Jewish Journal

Oliphant cartoon blasted as anti-Semitic

by Brad A. Greenberg

March 26, 2009 | 2:49 pm

Oliphant cartoon

Pat Oliphant, one of the most widely syndicated political cartoonists in the world, is in a bit of hot water over this drawing. The cartoon, which ran in papers across the country yesterday, depicts a headless soldier goose-stepping behind a fanged Star of David, marching the tiny, defenseless Gaza off a cliff.

The ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center are leading the opposition:

“Pat Oliphant’s outlandish and offensive use of the Star of David in combination with Nazi-like imagery is hideously anti-Semitic,” said Abraham Foxman, the ADL’s national director. “It employs Nazi imagery by portraying Israel as a jack-booted, goose-stepping headless apparition. The implication is of an Israeli policy without a head or a heart. “

“The imagery in this cartoon mimics the venomous anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazi and Soviet eras,” the Simon Wiesenthal Center said in its statement. “It is cartoons like this that inspired millions of people to hate in the 1930s and help set the stage for the Nazi genocide.”

Indeed, the cartoon immediately evoked for me images of Nazi propaganda that portrayed duplicitous Jews shoving Germans into the ocean. (I looked but couldn’t find any previous posts about this; here, though, is an archival treasure trove.)

The AP has more on Oliphant:

Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes Oliphant’s cartoons, did not return messages left after hours.

The Gaza cartoon alludes to Israel’s invasion of the Palestinian territory in December to halt rocket fire from the area and weaken it militant Hamas rulers. More than 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 900 civilians, were killed, according to a Palestinian human rights group.

Oliphant, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1967, is one of the most widely syndicated editorial cartoonists in the world.

The cartoon is his latest to draw backlash.

In 2001 and 2007, the Asian American Journalists Association objected to what they called offensive racial caricatures in cartoons about trade with China and concerns about international food safety.

In 2005, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee criticized one of his cartoons because it drew on false stereotypes and reinforces negative views of Arabs.

A native of Australia, Oliphant came to the U.S. in 1964 to work for The Denver Post. His work has been syndicated internationally since 1965, and by Universal since 1980. His work is on permanent display at the Library of Congress.

On its Web site, Universal declares that “no one is safe from the acid brush of Pat Oliphant.”

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