Hateful Arab ship cartoons draw rebuke

ADL says surge of anti-Semitic cartoons in Arab media post-flotilla.

June 6, 2010 19:10
1 minute read.
Anti-semitic cartoon

311_Arab cartoon. (photo credit: Al Watan, Qatar, June 2, 2010)

In the wake of the Gaza flotilla affair, the Arab world’s media has seen a surge in publication of political cartoons depicting anti-Semitic stereotypes and “hateful caricatures,” the Anti-Defamation League says.

“In the days since the Israeli naval operation... editorial cartoonists across the Arab world have turned the incident into a cause célèbre, with cartoons punctuated by vicious anti-Israel and anti-Semitic images,” according to a statement published by the ADL over the weekend together with a report that compiled some of the drawings.

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Among the cartoons flagged by the organization as anti-Semitic was one published on Wednesday in Qatar’s Al-Watan daily that depicted  “a stereotypical hook-nosed, black-hatted Jew” floating in water. He holds a bloody machete in one hand and an assault rifle in another, while his lower body is composed of tentacles arranged to spell “dawlat il-irhab,” or “terror state” in Arabic.

In another, published on the same day in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Iqtisadiyya, an Israeli flag flies over a pirate’s skull-and-bones, with the Star of David replaced by a swastika.

Such cartoons amount to “an acceptance, even an obsession with deeply offensive and hateful caricatures of Israelis and Jews” in the Arab world, according to the ADL’s national director, Abe Foxman. “The cartoonists are fanning the flames of hatred across the region,” he said.

In particular, the report objects to the repeated depiction of Jews as monstrous marine wildlife and satanic figures. The cartoons appeared in mainstream newspapers in Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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