General UK Media

Outrage over a cartoon…and yet no one died

Cross posted by Raheem Kassam, Executive Editor of The Commentator

Only on a BBC radio call-in show in Britain could you have heard listeners phoning in to express how the West would get what it has coming to it for a peasant-like film being uploaded to YouTube by some anonymous character in the United States. 

But that is precisely what I heard, when as a guest on the BBC Asian Network last year, I was asked to take part in a phone-in discussion with listeners about the “Innocence of Muslims” film. 

At the time, protests in Pakistan, Libya and other Muslim countries terrified pusillanimous Western leaders into apologising for the freedom of expression, or freedom to offend. The fallout was the death of an American ambassador and diplomatic staff, although the links to the protests in this case are spurious.

The same of course can be reflected upon of the firebombing of the Charlie Hebdo office in 2011, and of the response on the streets of Britain when a Danish newspaper published a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. Hundreds died. Property was burned. Unknown numbers of people were injured.

Against this backdrop, I have been assessing the implications of the Benjamin Netanyahu cartoon over the past 48 hours. 

The Commentator, as you know, first reported the extraordinarily offensive cartoon on Sunday morning, noting the invocation of the long-standing blood libel against the Jewish people. Many have argued, that the cartoon depicting a big-nosed, blood-loving Netanyahu is nowhere near as offensive as depicting Prophet Muhammed as a terrorist, or similar.

I would argue that actually, the Netanyahu cartoon was worse. Not for ‘criticising’ the Israeli leader, but rather, for invoking the Der Stumer-esque view that the Jews have big noses and dabble in the blood of Arabs or Muslims. This is outright racism. The Mohammed cartoons, were (distasteful) parodies against a singular religious figure, not the demonisation of an entire people.

But even if you don’t buy that – and really, I understand if you don’t because it’s quite a fine line – then upon taking the two incidents as equal, and asserting that the freedom to offend should remain paramount, I would tend to agree with you

The fact is, the Sunday Times exercised its right to offend this past Sunday, on Holocaust Memorial Day, thus making its blood libel doubly, trebly, quadruply more offensive. And indeed, the appropriate levels of offence were taken.

But you didn’t see rioting in the streets, or the calls for the beheading of the perpetrators of the cartoon. You may have heard moans of the decline of Western civilisation, but you never heard encouragement towards it. In fact, the response to the Sunday Times cartoon was quite the opposite of what we’ve seen in recent years when religions take offence.

There were articles, quotes, comments, letters, political interventions and more. But never did the outcry overspill, and only ever was there a call towards more civility, not less.

Now, to be clear, we know full well that Muslim communities around the world, by and large, were not rioting and inciting violence after Mohammed was depicted in a provocative fashion – but it is these ‘moderate Muslims’ who must work to bring their house in order, casting out the crazies, expunging the extremists, declaring vehemently and repeatedly, “Not in my name.” 

It is these demons that Muslims in West still have to overcome – and until they do, they can claim no moral high ground over offences they feel are perpetrated towards them. 

52 replies »

  1. The cartoon is not about religion or blood libel. It is about the policies of Netanyahu and the state of Israel, which result in building on top of Palestinians.

      • What CIF Watch won’t publish: Scarfe often makes use of images of blood in his cartoons.

        The red fluid is splashed across his website and featured, for example, in a recent cartoon of the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who was pictured as a green, wraith-like creature drinking greedily from an oversized cup labelled “Children’s Blood”.

        CIF Watch won’t mention it, but Israeli newspapers did:,7340,L-4338264,00.html

    • This cartoon is not about “the Jews”, this cartoon is about Benyamin Netanyahu’s policies – a secular politician who happens to be Israel’s Prime Minister.

      That the cartoon was published on Holocaust Day is disturbing, to say the least, but it’s no reason to engage in wild conspiracy theories.

      • Oh, yeah, and Israel happens to be the only Jewish State around. Once again “nat”-the-fraudster, just piss off.

        • There are Jewish people living all over the world, SerJew, not only in Israel. Netanyahu is one of many Israeli politicians, not a Jewish symbol.

            • Netanyahu is the prime minister of Israel. He’s not and never will be the “symbol of the Jewish nation”.

              Let me remind you that 20% of Israeli citizens are not Jews, and that the majority of Jews in the world do not live in Israel.

              There are many symbols of the Jewish nation, but a secular politician certainly isn’t.

  2. Ok, so now let us put this matter behind us, hopefully lessons have been learned. Now let us focus on the extremist loonies at the Guardian and Cif.

  3. “I would argue that actually, the Netanyahu cartoon was worse. Not for ‘criticising’ the Israeli leader, but rather, for invoking the Der Stumer-esque view that the Jews have big noses and dabble in the blood of Arabs or Muslims.”

    Perhaps it had escaped your attention, Adam, that Israelis under the control of Netanyahu regularly kill and maim Arabs, often in connection with anti-wall demonstrations. Six Palestinians have been killed this month alone.The association of blood, wall and Netanyahu in the cartoon simply reflects this fact. The ‘blood libel’ reference is just nonsense. If Israeli leaders want to stop being associated with blood they could start by stopping the shoot to kill practices of the IDF.

        • The issues, sencar, are: (1) Hundreds of Israelis (yes, Arab Israelis too), were being blown up by terrorists from the West Bank (many of whom came from “moderate” Fatah); and (2) PA had been — and still is — glorifying these terrorists, teaching children to emulate them, naming schools and streets after them, extolling their “honor” in all available media. There was no barrier until that had gone on for too long to be tolerable. Another country would have reconquered the land and sent the PLO back to Tunis; Israel built a defensive fence/wall instead. Funny how it’s those horrible Israelis get to be the subject of cheap-shot racist cartoons, but not the French (Mali – same enemy), or Sri Lankans, or Turks, or …

          • My comments were addressed at the IDF habit of killing demonstrators and others who just happen to be in the wrong place, Jacob, not at the wall as such; I’ll save my views on that for another day.

            • Saying that the IDF has a “habit of killing demonstrators and others who just happen to be in the wrong place” is along the lines of claiming that “Slovenes have a habit of making attempts on the Guinness world record for domino toppling.”

              • Have a look at this week’s B’Tselem report ‘Israel’s Use of Crowd Control Weapons
                in the West Bank’, which shows that IDF soldiers frequently use lethal weapons against stone-throwers, going far beyond the army’s rules of engagement without any serious corrective measures being taken by senior officers. B’Tselem notes that “since 2005, security forces have killed at least 46 Palestinians in the West
                Bank by firing live ammunition at stone-throwers”.

                • B`tselem, another source for tales of horror and imagination.
                  Empirical research is none of its business.

            • The IDF habit of killing innocent by-standers Sencar?

              I can suggest you to busy yourself with the following real habits and not your usual anti-Semitic libels:
              The Europeans’ habit to murder Jews and Roma people using industrial methods…
              The cultural habit in Islam to murder each other arguing on the proper form of praying to Allah or being fans of other soccer clubs…
              The irresistible wish rooted in the same culture to habitually eradicate all non-coreligionists, heretics, gays, adulterers and keeping their womenfolk in slavery…
              The habit of your kind of Jew-hating scum masquerading as protectors of Palestinian rights…
              Your kind of anti-Semites’ irresistible habit to accuse the Jews with anything from murdering children to poisoning wells, being arch capitalist and arch communists at the same time…

              Sencar, Scarfe and Ward = exactly the same kind of of lying Jew-haters using the classic blood-libel scheme.

        • Hey, sensitive-dude, last time I check Israel is the JEWISH state, so I guess there’s some connection with Judaism after all. Fraudster.

          • SerJew, 20% of the population of Israel is not Jewish, not to mention that Israel is not a religious but a secular state.

            • Hey, sensitive-dude, the MAJORITY of the population of Israel is JEWISH, that’s why Israel is the Jewish State. Another blunder from the batavian moron.

              • There are many symbols of the Jewish nation, but Netanyahu is certainly not one of them. He’s a secular politician, who leads one of many political parties in Israel and has served as prime Minister for a few years. I very much doubt that Shas would acknowledge Netanyahu as a “symbol of the Jewish nation”, he’s not a religious person.

          • Fritz, your contributions must be the shallowest, least well researched and generally the most ignorant of any on this board – and that is saying a very great deal.

            • Well, I`m pretty sure you can confound the informations about Syria and the killed Palestinians given by ElderofZyon, can`t you?
              Anyway, thanks for flowers. You are welcome.

            • You are hardly one to criticise sencar about “least well researched”, you disciple of Greg Philo. You wouldn’t know good research if it kicked you in the rear end.

              Given your standards I am glad you are not a surgeon.

  4. Europe remebers the Holocaust

    Hezbollah may not be included on the European Union’s list of terrorist groups even if it did bomb Jewish tourists in Bulgaria, the EU’s top counter-terrorism official reportedly said…
    …There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack,” de Kerchove is quoted as saying. “It’s not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it’s also a political assessment of the context and the timing.

    This piece oh so European politician should have said the truth:

    There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack, against Jews” de Kerchove is quoted as saying. “It’s not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it’s also a political assessment of the context that it was directed against Jews and the timing

    • “Hezbollah may not be included on the European Union’s list of terrorist groups even if it did bomb Jewish tourists in Bulgaria”

      Peter, if you have found evidence that Hezbollah was behind the attack in Bulgaria, why haven’t you shared with the police?

  5. Raheem: If you were to stand in my constituency, I would campaign and vote for you over and above the UKIP candidate (and I’m a UKIP party member). It’s that simple.

  6. There are several aspects of this piece that I take issue with – but I do appreciate there is an emotional reaction involved.

    I’ll stick to what I agree with, i.e. a) that the timing (at the very least) of the cartoon was truly shocking and b) that it is fair and right to point out that the critical response to the cartoon has – as always in such high-profile cases of material published that is offensive to Jews – remained of the non-physical variety.

    • Yes pretzel us Jews used to become very emotional when we can see again the same murderous shit what lead to the Holocaust in Europe. And we simply can’t control our emotions when the same Europe wouldn’t consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation – they are killing only Jews so the “context” is very clear.
      We simply can’t remain reasonable and let our emotions to suppress our well known sense of humor when a a mainstream party representative in the UK is teaching us about our inability to learn the lessons of the Holocaust after the same Europeans invested tremendous energy to show us the rules of proper behavior.
      I hope that I don’t have to point out the exact place where these European politicians can shove up their crocodile tears about our tragic fate (as comrade Cox put it) – you must know this already.

      • Indeed: modern euro-trash seems to think that Auschwitz was a kind of summer-camp where Jews were taught good manners and received a diploma.

  7. As for the concluding remarks about moderate Muslims – perhaps the author and others will find encouragement from this London imam re. the recent “Muslim patrol” story:

    (and yes, he does switch into English soon after the start)

    I did.

      • Simple fact is: they’re liars, racists, homphobes and taqqiya-merchants

        And the willfully blind and idiots like the gays and lesbians, the environmentalists and feminists fall for it every time: hook, line and sinker. Meanwhile the anti-Semites, fascists and lefties know the taqqiya business and the lies full well but use these Islamists for their own advantage. By advancing Islam, the bigots are also advancing their own agenda.

  8. The article refers to “the cartoon depicting a big-nosed, blood-loving Netanyahu”.

    I did not notice Netanyahu having a particular big nose in the cartoon. Plus: all the Arabs have bigger noses!

    Anyone familiar with Scarfe’s work over the years will in any case also know that plenty of his subjects are lent inflated noses.

      • I am not apologising for anti-Semites.

        Why not address my comments instead of making silly slurs?

        • Why should I address your arrogant teachings about what should the Jewish community consider anti-Semitic or not? Do you really think that Scarfe’s disgusting crap’s relation to anti-semitism must be decided on the nosesize of Netanyahu and not on the content shoving him crushing Palestinians into the security barrier using their blood as mortar? The barrier that saved many Jewish lives and was initiated by someone else?