February 15, 2013

Jim Denham for Pope!

There's a vacancy coming up at the Vatican on account of the Pope's resignation.  I think I've got just the person.  It's a guy called Jim Denham who blogs at Shiraz Socialist.  He's not much cop at confession but he does do inquisition and absolution.

He has a long history of alleging antisemitism against Israel's critics and has been known to define an antisemite as anyone who doesn't accept Israel's right to exist within the pre-1967 borders.

Since there is no case for Israel the zionist movement tends to promote Israel negatively by smearing its critics as being antisemitic.  The latest targets have been cartoonists, Steve Bell at The Guardian and Gerald Scarfe at Rupert Murdoch's Sunday Times.

Steve Bell depicted Netanyahu holding two glove puppets, Tony Blair and William Hague because their comments on Israel's pre-election attack on Gaza echoed Netanyahu's own excuse for the attack. Many would and did say that this was a perfectly fair comment but Israel advocates said that the cartoon smacked of antisemitic cartoons showing Jews controlling senior politicians.  Round about the same time, Murdoch tweeted a complaint that the "Jewish own press [is] consistently anti-Israel in every crisis".  Thankfully this led to complaints of antisemitism because it was the real thing but it didn't get any complaints from the usual suspects. I don't think, for example, that the ADL got on the case.  And Jim Denham definitely didn't get on the case.  But boy, does Jim have it in for Steve Bell.  This is the strip from a recent Steve Bell series which Jim chose for the Shiraz Socialist post titled:

Steve Bell's If ... 05.02.2013

And here's the text following that:

The issue re-emerged again in January, when an anti-Netanyahu cartoon by Gerald Scarfe appeared in the Sunday Times. Critics claimed that the cartoon evoked the ‘blood libel’ and was all the more unfortunate because it appeared on Holocaust Memorial Day. Scarfe almost immediately apologised for the timing of the cartoon’s publication and Murdoch himself then issued an unreserved apology.
Bell defended the Scarfe cartoon  (and, by implication, his own ‘puppet master’ image) in an intemperate rant on the Radio 4 Today programme. Shiraz covered the matter here.
The present theme of the ‘If’ strip would appear to be Bell’s riposte to those who’ve criticised him. At best it’s petulent and childish. At worst, it suggests someone who feels that antisemitism is a suitable subject for humour.
Let’s bend over backwards to be charitable to Bell, accepting that his original ‘puppet master’ cartoon was not consciously antisemitic (ie that he, as a leading cartoonist, was unaware of the existence of that particular “trope”): even so, can you imagine a good liberal-left Guardianista simply dismissing complaints of racism – let alone mocking them – under any other circumstances? Of course not. The only explanation that makes sense is that Steve Bell thinks that virtually all claims of antisemitism are made in bad faith by people who have a hidden political agenda. In other words, they’re part of a conspiracy.
In the course of his Today programme rant, Bell said this:
“Extraneous notions like blood libel are 
dropped in and sensitivities are talked up .. the very word 
‘antisemitic’ becomes devalued…
“.. they throw it around with such abandon. If there really is 
antisemitism it’s actually getting ignored…”
You have to wonder what exactly Steve Bell would recognise as “real” antisemitism?
With as much as Jim published here it is still difficult to attribute an antisemitic motive or ignorance regarding antisemitism to Steve Bell.  He has clearly referenced it in the statement Jim quotes.  He is saying by falsely alleging antisemitism, the bad faith accusers are giving the real thing a free pass.  Jim asks what Steve would recognise as real antisemitism but if he had published the first cartoon from the recent series he would know that and so would any of his readers who believe him.  Admittedly there can't be many if any of those.  But here's the first cartoon in the series:

Now here Bell clearly references a real case of antisemitism.  The tweet certainly recalls an old antisemitic trope about Jewish control of the media but since Murdoch controls more English language media than anyone else and since he is not Jewish, he can't have meant that.  He simply meant that if some Jews own something then all Jews are responsible for that thing and that the Jews had failed to live up to his expectations of them.  I suppose it would be a bit like me calling a black person an Uncle Tom for voting Conservative.

Anyway, in the cartoon that Jim did reproduce, he has neither Murdoch nor Bibi knowing what antisemitism is, hence, "Aunty Semutic Trope"  In the comments, not an edifying spectacle, Jim stubbornly refused to address the issue of Murdoch's antisemitism though he did say that he thinks Murdoch is scum.  But in the post he clearly supports Murdoch for his apology for Scarfe's cartoon.  Remember?
Scarfe almost immediately apologised for the timing of the cartoon’s publication and Murdoch himself then issued an unreserved apology.
It's interesting that Jim only has Scarfe apologising for the timing of the cartoon and not the content, it was Holocaust Memorial Day, and he doesn't describe Murdoch's apology which fails to mention antisemitism.  He described the cartoon as "grotesque and offensive".  If Jim was really interested in what people think the "real" antisemitism is you'd think he might challenge Scarfe and Murdoch.  But Bell who has made it clear what he thinks antisemitism is gets challenged.  He thinks antisemitism is a joke and he doesn't know what it is anyway, according to Jim.  Note also that Steve Bell's original cartoon could equally be described as "anti-Netanyahu" but Jim is alleging antisemitism here so such specificity won't help his case. When it comes to any similarity to old antisemitic tropes, Netanyahu and glove puppets and Netanyahu using blood for a barrier to peace, there is very little difference between either cartoon.

So Steve Bell gets the inquisition and Gerald Scarfe and Rupert Murdoch gets absolution, oh, and I get excommunicated.

So Jim Denham for Pope.  Communion Shirazes all round!

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