The Sunday Times Cartoon is of the Same Mentality That Gave Us the Shoah

January 29, 2013 1:37 am 0 comments

The infamous Sunday Times cartoon.

“If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. ”

― Joseph Goebbels

This week marks 68 years since the Allies’ liberation of the Auschwitz death camp. January 27th is commemorated as Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK.

The central message echoed in school textbooks, history lessons and memorial events is that depraved evil of such magnitude has to be understood, learned from, and never be allowed to re-occur. It is thus commemorated the world over, with the oft repeated sacred mantra of “Never Again.”

Shockingly, the Sunday times chose to commemorate this day by publishing the cartoon (left) dripping with malice and an exercise in lazy peddling of outright lies and libel.

The cartoon draws a completely inaccurate image, depicting a fictitious take on the reality in the West Bank and the purpose of Israel’s security fence. It conveys the implication that the fence is somehow responsible or born out of the deaths of Palestinian children. This is an egregious distortion of the facts and arguably just printed to court controversy, to generate publicity in the cheapest way imaginable, by using the atrocities of the Holocaust as a commercial tool.

For argument’s sake, it is thoroughly indisputable that the level of terrorism emanating from the West Bank dropped significantly as a result of the security fence and checkpoint system: from the Second Intifada, beginning in 2000, until the completion of the first segment of the fence in 2003, there were 73 suicide bombings that killed 293 Israelis and injured over 1,900; but since then, the number of terror deaths whose perpetrators originated from the West Bank has been estimated at around 45.

But all that is way beyond the point at hand.

To resolutely and confidently guarantee that such unchecked exercise of absolute unconditional evil, which facilitated the actions of morally bankrupt nations and allowed for the systemic cold-blooded murder of over six million Jews, requires one to educate oneself, and intimately grasp the root cause which enabled it to occur.

Political theorist Hannah Arendt, in an attempt to come to terms with the horrors of the Holocaust, expounded on her theory of the ‘’Banality of Evil’’ – theorizing that evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths, but by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal. In other words, having a theory or action repeated often enough created an air of normality which side-lined and entirely discounted the moral implications.

This theory is not without criticism but touches on a factor which no doubt played a role in the atrocities of the Holocaust: the role of the media in disseminating propaganda, depicting Jews as conniving monsters hell bent on causing death and destruction; as a subhuman species and a cancer which needed removal. This message was spoon-fed and echoed all around and was demonstrated with the words of Josef Goebbles himself: “It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned, that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”

False imagery and narratives’ effects should not be discounted: over time they have a dramatic effect on channeling public discourse and opinions in a particular direction. Words really do matter. President Morsi of Egypt understands this, as evidenced by the recently released video where he is seen expressing the following sentiment: “Dear brothers, we must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred towards those Zionists and Jews, and all those who support them. They must be nursed on hatred. The hatred must continue.”(10 January 2010)

I will not go so far as to draw parallels to the Der Stürmer but this sort of tacky journalism has tangible long lasting effects. This cartoon is both utter tripe and a great disservice to the greater public, to which The Sunday Times has been tasked with exercising the noble profession of journalism and informing the public of current affairs.

Giving them the benefit of doubt, the Holocaust is apparently a valid form of advertising currency for The Sunday Times. Or perhaps the Sunday Times has a systemic problem with odious policies which flirt with antisemitism.

The cartoon does not reference the Holocaust specifically; rather the cartoon echoes of traditional antisemitic imagery and presents an intensely lopsided representation of the conflict, which is lamentably sliding into mainstream discourse and radically lowering the bar of respectable journalistic behavior and responsibilities.

Shlomie Liberow is the StandwithUs UK Campus Director and student at Goldsmiths, University of London. A former StandwithUs Fellow and JSoc president – he has spent much time gaining an understanding on the nuances of this convoluted conflict including travelling to Geneva in May this past year as an EUJS ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). His articles have appeared in The Commentator, The JC, Ynet and The Times of Israel.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.