Another German newspaper faces allegations of anti-Semitism over a nasty cartoon. Once again, Israel is poisoning peace.
Horst Haitzinger’s cartoon was published in Badische Zeitung on the anniversary of Kristallnacht. It features a snail with a dove’s head on the way to Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva. Looking on is Benjamin Netanyahu, who says into a cell phone, “I need pigeon and snail poisons.”
The Jerusalem Post talked to some people in the know, as well as one of the B.Z. editors.
Alex Feuerherdt, a German journalist who has written extensively on media anti-Semitism, told the Post the cartoon shows “that modern anti-Semitism is dressed up as criticism of Israel.”
The Badische cartoon shows traditional anti-Semitic depictions of Jews as “poisoners” or “saboteurs” or a ” danger for world peace.” Feuerherdt says the cartoon ignores Iran’s threat to obliterate Israel through its nuclear weapons program. He added it is “disgusting” that the Badische paper published the illustration on Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom launched by Germans and Nazis to kill Jews and destroy their businesses . . .
Thomas Fricker, a political editor with the Badische, flatly denied the allegations of anti-Semitism. In an email to the Post, Fricker wrote the accusation that the cartoon contains anti-Semitic cliches “seems to me to be unfounded.”
It’s also reminiscent of another German cartoon with a similar Israel’s poisoning the peace dove theme. In that instance, the Stuttgarter Zeitung depicted settlements as deliberately poisoning the peace process. I was hesitant to call it anti-Semitic, but it does play up old, unsettling themes.
And lest we forget, there’s also Süddeutsche Zeitung, which literally demonized Israel as a modern day Moloch.
One cartoon canard is ugly. Two with such similar poisoning themes is possible plagiarism or credible coincidence. But a trifecta of cartoons in respectable German newspapers represents a deeper problem that can’t be ignored.
Which is why it’s important to sign HonestReporting’s petition calling on the international media to adopt US and EU definitions of anti-Semitism and stop the demonization of Israel.
Enough is enough.