Shaky unilateral ceasefires give the populations of Gaza and the border towns a break. But will this stop the opposition protests against Israeli militarism dipping in to a disturbing echo of the past.
The photo above was taken by a spiked journalist when reporting on the large demonstration in London last weekend. “Israelis eat babies…etc.”
I don’t know about you, but what came to mind as soon as I saw that were three things: a political cartoon, a painting by Goya and the old rancid chestnut about how Jews ritualistically slaughter babies. Coincidence?
Babies, as you can see from this video clip, did seem to be a theme of the demo in London. Why? Well, the Israelis had bombed a UN facility earlier that week where many children and women had taken refuge. But babies die in all wars - many have died under the bombs of Americans, the British, Russians and more in Baghdad, Kabul, Belgrade…. Many have died in suicide bombs all over the world. Children die in war, terrorist attacks. Especially in wars and terrorism these days.
But the protestor dressed up as an Israeli with the baby was obviously drawing on a reference to an award winning cartoon which appeared in the UK Independent in 2003, which was based, in turn, by Goya’s Saturn Devouring his Son.
When the cartoon (click on photo to enlarge) appeared many were horrified. It seemed to draw upon the old myth of what is known as blood libel, a belief, quite common in Europe in less enlightened times, that Jews ritually sacrificed the children of Christians.
In fact, as you see by this (disgusting) video, a few cranks still believe this to be so today.
Whether the fool who dressed up as the Israeli with the child knew about blood libel, or even the cartoon, or the painting by Goya, I have no idea. But the protests against Israeli occupation have become synonymous, for many, with a protest against Jews in general. Starbucks, for instance, has come under attack for being a cappuccino Zionist, seemingly for no other reason that its owner is Jewish and a few weird rumours going around the internet. The boycott Israel types don't like Marks and Spencer, either (Michael Marks was a Jewish refugee from Poland before he moved to the UK to open up the shop with Mr. Spencer. And constantly we hear the comparison of Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto.
So perhaps both the protestor in London and the cartoon in the Independent do delve back into the European dark ages.
And those depictions of Jews with children have a long and ignoble history. For instance, one good example of the prototype for cartoonists and protestors to be inspired by can be found in St Paul’s church in Sandomierz, south Poland. Looks familiar, doesn’t it?
When protestors supporting Palestinians sink to this depth then you can count me out. Not all criticism of Israel is anti semitic, as some claim, but some confuse an Israeli for a Jew, generally, and it is becoming acceptable, in some right on circles, to make anti semitic references. That must stop.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Posted by beatroot at 1/18/2009