Originally posted on Jewdyssee
Recently an Israeli journalist friend of mine posted cartoons from the NY Times that showed a mighty and hideous Netanyahu controlling his American puppet. It is a bit more sophisticated than the usual caricatures we know from Der Stürmer or Al Manar. This is pretty scary although one has to admit that Netanyahu does get more standing ovations in the US congress than Obama and for some reason the Republican nominees who usually don´t agree on anything, all but Ron Paul agree on an absolute support of Israel as if it was their grandmother.
So is it Antisemitic to make a cartoon about that? Probably not by defintion, but given the fact there is a history of anti-Jewish caricatures paving the way towards a genocide this might be the point where us Jews should get in the mood that Muslims are in when some American redneck burns a Quran. I´m not saying we should buy a NY Times and step on it while filming and lighting it up and afterwards put in on YouTube, but we should definitely think about whether these lost sensitivities by a New York newspaper which is seen by many Neonazis as part of the Jewish World Conspiracy, signifies a shift in the harshness that Israel is facing in international spheres even among the closest allies.
Here in Berlin, Germany, it would be unthinkable that a newspaper publishes something like this. Really? Yes, but this is more because it is a taboo. But it´s not an unbreakable taboo like pedophilia, it is more a taboo like tax crimes. You don´t do that because you will cause a discussion about the Nazi past, of which everyone is too bored. It has a lot to do with Germany being part of the Atlantic friendship thing with the US since the times of the Marshall plan and the Berlin Air Lift. The first post-war chancellor Konrad Adenauer said in an interview that reconciliation with the Jews is also needed because of the power they have in the US. This was the 50s. Later the 1968 Generation opened up the discussion about the Nazi past and started loving the Kibbutz and Woody Allen, but it also came along with the New Left and it´s criticism of American Imperialism and everything that America supports, including Israel. It´s kind of like 1967 is for Israel, you gained Jerusalem and access to the Western Wall, but you also got the occupation. In other words, don´t ask me why it works so well. I highly doubt it would stay this way if one day there would be a major split between the USA and Israel. Philip Roth has dealt with this question in his novel „Plot against America“ in which Charles Lindbergh becomes the first openly Antisemitic US president. If Germany would stand alone as Israel´s supporter there would be for sure populists here who understood the political potential in this situation. Freeing oneself from the guilt feelings, and joining in with the majority of the people of the world. This sounds terrible now. It would not happen in the 1938 way, but it would happen in the Erdogan way. So as much as I still hope for Israel returning to the Rabin path and join Obama in policies worthy of the 21st century, I still prefer sometimes to deal with a Republican who likes me, than with caricatures that look life threatening to my existence. But I would not admit that in public. Not because I´m a diaspora Jew who is too fearful to speak out, but just because…come on – Republicans, Christian Evangelicals, Rupert Murdoch, seriously, with all the respect to the coalitions Israel has to engage in, I really would prefer Manu Chao, Christopher Hitchens or Cornel West. Dammit, when I think about it, being Jewish really IS hard. Maybe I should assimilate?
But you cannot escape being a Jew! But that was just Hitler, most Antisemites were not racially oriented and Christians were fine with baptizing. Man, the only things that kept and keep me in is the fact that my mother always sang „Erev Shel Shoshanim“ so I would fall asleep and listen to the Exodus theme all the time. Okay, and the hotness of Israeli women that contributed so much to my early 20s. So much more convincing than the theory. Fuck this, tough times coming up, please Hashem, save your people once more, and please make them understand that although they became tired of the Kibbutz mentality, this secular Zionism was definitely they way to go towards a better future and please give them the strength and the eyes to see that their recent secular self-hatred that makes them say things like “At least the National Religious still know what they are fighting for” is something most of their ancestors would be really ashamed of. It´s okay, we can do this “A Nation that dwells alone”-thing, I got your back, but please work on the marketing. After all the 1990s surfer macho with flip flops and sunglasses was much better and meaningful than those rightwinged self-knotted Kipa guys or Danny Danons you are sending over now. Just because all the Bamba and Bissli is gone afterwards doesn´t mean that anyone is listening to that shit. We cannot help being depicted in cartoons, but at least we should not look like one.