The part of my weekend I enjoy most is Sunday mornings.
Usually I wake up with a fond memory of the night before (in this case it was dinner and a movie with a dear friend) and grab my iPad, eager to see what The Sunday Times (of London) has in store for me.
I’m a big fan of their app. It has all sorts of nifty elements. I was particularly keen to see if they had picked up on a news story that I broke on Friday, about a British Member of Parliament who used Holocaust Remembrance Day as a reason to criticize “the Jews.” They had. It was only a few lines long and basically got the story wrong. I was miffed.
But I swiftly went from annoyed to incensed, upon coming to the end of the news section, wherein I discovered this horrific cartoon.
Enough to put anyone off their breakfast, the cartoon, by Gerald Scarfe, illustrates a big-nosed, Quasimodo-like Benjamin Netanyahu, building a wall over Palestinian bodies. Instead of cement, Bibi is depicted using their blood.
So out came my sip of coffee, spat through my lips, covering my iPad in the rejected intake of wake-up juice. It wasn’t a bad cup, either. It was just that I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I may have expected it from certain other news outlets in Britain. But The Times, I thought, was always a little more grown-up than that. And a lot less racist.
But alas, on Holocaust Remembrance Day no less, the Murdoch-owned Sunday paper had stooped to a modern blood libel. “Modern” because, typically, a blood libel would have be overtly religious in its overtones, while this cartoon was presumably more racially or politically motivated.
This is the new status-quo for Israel-haters and those they carry in tow: anti-Semites. The use of imagery in such a way is, I genuinely believe, a modern blood libel. Here is a major Western news outlet depicting the leader of the Jewish state using the blood of Palestinian Muslims to erect a wall (no doubt it’s an “apartheid wall” to some).
My fear, as a non-Jew, is that these Der Sturmer-esque depictions of the State of Israel, its supporters and its leaders, are becoming more commonplace.
That such a cartoon can be published on the day we think solemnly about the State of Israel, and what it means to the Jewish people, is indicative of the brazen and insensitive way in which some are willing to attack “the Jews” simply because they disagree with Israel’s security policy.
It has to stop.
Over at my outlet, The Commentator, we do a lot to ensure that intolerant behavior of this kind is exposed and hopefully, in the end, defeated. I hope my colleagues at The Times of Israel won’t mind if I ask you to come and support the work we’re doing. Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook, and share this article with everyone you know.
If we don’t all push back against these outbursts, well, I fear the worst.
Plus, I really don’t think my iPad can take another spritz of coffee.