Constructing the “Evil Jew” and “Bloodthirsty Israel”
Cartoonists construct and conflate images of the “Evil Jew” and “Brutal Israel” in order to construct the social representation that this hybrid “entity” poses a universal threat, that is, to Palestinians, Muslims and the world, more generally.
The cartoons consistently construct Jews in particular as immoral evil beings whose intentions are inherently malevolent. In a cartoon by Abdolhossein Amirizadeh from Iran,4 the Devil is depicted against a fiery hellish landscape. The figure possesses the physical traits typically attributed to the Devil, such as long and sharp claws, horns, sharp and jagged teeth and pointy ears, but it is also attributed physical traits historically and stereotypically associated with the Jews
4 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Abdolhossein_Amirizadeh_Ira in antisemitic images, e.g. a long face and a hooked nose (Kotek, 2009; Smith, 2012). The Devil possesses a pitchfork with the Star of David and is depicted as reading a large book entitled “Holocaust” which also displays the Star of David, implying that the Devil is a Jew. Similarly, another cartoon5 by Majid Salehi from Iran represents a devilish figure brandishing a pitchfork with a menorah, also emphasising the Jewish character of the devilish figure. In two cartoons by Sadik Pala from India, Jews are depicted as parasitical vampire bats, which constituted a prevalent long-standing motif in medieval European antisemitism (Kotek, 2009). In one image,6 a Jew with sidelocks and a black hat is depicted as a vampire bat with fangs, hanging upside down alongside a real vampire bat. This serves to construct a sense of “natural” solidarity and camaraderie between the vampire Jew and the vampire bat. The vampire Jew foregrounds and presides over Jerusalem
– itself represented by a mosque in the background. In the other image,7 a Jew with sidelocks and a black hat wearing the Star of David is depicted as a vampire with long sharp fangs feeding parasitically on “Palestinian blood”. In short, these cartoons anchor Jews to stereotypically evil and parasitic beings.
In addition to embodying evil, Jews are represented as opposing righteousness (Herf, 2006). Alaa Rostam from Syria8 depicts an obese, menacing-looking Jew with sidelocks wearing a Hasidic black hat on his head and a large weapon on his back. He is represented as drawing a target on the back of an apparently benevolent individual recounting the “truth” of the Holocaust, namely that it never occurred. The constructed aim of the “Evil Jew” is the silencing of this “truth”. In another cartoon,9 Sam Keshmiri from Iran represents a large beast-like figure with sidelocks and a hooked nose next to an angelic child who bleeds, suggesting that the Jewish beast has attacked the child and therefore constitutes the antithesis of the angel, namely evil itself. Similarly, in a caricature by Majid Salehi from Iran,10 a stereotypically demonic-looking Jew (also with long sidelocks and a hooked nose) who is carrying a briefcase displaying the Israeli flag carries an incapacitated angel tied tightly to his back. In his cartoon,11 Behnam Bahrami represents an evil devilish figure with red eyes, fangs and pointy ears who is also wearing a Jewish black hat displaying the Star of David. His elongated nose, implicitly attributed to his “lies” about the Holocaust, brutally penetrates a bloodied white dove that was carrying an olive branch. In these cartoons, peace and benevolence (symbolised by the dove and angel, respectively) are brutalised by the hybrid symbol of the “Evil Jew” who is constructed as a threat to peace. These cartoons serve to anchor Judaism to war-mongering.
5 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Majid_Salehi_Iran2 6 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Sadic_Pala_India_3 7 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Sadic_Pala_India_2 8 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Alaa_Rostam_Syria 9 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Sam_Keshmiri_Iran 10 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Majid_Salehi_Iran 11 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Behnam_Bahrami_Iran Cartoonists make use of existing antisemitic social representations (e.g. that Jews are evil) in order to derogate Israelis (Wistrich, 2005). In a cartoon by Augusto Frank Bier from Brazil,12 an Israeli soldier on a tank displaying the Star of David is depicted as conversing with the Grim Reaper, the personification of death, who angrily rebukes the Israeli soldier for interfering in “his business”, namely death and destruction. Like the “Evil Jew” who causes death and destruction, the State of Israel is depicted as the gasoline which deliberately and callously burns innocent and helpless Lebanese children. This serves to objectify the victim of JewishZionist aggression through the process of personification. Death and destruction are represented as the principal aim of the State of Israel in a cartoon by Carlos Latuff, given that the gasoline bottles displays the flag of Israel and is intended to symbolise the Jewish State.13 Similarly, in another cartoon by the same artist,14 former prime minister Ehud Olmert (a personification of the State of Israel) is depicted as a gigantic evil figure towering domineeringly over both Gaza and Lebanon and unleashing devastating bombs single-handedly, causing death and destruction in both territories. In this cartoon, innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians are represented as running helplessly for cover from the bombs.
Several cartoonists depict the Palestinian family as the principal and intended victim of Israel, symbolised by the Israeli Defense Forces. For instance, in a cartoon by an anonymous artist from Brazil,15 a visibly terrified Palestinian family lies embedded within the ground surrounded by Israeli bombs all of which display the Star of David. Their house in the background lies in complete destruction and smoke engulfs the landscape. Furthermore, Miroslaw Hajnos from Poland16 represents an Israeli soldier as sadistically playing on a seesaw consisting of a plank balanced on a large missile with a terrified Palestinian family. The central theme of the cartoon concerns the sadism of Israel and the enjoyment that its soldiers allegedly derive from terrorising the Palestinians. Consistent with this theme, J Bosco from Brazil produces a cartoon17 in which an Israeli tank displaying the Star of David as its flag traverses the Palestinian landscape (displaying a sign marked “Palestine”) and leaves a long trail of human skulls behind it, suggesting the brutality of the Israeli army and the destruction it allegedly leaves behind.
The “Evil Jew” and “Brutal Israel” are depicted as being collectively destructive to Palestine in particular. David Baldinger's cartoon18 depicts the Star of David (a symbol of both Judaism and Israel) as a shuriken (or throwing star) used to slash and maim Palestine, as suggested by its embedment within a dilapidated wall displaying the Palestinian national flag (symbolising Palestine itself). The
13 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/CarlosLatuffBrazil 14 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/CarlosLatuffBrazil2 15 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Iran3
18 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/David_Baldinger_usa wall bleeds and smoke emerges from behind it, suggesting widespread death and destruction in Palestine. Moreover, the consequential suffering of the Palestinians is emphasised (Litvak and Webman, 2009). For instance, in a caricature by Ebrahim Azad from Iran,19 Palestinians are depicted as being led systematically from a concentration camp (referred to as “Palestine”) into an incinerator (caricatured as a Jewish head wearing a black hat with the Star of David). The incinerator excretes human skulls at the other end, which implicitly applies the social representation of the Holocaust to the Palestinian context. In short, the Jewish-Israeli is depicted as perpetrating genocide against the Palestinians. Judaism and Zionism are objectified in terms of violence and deadly phenomena, which provides these religious and political ideologies with a negative psychologically tangible essence.
The cartoons construct Israeli brutality as deliberate and calculated (Wistrich, 2005). In a cartoon by Raed Khalil from Syria,20 grinning, evil-looking Israeli soldiers pose for a photograph next to a dying Palestinian man lying in a pool of blood. The smoke emerging from their weapons suggests that they are responsible for this act of brutality and their grins suggest the calculation and joy with which the act was carried out. The soldiers stand defiantly before the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam.
In addition to cartoons depicting the Jew-Zionist as an aggressor against the Palestinians, in particular, often symbolised by a sign “Palestine” or the Palestinian national flag, several images represent the Jew-Zionist as a threat to, or brutaliser of, Muslims more generally. In a cartoon by Djoko Susilo from Indonesia,21 the Star of David is again depicted as a throwing star which penetrates a crescent (a symbol of Islam) that bleeds. Similarly, images of the victimhood and suffering of Islam and Muslims (implicitly at the hands of the Jew-Zionist) are reiterated in another cartoon22 of a human eye displaying the crescent (a symbol of Islam) in place of the pupil shedding a single tear. Contributing to the image of an Israeli threat, a cartoon by Raed Khalil from Syria23 depicts a soldier (wearing the Star of David on his uniform) emerging from a hole and joyfully brandishing his weapon in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is barely visible behind explosions, debris and smoke. This serves to attribute the destruction of one of the holiest sites in Islam to the Israeli army. Furthermore, there is an implicit anchoring of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to historical religious conflict between Jews and Muslims – this has performed an important mobilising function in Arab/Iranian anti-Zionist discourse (Jaspal, 2013a, 2013c; Litvak, 1998).
While Israel is habitually represented as brutalising the Palestinians and threatening Islam, some cartoons depict Israel as posing a threat to the world as a
19 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Ebrahim_Azad_Iran 20 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Raed_Khalil_Syriaz_2 21 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Djoko_Susilo_2
23 irancartoon.ir/gallery/album48/Raed_Khalil_Syriaz_3 whole (Herf, 2006). For instance, one cartoon24 depicts the word “Israel” and replaces the fi “l” with a large boot trampling on the globe. The globe is represented as falling victim to Israel, an allegedly threatening and brutal entity. Similarly, this threat is reiterated in an image by Nedal Ali Deep from Syria25 which represents Israel/Jews as an aggressive and malevolent dog with a demonic face barking viciously at a personifi of the world, which attempts to appease the vicious dog with a piece of meat (displaying “Palestine”). In short, the ultimate target of the vicious dog (in this context, a metaphor for Jews/Israel) is the whole world, rather than Palestine specifi – Palestine is merely a means of appeasing the Jew-Zionist who allegedly seeks to usurp the world. The construction of the world as the ultimate target serves to crystallise and accentuate the social representation of the Jew-Zionist as posing a threat (as demonstrated in Chapter 5 of this volume).