A recent article posed in the NYT - In Furor Over Cartoon, Murdoch Apologizes for ‘Grotesque’ Drawing - sheds some light on media politics. As if we needed to be reminded how untouchable Israel (and any critique of its policies) really is…
A British newspaper, The Sunday Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch published some cartoons which acted as a criticism of Israel’s policies in the West Bank. The publication of these cartoons straddled both the Israeli elections and Holocaust memorial day. Immediately the cartoons were pegged as anti-Semitic despite the fact that they were directed at political issues unrelated to vitriolic hate speech about Jews as a people. More interesting is how Zionist politicians attempt to reconstruct an identity that makes one’s Jewishness synonymous with state power or national policies. This restructuring of political memory needs both theological as well as political deconstructing if we are to be able to combat such rhetoric.
The Times article offers us such memorable quotes such as (emphasis mine):
Monday, Mr. Murdoch wrote that the artist who drew the cartoon, Gerald Scarfe, “has never reflected the opinions of The Sunday Times. Nevertheless, we owe major apology for grotesque, offensive cartoon.”
the board said the cartoon “is shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press.”
this one is particularly interesting:
“The paper has long written strongly in defense of Israel and its security concerns, as have I as a columnist,” he said in a statement published by the Press Association news agency. “We are, however, reminded of the sensitivities in this area by the reaction to the cartoon, and I will, of course, bear them very carefully in mind in future.”