Anti-Semitic Cartoon Pg Artist Employed Hateful Images

By Woody Ostrow; Jeff Finkelstein | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), August 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

Anti-Semitic Cartoon Pg Artist Employed Hateful Images


Woody Ostrow; Jeff Finkelstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Over the last several days, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has been contacted by countless members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community outraged over Rob Rogers' editorial cartoon of Aug. 7 entitled "Gaza Prison." This outcry extends far beyond the Pittsburgh region to other places where Mr. Rogers' pieces are syndicated.

Rob Rogers' job is to get us all to think about the issues facing our world. This time, he took us to a dark and malevolent past.

Reaction to the cartoon from Jews around the country has included: "astonished," "worse than vicious," "sickened" and a "distortion of reality" that "reinforces anti-Semitic stereotypes." One individual said he was "appalled by this display of anti- Semitism in an American newspaper."

The first issue with the cartoon was the misrepresentation of Gazan Palestinians in a cage.

Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip eight years ago. For some time, Egypt and Israel were allowing cement into Gaza and look at the result: tunnels dug by Hamas, reinforced with cement, built in order to bring in missiles to be fired at civilians in Israel and to conduct operations to kill and kidnap Israelis.

Israel, even throughout Operation Protective Edge, has continued the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Gaza, including food and medicine. What other country at war does that for the enemy?

While questions over Israel's actions are justified, debate cannot be constructive when using Jewish symbols in a way that promotes intolerance.

The second major issue is that the cartoon reminds Jews of the anti-Semitic propaganda that appeared in Nazi Germany.

Powerful and evocative imagery has both a cause and effect. A double standard of condemnation toward one side and silence toward the other when a conflict is seen as black and white creates consequences for Jews - or any targeted group. The same is true when the Prophet Muhammad is invoked to depict messages about radical jihadists that promote Islamophobia.

Using the Star of David, drawing Jews with long noses and using genocidal depictions of rockets overhead do not deliver just criticism of Israel; they pave the way to renewed anti-Semitism by bringing up old tropes associated with new harrowing and hateful images. …

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