Jewish Groups Say Cartoon Could ‘Stimulate Renewed Violent Attacks Against French Jews’
Two Jewish groups on Friday blasted French cartoonist Plantu after he published a drawing on Facebook which they said may incite further violence against the French Jewish community.
Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director for International Relations, and Sammy Ghozlan, director of the National Bureau for Vigilance Against Antisemitism (BNVCA) in France, criticized “the continual provocations” of the artist, “whose notorious attacks on Orthodox Jews and Israelis have crossed a new threshold.”
Ghozlan said that Plantu “abuses the French constitutional right to freedom of expression” and that “what he calls anti-Zionism has an inevitable stimulus on French antisemitic jihadists to renew violent attacks on French Jews.”
Plantu, a political cartoonist for the French publication Le Monde, posted the image on Sunday. It depicts an Israeli soldier shooting at Palestinian civilians while a bearded stereotypical religious Jew stands behind him saying, “Look! Shoot faster! I am in a rush to move in.” The Jewish figure is holding a suitcase tagged “New Colonies.” Plantu captioned the image, “Israeli settlements.”
Samuels also called on Le Monde‘s Director Jérôme Fenoglio to reconsider the publication’s relationship with the artist and insist he make a public apology for his “offence to the Jewish People.” Failing to do so may result in Le Monde being viewed as co-responsible for any attacks against Jews that are inspired by Plantu’s “provocations,” Samuels continued.
After the infamous massacre in January at the headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo in Paris, Plantu was given a three-man security detail for protection. Samuels argued that the measures were unnecessary, saying, “In light of his constant support of Palestinian delegitimization of Israel, he has bought himself a lifetime insurance against any jihadist attack. ”
The French cartoonist was invited last February to Israel as a speaker at the Holon International Caricaturist Exhibition. Samuels said he was shocked by the invitation in light of Plantu’s “ideological hostility to Israel,” and urged exhibition organizers to blacklist him from future events.
Antisemitic attacks have been a growing trend in France, and Europe as a whole. Following the Charlie Hebdo attack in January, an Islamist gunman seized a Kosher supermarket in Paris and killed four Jewish hostages. Just a few weeks later, a security guard was killed in Copenhagen when a lone gunman opened fire in front of the city’s Great Synagogue.