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October 30, 2012 11:38 am

‘Forward’ Cartoon Mocks Zionism Through Anne Frank DNA Experiment

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The Forward's Oct. 29 Halloween cartoon, "The Diary of Doctor Lowenstein." Credit: Screen grab.

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.

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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.”

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  • It is difficult to summarize, but the following post is a response to criticisms of Valley’s ‘Dr. Lowenstein’ generally and in the criticism of him published in Commentary magazine as well.

  • Robert M S Schwartz

    The cartoon succeeds in summarizing the present state of Zionism, as perverted by the ultra-nationalist, ultra-Zionist government of Israel, based on the beliefs of two unlikely twins, Ben Gurion and Ben Zion (N.).

    We don’t need Tehran to know that the Israeli half of the “we” DNA became the common heir of the world’s third empire and second temple.

    • Reply to Robert M.S. Schwartz Comment: “Antisemitism” is just a fancy, late 19th-century word, now commonly used for discrimination and hatred against Judaism, Jews, the Jewish People and Israel. And, there can be absolutely no doubt that all of the above are intimately and inextricably interrelated and intertwined within the optic of modern human-rights methodologies. There, the modern meaning of antisemitism “includes” persistently targeting Jews and/or Israel and persistently applying to Jews and/or Israel a standard that is more exigent than regularly applied to other peoples and countries in the same or similar circumstances. All peoples and countries are owed fairness and sound social science. However, there is a super-added requirement to be fair and offer sound social science to historically victimized populations. So, we understand that there is a need for human-rights regimes to be vigilant lest there be renewed discrimination against Black Americans who are owed both apology and reparation for past wrongs. In the same way, human-rights methodologies enjoin us to be vigilant against discrimination against Judaism, Jews, the Jewish People and Israel. As an historically-victimized entity, the Jewish People is also owed apologies and reparation. And, Judaism, Jews, the Jewish People and Israel are topics to be addressed with some care, including a super-added duty of fairness and sound social science. During the 1960’s antisemitic, Soviet propagandists were the primary source for the discriminatory notion that the Jewish People and Israel are to be judged by a more rigorous standard. Anti-Israel, Soviet propaganda said that Israel should be held to a higher standard, exactly because Jews had suffered so much during the Holocaust. The Soviet line was that Jews more than any others should be aware of what it means for others to suffer because of what the Nazis had done to them. In practical political terms, this Soviet argument is a sure formula for national suicide. The Soviet argument is also a gross violation of the principle of non-discrimination and of the equality rights of Jews, the Jewish People and Israel.