Guardian

Ark Angel


I would like to go back and take another look at the rather interesting exchange which took place recently between CiF Watch’s regular commentator Zachary Esterson and the cartoonist Martin Rowson with respect to this cartoon that appeared in the Guardian.

First, let’s take note of the title of this thread because it has relevance to one of Rowson’s later replies in which he challenged Zachary with the claim that the cartoon may be about some subject other than the flotilla.

Martin Rowson on the Gaza flotilla attack

Israel defends intensity of military force after autopsy results reveal total of 30 bullets in bodies of nine protesters

Now a reminder of the exchange between Zachary and Rowson:


Zacharyesterson

5 Jun 2010, 11:21AM

Yeah, the kindest thing you can say is that it is ridiculous. Birds don’t go about provoking soldiers to martyr them by setting about them with metal piping, staves or knives.

Rowson seems to be criticising the soldiers for not using one bullet per assailant in the dark, when they were set upon by dozens. What if the soldiers fired first to disable them, but they kept on coming?

I don’t recall Noah’s trying to run a military blockade to the end of allowing the government of one de facto state to do whatever it wants to further the end of its neighbour.

But Noah is an emblem of Christian and Islamic righteousness, the rainbow peace, counterpoised to the allegedly gratuitously bloodthirsty Jewish state.

Yes, I think it is antisemitic.

But Christianity and Islam have been anti-Jewish, in some form, or another, or antisemitic, for most of their histories. This is just a return to form.

But at least the Israelis clearly got to survive the flood.

CartoonistRowson

5 Jun 2010, 12:23PM

Forgive me for intruding, but I want to save zacharyesterson’s spinal column from being tied in knots. True, I’m surprised that no one so far (unless zapped by the moderators) has accused my cartoon of being the most disgracefully anti-semitic cartoon published since the closure of Der Sturmer – which is what I usually get in response to anything critical of Israel. But apart from the usual, kneejerk trope of equating all criticism of the state of Israel’s actions with anti-semitism, I think you’re pushing it a bit on the Noah’s Ark front.

Several things worth noting. There are no Israeli or Jewish insignia or emblems in this cartoon; there are ambiguities too, like the unicorns, where I’ve left intepretation to the minds of the readers (and got some interesting responses). And so far no one has sought to extrapolate from the presence of two walruses, some aardvarks and a beaver, among others, a coded critique of the Balfour Declaration.

But if you insist on taking Noah – now a universal symbol – as a specifically Jewish signifier, basically we’re all stuffed. And while I might enter the spirit of this thread and pedantically insist that Noah, being pre-Abrahamic, wasn’t even Jewish, on the whole I prefer to reflect, first, on how once more any kind of offence is in the eye of the beholder; second, how reaching for the nuclear option of accusing your opponent in any argument of racism is effective, but cheap; and third, teasing out every nuance of perceived offence embarks you down a road of universal paranoia and the institutionalisation of dear old Uncle Joe Stalin’s lovely tactic of thought crimes.

Well dandy. Tell me you disagree. Call me a idiot who can’t draw. But don’t start accusing me of anti-semitism, even unconscious anti-semitism which goes deep into my cultural conditioning. Because ultimately that means that everyone is wrong except you, irrespective of what they say. And that way madness lies.

love and peace

Martin Rowson

zacharyesterson

5 Jun 2010, 12:53PM

‘Forgive me for intruding, but I want to save zacharyesterson’s spinal column from being tied in knots. True, I’m surprised that no one so far (unless zapped by the moderators) has accused my cartoon of being the most disgracefully anti-semitic cartoon published since the closure of Der Sturmer’

Which I didn’t, of course. I hope I will not get zapped for expressing my opinion that it is an anti-Semitic cartoon of the lesser sort.

‘ – which is what I usually get in response to anything critical of Israel. But apart from the usual, kneejerk trope of equating all criticism of the state of Israel’s actions with anti-semitism, I think you’re pushing it a bit on the Noah’s Ark front.’

I beg to differ.

‘Several things worth noting. There are no Israeli or Jewish insignia or emblems in this cartoon;’

Just Israeli Jewish soldiers.

‘there are ambiguities too, like the unicorns, where I’ve left intepretation to the minds of the readers (and got some interesting responses). And so far no one has sought to extrapolate from the presence of two walruses, some aardvarks and a beaver, among others, a coded critique of the Balfour Declaration.’

OK. Have I?

‘But if you insist on taking Noah – now a universal symbol – as a specifically Jewish signifier, basically we’re all stuffed.’

OK. You’ve just said two contradictory things: that Noah is a) univerval b) a specifically Jewish signifier.

He is ‘universal’, precisely because he is a Christian and Islamic signifier. Whom you have counterpoised to specifically Israeli Jewish villainy. And both Christian and Islamic tradition counterpoise the virtue of ‘their’, appropriated Old Testament saints to the respective sinfulness, or villainy, of Jews.

‘And while I might enter the spirit of this thread and pedantically insist that Noah, being pre-Abrahamic, wasn’t even Jewish’

Nor said I he was. Which begs the question, why would you raise the subject? It is usually raised to ‘prove’ he wasn’t Jewish i.e. he is ‘really’ proto-Christian or Islamic. And it just so happens you have used him as an emblem of largely gentile Christian and Islamic virtue against Israeli Jewish vice.

‘on the whole I prefer to reflect, first, on how once more any kind of offence is in the eye of the beholder’

OK.  But you would say that, wouldn’t you?

‘second, how reaching for the nuclear option of accusing your opponent in any argument of racism is effective, but cheap’

By ‘effective’, do you mean that, somehow, I hit the mark, but that it was unsporting of me to do so?

‘and third, teasing out every nuance of perceived offence embarks you down a road of universal paranoia and the institutionalisation of dear old Uncle Joe Stalin’s lovely tactic of thought crimes.’

That’s very clever. But I prefer to stick to what I have written.

‘Well dandy. Tell me you disagree.’

OK.

‘Call me a idiot who can’t draw.’

But you can. Why would you want me to tell you can’t.

‘But don’t start accusing me of anti-semitism, even unconscious anti-semitism which goes deep into my cultural conditioning.’

But what if you are guilty of it? Doesn’t that proscribe anyone’s remarking or observing it?

‘Because ultimately that means that everyone is wrong except you, irrespective of what they say.’

I fail to see the logic of that, or the relevance. I am entitled to express my opinion, and the reasons for it. I did so precisely on the basis of what you ‘said’, in your picture. Now I do so on the basis of what you say here.

‘And that way madness lies.’

Uhuh? So I am mad to express my opinion, thus? I beg to differ.

‘love and peace’

So you say. But, frankly, I am not convinced.

Zachary Esterson

CartoonistRowson

5 Jun 2010, 1:20PM

Zach old chum – look, I’m going to spare all our blushes and my time – I have to hoover the house right now, then catch a train to Devon, though I doubt you need this much information – and not run back into traffic again today, but I need to clarify something.

I think that you are saying that, because I’ve used a figure who has accrued universal status (as visual shorthand, essentially, and because anything involving animals is intrinsically funny), but who also originally appeared in the literature of the myths of Judaism, this makes my cartoon and me antisemitic. Is that right?

And since when does the – again – universal uniform of state security, without specific insignia, immediately denote Israel, therefore Judaism, and therefore antisemitism?

And how do you know – given that some posters have described this cartoon as irrelevant – that they’re not, actually, right, and that this isn’t just a very, very bad cartoon about some other news story entirely, like the World Cup or something?

That last point is just me being frisky. Forgive me. But there are no racial stereotypes in this cartoon – unless it is now accepted by you that depicting someone as a heavily armed agent of state security automatically identifies them as Israeli/Jewish; nor are there any symbols denoting Israel or Judaism, unlike in Steve Bell’s cartoon last Tuesday.

So where is the antisemitism – that is, the irrational hatred of all Jews simply on the grounds of their Jewishness – apart from your assertion that using a universally recognised figure who is shared between Christianity, Islam, Judaism and universal popular culure is, by definition, antisemitic? Why isn’t it Islamophobic, or whatever you call an irrational hatred of Christians? And believe me, I’m down on those buggers big time, as you’ll discover if you investigate my oeuvre.

All in all, it reminds me of a story the MP Denis MacShane told me, about when he said, casually, to some of his Muslim constituents, in relation to some local problem, “If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must come to the mountain”, and was instantly accused of Islamophobia.

In short, your argument ultimately seems to me to be of the kid in the school playground who thumps other children simply for looking at him.

Long may it serve you well, but right this second the siren call of the vacuum is stronger than this thread. Make of that statement what you will.

love and peace

Martin Rowson

zacharyesterson

5 Jun 2010, 1:52PM

‘I think that you are saying that, because I’ve used a figure who has accrued universal status’

Precisely because he is also a Christian and Islamic figure, and emblem of proto-Christian or quasi-Christian and Islamic virtue.

‘(as visual shorthand, essentially, and because anything involving animals is intrinsically funny)’

Yeah. But you chose biblical animals.

‘but who also originally appeared in the literature of the myths of Judaism, this makes my cartoon and me antisemitic. Is that right?’

No. That would make any non-Jewish depiction of ‘Old Testament’ stories anti-Semitic.

‘And since when does the – again – universal uniform of state security, without specific insignia, immediately denote Israel, therefore Judaism, and therefore antisemitism?’

a) Merely depicting any Jew, Israeli or other, is not anti-Semitic
b) You are depicting Israeli Jews. Why do you pretend otherwise?

‘And how do you know – given that some posters have described this cartoon as irrelevant – that they’re not, actually, right, and that this isn’t just a very, very bad cartoon about some other news story entirely, like the World Cup or something?’

Because I’m not an idiot?

‘That last point is just me being frisky. Forgive me. But there are no racial stereotypes in this cartoon’

You are counterpoising Noahic virtue to Israeli Jewish vice. You have admitted to doing so because he is a symbol of ‘universal’ i.e. Christian and Islamic virtue, clearly signifying to the virtue of the largely gentile Christian and Muslim passengers and dead on the Mavi Marmara, again counterpoised to the alleged villainy of the Israeli Jewish soldiers who shot them.

You have chosen a biblical story, involving a boat, in which to cast Israeli Jews as the villains, because of its cultural resonance. And it has cultural resonance for the reasons I have stated, and to at least some of which you have admitted.

‘unless it is now accepted by you that depicting someone as a heavily armed agent of state security automatically identifies them as Israeli/Jewish’

Well, they are Israeli Jews. End of.

‘ nor are there any symbols denoting Israel or Judaism’

Counterpoised to ‘universal’ i.e. Christian and Islamic Noahic virtue.

If you depict ‘universal’ i.e. Christian and Islamic symbols, against Jews, of one kind, or another, you imply Jewish ones.

‘unlike in Steve Bell’s cartoon last Tuesday’

Didn’t see it.

‘So where is the antisemitism – that is, the irrational hatred of all Jews simply on the grounds of their Jewishness’

You have defined ‘antisemitism’ to suit yourself. It consists in what I have said: the counterpoising of ‘universal’ i.e. Christian and Islamic Noahic virtue to Israeli Jewish vice, in the form of a biblical story or narrative, used precisely because of its ‘universal’ resonance i.e. traditional Christian and Islamic narrative of their absolute virtue (for that is what Noah signifies, the virtue that alone saves from destruction) in contrast to a Jewish sinfulness that also has an absolute or cosmic quality.

As I said: it constitutes ‘reaching for the nuclear option’.

‘ – apart from your assertion that using a universally recognised figure who is shared between Christianity, Islam, Judaism and universal popular culure is, by definition, antisemitic?’

Which I never said.

‘Why isn’t it Islamophobic, or whatever you call an irrational hatred of Christians?’

Because it isn’t directed against Christians or Muslims. Quite the contrary, in fact.

‘ And believe me, I’m down on those buggers big time, as you’ll discover if you investigate my oeuvre.’

Really? Will we see Muhammed ticking off those Muslims that do or threaten bad things in his name, any time soon? Will we see a cartoon of contemporary Muslims slaying any of the original Salafis?

‘All in all, it reminds me of a story the MP Denis MacShane told me, about when he said, casually, to some of his Muslim constituents, in relation to some local problem, “If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then Mohammed must come to the mountain”, and was instantly accused of Islamophobia.’

I fail to see you point. It makes no sense in relation to what I have written whatsoever.

‘In short, your argument ultimately seems to me to be of the kid in the school playground who thumps other children simply for looking at him.’

Well, you would say that, wouldn’t you? Most of all if you think I have a point.

CartoonistRowson

5 Jun 2010, 2:24PM

Zachary – this is it, honestly. To save electricity have it your own way, though I still don’t see how an anti-Israeli cartoon is therefore an antisemitic one, unless I conceded the Zionist argument – unlike a lot of Jews, as it happens – that Israel = Judaism. But let it lie. My intention was not antisemitic, but if you conclude that the result was – and that that, for whatever perverse reason, makes you feel better, so be it.

However, I absolutely insist that you give me Biblical chapter and verse where the following animals are specifically mentioned by name, as you claim that my choice of biblical animals compounds the awfulness of my antisemitism:
Walruses
Polar Bears
Llamas
Kangeroos
Gibbons
Gorillas
Aardvarks
Okapis

As the last animal was only “discovered” – or least the type specimen first described – in 1903, I’d be intrigued to hear your answer.

love and peace

Martin Rowson


Zacharyesterson

5 June, 2010, 3:01 PM

‘Zachary – this is it, honestly. To save electricity have it your own way, though I still don’t see how an anti-Israeli cartoon is therefore an antisemitic one’

Nor said I ‘therefore’. You seem to think an anti-Israeli cartoon is NOT therefore an anti-Semitic one.

‘unless I conceded the Zionist argument – unlike a lot of Jews, as it happens – that Israel = Judaism.’

But you have introduced ‘Judaism’ into the discourse, by using biblical imagery, and counterpoising the virtuous Noah, and his coterie, representing sundry largely gentile, or Turkish, Christians or (very) Muslims, to villainous Israeli Jews.

‘But let it lie. My intention was not antisemitic’

That may well be the case.

‘ but if you conclude that the result was – and that that, for whatever perverse reason, makes you feel better, so be it.’

It does not ‘make me feel better’, nor is it ‘perverse’.

‘However, I absolutely insist that you give me Biblical chapter and verse where the following animals are specifically mentioned by name, as you claim that my choice of biblical animals compounds the awfulness of my antisemitism: Walruses, Polar Bears, Llamas, Kangeroos, Gibbons, Gorillas, Aardvarks, kapis’

Are you saying you are NOT depicting, or attempting to depict, Noah, his ark and his two or seven or every species? Or that those soldiers are not meant to depict Israeli Jewish soldiers?

‘As the last animal was only “discovered” – or least the type specimen first described – in 1903, I’d be intrigued to hear your answer.’

It’s irrelevant. It is obvious you are trying to depict Noah, his ark etc, and you have already acknowledged as much.

Any cartoon is by definition open to interpretation because different people with different cultural backgrounds see within it different things. My own interpretation of the above drawing was similar to Zachary’s on some points and a little different on others. What I saw was the following: Noah saved humankind using a ship/ ‘Free Gaza’ is saving humankind also using ships. Noah was chosen for this task by God because of his righteousness/ ‘Free Gaza’ is the righteous party in this story/Israelis are masked and devoid of human characteristics.  Noah’s dove with olive branch has become the universal symbol of peace/ Israelis kill peace, for no justifiable reason and with trumped-up excuses.

The bottom line is that this cartoon tells its viewer that Israel is responsible for the fact that there is no peace; Israel is a killer state. It also downplays and even ridicules the threat to Israeli civilians. It stereotypes and demonises Israelis as aggressive, militaristic and uniform and that stereotyping makes it racist.

Beyond the possible interpretations of the cartoon, there are some other interesting points raised by the above exchange between Zachary and Rowson. Rowson opts for the ‘Livingstone formulation’  in no uncertain terms when he writes:

“True, I’m surprised that no one so far (unless zapped by the moderators) has accused my cartoon of being the most disgracefully anti-semitic cartoon published since the closure of Der Sturmer – which is what I usually get in response to anything critical of Israel. But apart from the usual, kneejerk trope of equating all criticism of the state of Israel’s actions with anti-semitism, I think you’re pushing it a bit on the Noah’s Ark front.”

He goes on to defend his cartoon by  claiming that:

“[t]here are no racial stereotypes in this cartoon – unless it is now accepted by you that depicting someone as a heavily armed agent of state security automatically identifies them as Israeli/Jewish; nor are there any symbols denoting Israel or Judaism, unlike in Steve Bell’s cartoon last Tuesday.”

As a defence against an accusation of anti-Semitism, this point raised by Rowson is particularly interesting in light of his own 2006 cartoon. Do the words ‘enough rope’ come to mind here?

The final point of interest is the question of who gets to define anti-Semitism? The Stephen Lawrence case raised many questions in the UK on the subject of perceptions and definitions of racism, as well as the subject of institutionalized racism. One of the many conclusions of the 1999 Macpherson report into the incident was that

The definition of ‘racist incident’ should be: ‘any incident which is perceived to

be racist by the victim or any other person’.

It is definitely time for Mr. Rowson to have a serious rethink of his attitudes: his ark shows him to be no angel.

Categories: Guardian

49 replies »

  1. In far simpler terms the cartoon depicts a boatload of innocents being threatened by soldiers and was published within days of the Mavi Marmara’s terrorist-laden attempt to breach a legal blockade.

    It is not difficult to see what such a depiction refers to no matter how false the content is. Imaginary animals cannot represent the real threat to Israel of Hamas, Iran and those who support them.

    There is quite a whiff of 1930s Germany in showing Jews as the cause of all ills.

  2. Oops! Forgot about the dead dove. Time to remind people of the many millions of murders carried out by the “Religion of Peace”. Over 60,000 Hindu temples destroyed for the sake of Allah. For a start.

    Perhaps the cartoon is a satire on Islam.

  3. Good exchange that I missed in the flesh. Israel is the default demon for the Guardian and its hired hands.

    That the Marmara itself contained the cowardly toughs wielding clubs and chains battering the soldiers as they descended with hands occupied with the rope has escaped Rowson The title chosen for the piece by IsraeliNurse Ark Angel is the key to the confusion Rowson’s ark had soldiers on board with no mechanism showing how they got there – did they fly like angels or teleport themelves? All that the cartoonist was interested in was showing mercenary jihadis as Noah and Israelis as the devil, and that it doesn’t work on any level, particularly that of truth, seems not to interest him.

  4. Looking back on the Marmara affair, Israel has learned some profound truths.

    However, the damage that Turkey has suffered for its attempts to break a legal blockade are no less profound for Turkey. Turkey has detached itself finally from Europe and NATO. In one fell swoop it has said to NATO, we are part of the MUSLIM world. They can never be trusted again and that will have its consequences. One consequence will be a changing perception of the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq.

    I suspect that there will be more support for a Kurdish independent state and this will ‘rubb-up both Syria and Iran as well as Turkey.

    Israel has chalked up some positives too. International media will now be careful how they present future incidents involving Israel. The UK foreign minister, Hague, has learnt to keep his gob shut until most of the facts are in. The IHH has been exposed publicly and Edrogan’s connections with a terrorist organisation exposed.

    Islander’s report is directed at improving Israel’s future reaction to similar provocations. It points out the failures in such a way that Israel’s enemies wil gain nothing from its publication.

    Bibi has learnt that it is so much better to consult with friends before embarking on such a venture. As we can see now with the Libyan ship ‘playing’ with the Israeli Navy. The bottom line is that in will never get to Gaza.

  5. Oh. And I forgot. Israel’s use as a loyal ally of the Western Liberal Democracies and NATO went up a few notches with the disgraceful behavior of Edrogan’s Turkey.

  6. Is Rowson trying to say – amongst other things – that the cartoon has nothing to do with Jews/Israelis/the Mavi Marmara/the bible because the animals he has drawn are not mentioned by name in the bible? That there is no connection between an ark, a Noah, a dove and the bible? That the soldiers he draws as crushing the dove of peace are not meant to be seen as Israelis.

    The man’s a coward and a bully – note the heavy sarcasm he uses from his first sentence.

    Well done Zachary for dealing with the man’s bluster.

  7. John, yes and the caption “Bible stories retold” is quite a giveaway. He’s a good artist, beautiful colour sense but what a waste of a talent.

  8. Interesting to note the use of the rainbow – an integral feature of this story:

    a symbol expressing God’s intention never to repeat the destructive action of the Flood, and more generally the transformation of God from a fundamentalist to a realist.

    Martin Rowson should be classed among the Palofundamentalists for issuing this sort of crass propaganda art.

  9. Both Rowson and Bell are good cartoonists and that is why they can be clever with their messages – and dangerous – for they cunningly nurture anti-Jewish sentiments amongst their audience. They are anti-Israeli propagandists and if in the process they spread a little bit of anti-Semitism here and there, well that’s a bonus in Cif book.

    Result.

  10. Well written Israelinurse.

    “…And since when does the – again – universal uniform of state security, without specific insignia, immediately denote Israel, therefore Judaism, and therefore antisemitism?..”

    Oh dear.

    This numpty has forgotten where he’s writing and where the original cartoon was published.

    I don’t know which gets my goat more – these idiots’ automatic assumption that, just because they can be hoodwinked into believing rubbish we can be made to believe it too on their say so, or the outsize arrogance which goes with that sort of remark.

    John, yes he is a coward and a bully. Cowardliness and bullying are the strong suits of Islamism and its supporters.

    He is well placed in the Groan and we should take him off at the knees whenever he oversteps the mark of decency.

  11. I’m surprised this exchange has been published here.

    Zachary was clearly overreacting when calling the cartoon anti-Semitic – and he was duly trounced by Rowson.

    Although I’ve admit I’ve only (so far) read the first two posts.

  12. Do some people here actually believe that Zach was right in calling the the cartoon anti-Semitic??

    That would make any non-Jewish depiction of ‘Old Testament’ stories anti-Semitic.

    That is even crazier!

  13. pretzelberg, it isn’t a depiction of an Old Testament story. Look at the unicorns and the soldiers!

  14. ‘That would make any non-Jewish depiction of ‘Old Testament’ stories anti-Semitic.’

    Why is that crazy, Pretzel?

  15. The unicorns are a cunning ploy to discredit the reports that some of the “peace” activists were armed.

    Everyone knows there were no unicorns on the ark and that there were no terrorists on the Mavi Marmara. According to Rowson and his cartoonist’s imagination.

  16. Jewish soldiers, Noah, accusations of unnecessary brutality by the army when the truth on the Marmara was the other way around. Combined with IsraeliNurse’s citation of Rowston’s earlier cartoon of Israel with mailed fist and pustules…. to me this adds up to deliberate and repeated mischaracterisation of Israel

  17. Oddly enough, one of my posts the moderator saw fit to delete was one (I thought) completely innocuous, explaining that the KJV originally translated r’eym, wild ox, as ‘unicorn’.

    Replies to it were left. Bizarre.

  18. pretzelberg given the ease with which the Groan conflates Israeli-ness with Jewishness, this is an antisemitic cartoon at quite a few different levels.

    And, yet again, you are entitled to your own opinion and to post it here pretzel but just because you think zachary was “clearly overreacting” (and it seems that it was “clear” only to you) and you think that there is no antisemitism in the cartoon, doesn’t make that true, particularly not given how twitched you get usually when A/S is called out.

    So I disagree with your opinions about this cartoon and this is a civilised debating forum where, unlike on CiF, I am allowed to do so as you are similarly allowed to disagree with mine.

  19. zkharya, that’s interesting. My favourite re-translation in the KJV was the change from “emeralds” to “haemorrhoids”. I told this to someone with a PhD in French who immediately said “emeraudes” (and whatever the French is for haemorrhoids).

    Maybe The Guardian doesn’t like the KJV either.

  20. Margie, in his own view perhaps the cartoonist was trying to do better: There are no Israeli or Jewish insignia or emblems in this cartoon, he said.

    But to operate in the era of unicorns the whole depiction is an emblem of Jewish destructiveness and even murderousness, a toxic fiction.

  21. Ariadne I will grant him the absence of Jewish insignia this time: though it’s difficult to erase his own cartoonish hisitory. However the story dominated the media to such an extent that there is no way we can fool ourselves that his booted soldiers are anything but Israeli. Looking outside the ark we see that it is not the time of the flood since there is a lighted city in the bay and other vessels on the sea, indicating that civilisation continues.

    His use of symbols from conflicting eras and cultures signals boorishness to me and not a negation of antisemitism

  22. ‘His use of symbols from conflicting eras and cultures signals boorishness to me’

    Assuming ‘conflicting’ means ‘different’, surely all satirical cartoons (indeed most works of art) are like that.

  23. Some things are being said here which I do not say, and I do not really want to expend much (if any) energy on correcting the misrepresentations of my ‘fans’: I am not responsible for these. But I will happily address any specific criticism Pretzel has to make. A general charge of ‘crazy’ is hard to refute.

  24. I’m sorry. That may come across as arrogant and ungrateful. I am grateful for support. I suppose I am a little frustrated that Pretzel’s reading of my posts was so careless that he read a criticism of a position Rowson attributed to me as my endorsing it.

  25. Rowson: “I’m surprised that no one so far (unless zapped by the moderators) has accused my cartoon of being the most disgracefully anti-semitic cartoon published since the closure of Der Sturmer…”

    He likes to pretend that all critics of Israel are accused of antisemitism. This is not true, and he had not been accused of antisemitism there. But he doesn’t let that get in the way of a lazy and dishonest attempt at defence.

    He continues: “And how do you know – given that some posters have described this cartoon as irrelevant – that they’re not, actually, right, and that this isn’t just a very, very bad cartoon about some other news story entirely, like the World Cup or something?”

    Probably because the page was titled “Martin Rowson on the Gaza flotilla attack”.

    “There are no Israeli or Jewish insignia or emblems in this cartoon”, he writes at one point.

    So it is not an anti-Israel cartoon.

    But soon after he writes “To save electricity have it your own way, though I still don’t see how an anti-Israeli cartoon is therefore an antisemitic one.”

    Oh, hang on, so it is an anti-Israeli cartoon.

    “My intention was not antisemitic,” he writes.

    For what it’s worth I didn’t think the intention or the result was antisemitic. I just think it was another example of Rowson, an artistically-talented cartoonist stepping into territory he’s just not equipped to deal with with sufficient intelligence or balance.

  26. ‘He likes to pretend that all critics of Israel are accused of antisemitism. This is not true, and he had not been accused of antisemitism there.’

    Actually, I had called the cartoon antisemitic. Just not a ‘Der Sturmer’ kind of antisemitic as he (sort of) implied.

    I still think it is antisemitic, though I appreciate that my knowing perhaps more than most here of the way Christian and Islamic tradition uses biblical (or de facto biblical) figures or motifs against Jews, with Jews playing the villains in the Christian and Islamic cosmic narrative (of Jews’ own ‘old testament’ history, appropriated by Christians and Muslims) against Christian and Islamic righteousness, may make me more (in the eyes of some, too) sensitive to it.

    Noah is a figure of absolute virtue, and those ‘animals’ absolute innocents, quasi saints, really, groundlessly murdered/martyred by evil Israeli Jews.

    As I said, it is not quite a re-crucifixion, with Israeli Jews (re-) crucifying Christ as Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians or their (vicarious) substitutes, but it is not altogether different from it, either. I think it is as close to that kind of motif as Rowson dare approach.

    In another post, also deleted, I observed the irony of Rowson entering this kind of territory, given his professing elsewhere to be humanist.

  27. @ zkharya

    How is any non-Jewish depiction of Old Testament stories anti-Semitic??

    I suppose I am a little frustrated that Pretzel’s reading of my posts was so careless that he read a criticism of a position Rowson attributed to me as my endorsing it.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood something. Please do correct me.

    @ SarahLeah

    You refer to “how twitched [I] get usually when A/S is called out.”

    You’re making it up again and are frankly getting very tiresome.

    @ Oy Va Goy

    I agree with pretty much all of that post.

    Rowson’s reference to “the usual, kneejerk trope of equating all criticism of the state of Israel’s actions with anti-semitism” is plain ridiculous.

  28. I also observed that Rowson was unlikely to draw a cartoon in which Muhammed chides those Muslims today who commit atrocities in his name, or in which, say, any kind of Muslim actually murders Muhammed, a Salafi, or any Quranic saint; or, in any way, to use Islamic tradition against contemporary Muslims.

  29. ‘How is any non-Jewish depiction of Old Testament stories anti-Semitic??’

    a) that’s a question

    b) it’s not anything I have written

  30. zkharya: “I also observed that Rowson was unlikely to draw a cartoon in which Muhammed chides those Muslims today who commit atrocities in his name, or in which, say, any kind of Muslim actually murders Muhammed, a Salafi, or any Quranic saint; or, in any way, to use Islamic tradition against contemporary Muslims.”

    Oh, absolutely. The hypocrisy and cowardice of Rowson’s sort is breathtaking.

  31. ‘Perhaps I’ve misunderstood something. Please do correct me.’

    First of all do me the courtesy of actually quoting something I have written, then, if you do not mind, telling me why you think it crazy or whatever.

  32. This is what you quoted, Pretzel:

    ‘That would make any non-Jewish depiction of ‘Old Testament’ stories anti-Semitic.’

    Why is that crazy, Pretzel?

  33. I am making nothing up, pretzel. It seems that you are merely seeing the picture and not the double meanings in its imagery. Granted they are not blatant but cartoons rarely are.

    Look back at all your posts here in which you call posters’ picking up of antisemitism in the Groan, “nonsense” or dismiss real concerns in other such derogatory terms, just because YOU think they are nonsensical. You should not keep making the mistake of think that something is a fact just because you yourself believe that it is. THAT is tiresome, pretzel.

    You have also totally ignored the Israel-/Jew-hating context in which this cartoon and its message will be viewed and received. There is a history of anti-Jewish racism in the Groan’s cartoons which should not be overlooked.

  34. ‘Perhaps I’ve misunderstood something. Please do correct me.’

    How can I correct you if you cannot even be bothered to tell me what it is you think I have said?

  35. Pretzl
    “How is any non-Jewish depiction of Old Testament stories anti-Semitic??”
    your question says that you can’t imagine that any non-Jewish depictions of Old Testament scenes can ever be antisemitic. That is patently ridiculous since you have not seen all possible non-Jewish depictions of biblical scenes, nor can you imagine the uses to which biblical scenes have been put or may be put for antisemitic purposes in the future.

  36. ‘your question says that you can’t imagine that any non-Jewish depictions of Old Testament scenes can ever be antisemitic. ‘

    BUT IT’S NOT MY QUESTION. IT’S NOT MY STATEMENT. IT’S NOT ANYTHING I HAVE WRITTEN.

  37. Of course the cartoon is virulently anti-Semitic. It twists an ancient Jewish story against the Jews themselves, representing the Jews not in self-defense but as evil and bloody slaughterers of world peace.

    It’s unfortunately worthy of the Stürmer.

  38. @ zkharya

    I now see that I did indeed misinterpret your response (“non-Jewish depiction of ‘Old Testament’”). Sorry about that.

    Prior to this thread I recently saw a series of your posts on some CiF thread and was largely in agreement with them. I personally do not find that the Rowson cartoon was anti-Semitic, but I sense that otherwise we share a lot of commen ground.
    😉

    @ Margie

    I was actually paraphrasing zkharya’s response and appreciate that my comment might have been confusing. Needless to say, of course I do not rule out non-Jewish depictions of Old Testament scenes being antisemitic.

  39. Margie: for the cartoon’s dissonant content we might refer to Frances Bacon talking about starting a painting. He said “something comes up from the great sea of the unconscious to help you”.

  40. 5 Jun 2010, 1:52PM

    That’s the time of the post in which Zachary Esterson made the comment that has been so confusing.

  41. @ Ariadne

    Thank you for that correction. Given that I’m not related to Bacon, perhaps you can guess why.
    😉

  42. Regarding “Noah is an emblem of Christian and Islamic righteousness” – again shows yours (and many Jewish people’s) ignorance…
    Chrisitians don’t regard Noah as an emblem of righteousness (getting drunk and involved in incest), and more than they do David (adultery and murder) – they only regard Jesus (Yeshua) as righteous along with God….
    This fiction is made up by years of (yeast ridden) Jewish religious tradition, that seeks to throw the bone of Noahcide law as a type of salvation (for the Goy) – when the Christians know full well that righteousness comes through Abraham’s seed, and that the saviour will be born in Bethlehem, and be a light to the nations….

    And yes I also need to disagree, and support the statement that a majority of Jewish people equate free-thinking political criticism of Israel (and the diaspora’s support) of this brutal regime as anti-semetic… It seems that challenging freedom of thought, and brutal murder of anyone that disagrees with them (Palestinians, christians, atheist political activists with guns, bulldozers etc) should be silenced or killed…
    This state is on par with the communist state (that strangely was also founded by a Jew too)…..

  43. Lance, your rant is a display of your bigotry and ignorance.

    1. Judaism, like Christianity, regards David and Noah as flawed.

    2. The Noahide laws are actually a very civilised concept, for Judaism used them to reason that
    – righteous gentiles will go to heaven (in contrast to Christianity’s and Islam’s insistence that non-believers will not go to heaven)
    – to merit heaven, a human being need only behave in a righteous manner and support social justice, but need not believe in Judaism.

    3. Jewish religious tradition is not “yeast-ridden” but continually evolving, as it has for three millennia.

    4. The communist state was not founded by a Jew, since Lenin and Stalin were not Jewish, and Karl Marx’s father converted to Lutheranism before Karl’s birth. In other words, communism is a product of gentiles, which you blame upon Jews because you need a scapegoat for humanity’s failings.

    5. The Israeli government does not “murder … anyone that disagrees with them”. On the contrary, the Israeli Parliament has Arab members who call for the dissolution of Israel; Jews and Arabs demonstrate frequently against the government; the government funds films and universities which question Israeli policies; and the country funds manifold Arab institutions — from schools to media — which openly oppose the government.

    That the cartoon attracts anti-Semitic arseholes like yourself, not only proves the evil in the cartoon, but makes me ashamed to be a Christian. Thank God not all of us are like you.

  44. I wonder if this creep Rowson would refer to the “literature of the myths of Islam” as he said, ” but who also originally appeared in the literature of the myths of Judaism?”

    Something tells me that he wouldn’t dare. In Britain today they give prizes for being anti-Semitic, not brickbats, so it is not exactly as if he were being brave, or even edgy.

    Simple courtesy would cause a decent person to be polite about another’s religion. This repellent individual is so far gone in his Judenhass that he doesn’t even notice.

  45. ”Regarding “Noah is an emblem of Christian and Islamic righteousness” – again shows yours (and many Jewish people’s) ignorance…’

    Then you have never read the new testament or church fathers, for which and whom Noah’s righteousness, compared to the rest of sinful and doomed humanity, alone wins salvation from the flood which is taken as a prefiguration of baptism, which saves, via the spirit, from sin.

    “Chrisitians don’t regard Noah as an emblem of righteousness (getting drunk and involved in incest),”

    I didn’t say “moral perfection”. I said “righteousness”, which quality all saints are held to have in more abundance than most of their fellows, Q.E.D.

    “and more than they do David (adultery and murder) – they only regard Jesus (Yeshua) as righteous along with God….”

    Even David is regarded as a saint, because of his having righteousness in more abundance than his fellows.

    You clearly are profoundly ignorant of Christian tradition.