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June 11, 2013 12:15 am
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‘Liberal’ Cartoonist Draws Upon Antisemitic Stereotypes in Depicting Henry Kissinger

avatar by Adam Levick

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Here’s a recent photo of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

kissinger

Now, here’s how Kissinger was depicted on June 8th by Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, in a cartoon about the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group in Watford. (The Bilderberg Group is  a policy forum consisting of influential people in business, finance and politics which consistently provides fodder for conspiracy theories due to the relative secrecy of the meetings.)

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Martin Rowson cartoon 8.6.2013

Here’s a closeup.

rowson

A few observations:

  • Though the Bilderberg meeting includes other former political leaders vilified by some due to their involvement in foreign wars, such as Tony Blair for instance, Rowson chose only Kissinger (A German-born Jew) to depict as having blood on his (oversized) hands – inspired, presumably, by his role under President Nixon during the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Despite the antisemitic history of such caricatures – historically, the ‘big hooked nose’ (often in conjunction with a sneering expression) on a Jew is typically meant to suggest his depravity – Rowson chose to include such a stereotypically exaggerated nose among Kissinger’s other grotesque features.
  • Rowson’s history at the Guardian includes cartoons which have employed similar motifs, including such facial features and the gratuitous use of blood to illustrate putatively sadistic Jewish behavior. Here’s one, titled Mindless in Gaza”, of Ariel Sharon from 2001:

GraunSharonSampson.jpg

Additionally, to provide further visual context, here’s a collection of Nazi and Arab antisemitic depictions – focusing on the hooked nose and oversized hands – which CAMERA published during the row over Gerald Scarfe’s ‘Sunday Times’ cartoon.  (Scarfe’s cartoon, which Rowson defended in an essay at the Guardian, is on the top right.)

anti semitic cartoons

Indeed,  if you compare Rowson’s cartoon with the most extreme racist depictions of Jews in the 20th century it isn’t difficult to see the overlapping facial features.  Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Rowson’s Kissinger with the infamous Nazi antisemitic caricature published by Julius Streicher’s Der Sturmer, titled ‘The Poisonous Mushroom’:

mushroom

Whilst we’re not suggesting that Rowson was intentionally evoking such comparisons, the Guardian’s readers’ editor Chris Elliott, in a post responding to criticism over Steve Bell’s Nov. 15 cartoon depicting William Hague and Tony Blair as puppets being controlled by Bibi Netanyahu, wrote the following:

I don’t believe that Bell is an antisemite, nor do I think it was his intention to draw an antisemitic cartoon. However, using the image of a puppeteer when drawing a Jewish politician inevitably echoes past antisemitic usage of such imagery, no matter the intent.

The Holocaust and its causes are still within living memory. While journalists and cartoonists should be free to express an opinion that Netanyahu is opportunistic and manipulative, in my view they should not use the language – including the visual language – of antisemitic stereotypes.

Echoing Elliott, whether or not Martin Rowson had racist intent is not as relevant as the more fundamental point: that a cartoonist for a “liberal” broadsheet should possess the moral decency to strenuously avoid employing visual language which historically represented the major antisemitic motifs in the long and bloody persecution of Jews.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)

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  • john

    I thought his caricature was quite an improvement, actually.

  • NYIronweed

    Look up CARICATURE in the dictionary. It explains it all.

    • Adam Levick

      Look up Julius Streicher, Nazi Propaganda and ‘The Poisonous Mushroom” and get back to me.

  • HaDaR

    You don’t need to be an antisemite to depict Kissinger, “The Butcher of Santiago” as having hands drenched in blood.
    He is, by the way, the Israel hater who first said the infamous phrase to Nixon “Let Israel bleed a little” to justify his staunch opposition to sending even ammunitions to Israel after She was attacked on Yom Kippur 1973 by Egyptians and Syrians, Saudis, Iraqis, Bangladeshis, etc. Not even ONE BULLET arrived from the US for 11 full days, face a 24/7 airlift of Soviet weapons to Damascus… Compare that to a REAL FRIEND OF ISRAEL like Alexander Haig, who took the initiative to send planeloads of supplies from Crete even before receiving the orders… (check: “The Secret War Against The Jews” by John Loftus).
    Kissinger, who BTW is married to a shiksah, is the epitome of the non-Jewish Jew and his hands ARE drenched in blood, ALSO BLOOD OF JEWS IN TSAHA”L’s UNIFORMS.

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      Henry Kissinger is a complicated man who has done both good and bad things during his government service-he however is assuredly not a self-hating or self-denying Jew. What angers me about the above vicious comment is the remark that Kissinger is a non-Jewish Jew because he married a gentile. I am not promoting intermarriage but this is a typical example of orthodox bigotry, intolerance and arrogance-the orthodox would gladly expel from Jewry every Jew in any intermarriage and thereby cut the number of Jews in this world by millions. This HaDar is another example of why most of the orthodox are now reviled by the rest of us.

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      Henry Kissinger is a complicated man who has done both good and bad things during his government service-he however is assuredly not a self-hating or self-denying Jew. What angers me about the above vicious comment is the remark that Kissinger is a non-Jewish Jew because he married a gentile. I am not promoting intermarriage but this is a typical example of orthodox bigotry, intolerance and arrogance-the orthodox would gladly expel from Jewry every Jew in any intermarriage and thereby cut the number of Jews in this world by millions. This HaDar is another example of why most of the orthodox are now reviled by the rest of us.

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