July 25, 2009

Another depressing post about everyday Israeli racism

One of the odd things about being critical of Israel is that no matter how critical I think I am, Israel and Zionists always have the capacity to surprise me, to plumb new depths. I’d like to think one day I’ll have the measure of it, but in the meantime it keeps smacking me in the face.

So what’s the latest? It’s these Southpark derived Israeli animations, Ahmed and Salim, racist caricatures of Palestinians as misogynist, stupid, blood-hungry, antisemitic terrorists. I feel a bit wary linking to them, because I don’t remember the site’s policy on linking to racist material, and this is possibly the crudest piece of racism I’ve seen in a long time. Anyway here they are.

A few disjointed remarks.

- These aren’t even funny. I know it’s stupid to point out, like this would make it ok. But I get offensive humour (like Southpark), these aren’t even. It’s just naked hatred

- It seems so banal, like these are images everyone already possesses. Maybe it’s the cartoon format, maybe it’s the fact that the campaign of demonisation against Palestinians is so ingrained both in Israel and here, that I easily ‘got’ all the racist references. How disturbing is that?

- The ugliness of it. The way this cartoon allows these racists to display their misogyny and violence by linking these qualities to Palestinians. It’s the classic twofer of racist practices.

- All these pro-Israelis and Israelis who criticise anti-Jewish racism. And they never mention this stuff. (well the ADL calls it ‘counterproductive’). Do they ever feel ashamed of their hypocrisy?

- It’s only a cartoon. Yet the fact that it is a cartoon, in bright garish colour, simple to understand and transmit somehow makes it worse, makes it more ordinary and insidious.

Maybe it’s not Israel, it’s me being too precious. I originally got this from the Arab-American blog Kabobfest, where the commentator called it for what it was, but didn’t seem particularly surprised at the depths of this Israeli racism.

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