews, Israelis, semites, and fair-minded people everywhere who respect the dignity of Jews/Israelis/semites, therefore treat this cartoon as antisemitic? So argued — on Twitter, from the U.S., in English — ArabTalk co-founder Jamal Dajani, whose tweet was quoted at the very end of the linked article, only after the article describes the spirited intra-Israeli argument over whether Katz had crossed the boundary of decency (but not over whether he’d been guilty of anti-semitism):

    If this was cartoon was not created by Israeli cartoonist Avi Katz, it would have been labeled anti-Semitic pic.twitter.com/Njo7EOD9wC— Jamal Dajani جمال (@JamalDajani) July 24, 2018

    I think he’s wrong. I think he’s perfectly illustrated how people looking to find antisemitism can easily find it where it wasn’t intended as such, even when the surrounding circumstances would seem to cast extreme doubt on that proposition.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  90. Sometimes it’s hard for me to detect sarcasm in comments. I missed it in your comment.

    I don’t buy into Dana’s argument that because Netanyahu is been a prominent Jewish politician for a long time, every criticism of or attack on him can be equated to an attack on all Jews, Zionists, Israelis, semites, or whatever.

    To be clear, I said it would *influence* how I view them:

    Of course, as a Jew, as a friend of the U.S., his longevity in the public eye, and the unceasing hatred displayed toward Jews in that part of the world (and now increasingly so in the U.S. and Europe), it all influences how I view such cartoons.

    Dana (779465)

  91. That Antunes felt comfortable drawing such a cartoon and did not fear for his life or fear any violent retribution, Hebdo style, is actually a pro-Semitic statement, however unintentional.

    Munroe (8dc957)

  92. Fair points both, graciously and fairly put, Dana (#90). I ought have been more explicit, because sarcasm is a difficult inference for us all in internet chats, and I know you to be a close and careful reader as a matter of habit.

    If I may follow up?

    I agree that Bibi’s friendship with the U.S. and longevity is part of the relevant context for assessing this cartoon. I likewise agree that “the unceasing hatred displayed toward Jews in that part of the world (and now increasingly so in the U.S. and Europe)” is likewise relevant context. Because it depicts the two current leaders of the U.S. and Israel, I’ll further stipulate that the cartoon may fairly be read to imply criticism of both countries. A slightly finer level of discrimination would caution a qualifier, “or at least a criticism of the electoral supporters of Trump and Netanyahu in their respective countries”; I don’t presume to guess whether the Portuguese cartoonist is generally critical of America or particularly critical of Trump and his partisans.

    Can we nevertheless stipulate that it’s possible to be critical of Israeli foreign policy without thereby being “antisemitic”?

    Or do we have a fundamental definitional problem here? As I understand the term in common usage, it involves Jewishness (even though technically there are many semites who are neither Jewish nor Israeli). But I could see this very same cartoon recast to feature, say, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who’s also been accused, at home and in the world press, of sucking up to Trump. Is this same cartoon antisemitic if the dog is Bolsonaro — a Roman Catholic of Italian and German descent whose wife and one son are evangelical Christians, leading what professes to be the largest Catholic country in the world? If not, why not?

    Beldar (fa637a)

  93. The NYT comes out with another apology. Maybe this will put the issue behind them:

    “We are so sorry for any offense this cartoon cause to Passover worshipers,” the paper wrote in its third attempted apology. “The tiny hat guys are upset, and we get it. The cartoon contained a lot of racist stereotypes and propaganda-like caricatures of the dreidel people. We should have had a more careful review process, so we wouldn’t cause offense to the fiddlers on the roof.”

    Paul Montagu (7968e9)

  94. Can we nevertheless stipulate that it’s possible to be critical of Israeli foreign policy without thereby being “antisemitic”?

    Absolutely.

    Dana (779465)

  95. I think he’s on to something… https://twitter.com/wretchardthecat/status/1123038984899158019

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  96. The cartoonist has defended his work :

    It is a critique of Israeli policy, which has a criminal conduct in Palestine, at the expense of the UN, and not the Jews,” said António Moreira Antunes, who goes by António, in an interview with Expresso, a Portuguese paper where he works.

    “The reading I made is that Benjamin Netanyahu’s politics, whether by the approach of elections or by being protected by Donald Trump, who changed the embassy to Jerusalem by recognizing the city as capital, and which first allowed the annexation of the Golan Heights and after the West Bank and more annexations in the Gaza Strip, which means a burial of the Oslo Accord, it represents an increase in verbal, physical and political violence,” he continued. “It is a blind policy that ignores the interests of the Palestinians. And Donald Trump is a blind man The Star of David [Jewish symbol] is an aid to identify a figure [Netanyahu] that is not very well known in Portugal.”

    Dana (779465)

  97. I think Daily Caller (in your link at 96) got the second cartoon wrong.

    Since then, the Times published another cartoon of Netanyahu. This one depicts a blind Netanyahu holding a tombstone that has an Israeli flag drawn on it

    I took to be Bibi as Moses taking a selfie while holding the 10 commandments.

    Kishnevi (4777d8)

  98. To me, the yarmulke on Trump tips this into the “clearly anti-Semitic” category. Without that the argument could be made that it was just Trump being led into error by Israel, but the yarmulke unmistakably says “JEW!”. Or maybe just “jew-lover.” It’s really quite offensive.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  99. I note that Dana’s quote of the cartoonist does not mention or defend his use of the yarmulke.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  100. As to whether one can criticize Israel without being anti-Semitic, I sure hope so because I was really quite upset with Menachem Begin back in the 80’s. Some years back I had the opportunity to shake Moshe Arens hand, but found somewhere else to be.

    But what I see in the press and politics today is not about Israel, or not just about Israel. This cartoon is just one example.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  101. Criticizing the bottle deposit crook netanhayu is being pro israel!

    lany (008b9c)

  102. The nyt is a safe place for Jew haters.

    mg (8cbc69)

  103. The reason the New York Times cancelled its syndicate deal and decided not to run any more political cartoons was because of a second anti-Netanyahu cartoon. which they said however was not exactly anti-semitic:

    https://www.israelhayom.com/2019/04/30/new-york-times-under-fire-after-publishing-a-second-anti-semitic-cartoon/

    It shows Netanyahu what looked to me as the Grim Reaper or Angel of Death, holding what might be a folded Israeli flag in one hand.

    Israel Hayom interprets it a different way:

    The weekend image by Norwegian cartoonist Roar Hagen depicts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with sinister eyes taking a picture of himself with a selfie-stick, carrying in what appears to be an empty desert with a tablet featuring the Israeli flag painted on it.

    Actually it doesn’t look like a tablet, or an Israeli flag for that matter. It has a litttle semi-circle on top, like the top of drawings of the ten Commandments, except that the Ten Commandment drawings have two and not one.

    So it is Netanyahu coming down (he’s heading down) from the mountain with something that is supposed to be like the Ten Commandments only it’s got the Israeli flag wrapped around it.

    He’s wearing what looks like somebody’s idea of ancient clothes. (a very loose garment tied with a ribbon in the middle)

    And yes that is a selfie stick (but no camera) but that’s probably supposed to be in place of Moses’s stick – I thought it was the Grim Reaper’s sickle. His eyes being blacked eyed goes together with the idea that he brings death.

    There’s no caption, as in the other cartoon.

    The cartoon is undoubtedly designed to be usable in publications printed in many different languages.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  104. The New York times ran 3 letetrs on the first cartoon today.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/29/opinion/letters/anti-semitic-cartoon-new-york-times.html?searchResultPosition=3 (the date of the URL is the date ist was posted online)

    One is by some Rabbis, I guess because it came from Rabbis taht the New York Times respects, because their synagigues are in Manhattan and they are either Reform or Conservative; one was against it; and the third found it distasteful but was not so sure it was anti-semitic.

    The letter that found it anti-semitic said:

    If the political message of the cartoon was to decry President Trump’s acquiescence to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demands, why the Jewish — rather than Israeli — symbolism?

    The purely Jewish symbolism in the first cartoon is the black velvet skullcap. The second one has what is probably supposed to be Netanyahu replacing Moses, and I think he’s also drawn to look like the Grim Reaper. All apropos of nothing.

    There must be a real market for such cartoons.

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)

  105. tge new York Times has a whole big editotial today. It stil didn’t mention the second anti-Netanyahu/Netanyahu as Moses cartoon.

    I read the Portuguese cartoonist has a history of malevolent bad cartoons – that he did one that compared Israeli treatment of Palestinians to that of the Nazis to the Jews (but I didn’t see it)

    Sammy Finkelman (102c75)


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