The Forward newspaper on Oct. 29 published a Halloween cartoon by Eli Valley that the newspaper said “takes aim at a Zionist science experiment gone hideously wrong.”
The cartoon features Dr. Lowenstein, a scientist in the mold of Dr. Frankenstein who is hired by David Ben Gurion in 1957 to fuse the DNA of Anne Frank and Judah the Maccabee into a serum to “administer to every Jew in the country,” creating “the perfected Jews in our reclaimed homeland.”
Lowenstein’s resulting specimen “shows signs of bellicosity and jingoism,” eventually escaping in 1967 along with the serum, which reaches the water supply and infects “the entire nation.” In August 2012, the “last of the earlier breed” calls out from hiding and holds a sketch of a bomb, saying both “At the red line we will be annihilated” and “At the red line we will annihilate them,” representing a spoof of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent United Nations General Assembly speech on Iran’s nuclear program.
On the Forward’s website, one commenter asked “What happened, did the major Iranian newspapers all turn this down as just too crudely anti-Semitic?” Another online commenter noted how Valley hit “all the usual high points” such as “sinister Jewish conspiracy,” “Zionists as the new Nazis,” “Jews and Israel bringing anti-Semitism upon themselves by exaggerating a nearly non-existent phenomena and seeing it everywhere, for reasons consisting of psychopathology and cynical political advantage.”
Some commenters did consider the cartoon to be “smart and funny” or “incisive.” But Jonathan Tobin, senior online editor for Commentary magazine, wrote that Valley “stepped across the divide between fair comment and political satire into the realm of anti-Semitic invective.”
“This is not just the usual leftist argument about self-destructive right-wingers, but a full-blown attempt to depict Israel as a monster, built on the ashes of the Holocaust but instead replicating its horrors,” he wrote. “This is not just hostility to Zionism masquerading as an attempt to save it from the Zionists, but propaganda illustrated in the language of hate.”