February 05, 2013

Jews against bogus allegations of antisemitism

This is the Gerald Scarfe cartoon saga revisited. Here's a letter published in The Independent from various Jewish signatories, including me, condemning the bogus allegation of antisemitism:

The suggestion by Zionist supporters that Gerald Scarfe's cartoon in The Sunday Times was anti-Semitic is a classic example of the abuse of the term. It drains the term of all meaning and, like the boy who cried wolf, desensitises people to anti-Semitism when it does rear its head.

Jennifer Lipman's grudging defence (Voices, 30 January) of Gerald Scarfe described the cartoon's portrayal of Palestinian blood cementing the Separation Wall as "profoundly offensive" because the intention of the Wall was to prevent suicide bombing. We disagree. Palestinian blood is being shed and the security pretext for the wall was a means of further confiscating Palestinian land. That was why the wall didn't follow the 1967 Green Line.
On 23 January, without warning or excuse, Israeli soldiers killed student Lobna Hannash, 21, outside al-Arroub Agricultural College. On 17 January a boy of 16, Saleh al-Amareen, was shot in the head at a refugee camp in Bethlehem. These are but two examples of why the cartoon was extremely pertinent.
Those who constantly raise the bogus cry of "anti-Semitism" whenever Israel is criticised are trading on the memory of the past oppression of Jews in order to justify the current oppression of the Palestinians.
As Jewish opponents of Zionism and racism we wish to declare that we do not believe that there was a trace of anti-Semitism in Gerald Scarfe's cartoon. Holocaust Memorial Day was indeed a fitting time to signal the evils of racism. As the Prophet Micah said: "They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity." (Micah, 3:10).
Miriam Margolyes
Alexei Sayle
Professor Jonathan Rosenhead
Professor Moshe Machover
Tony Greenstein
Mark Elf
Debbie Fink
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi
Professor Haim Bresheeth
Mike Cushman
Michael Sackin
Abe Hayeem
Rosamine Hayeem
Dave Landy
Roland Rance
Rachel Lever
James Cohen
Seymour Alexander
Tom Suarez
Linda Clair
George Abendstern
Jan Hardy
Beryl Maizels
Riva Joffe
Elizabeth Carola
Frances Rifkin
Peter Cohen
Les Levidow
Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, Brighton
Good stuff. I believe the letter was originally drafted by Tony Greenstein.  Of course, in the interests of balance The Indie also published a whine from a zionist but we don't do balance here.

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