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May 25, 2018 4:26 pm

The Rotten Onion: When Anti-Israel Parody Crosses the Line

avatar by Simon Plosker

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Palestinians riot on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, May 14, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

The satirical news site The Onion weighed into the Gaza border violence with a parody that crossed the line from humor to offense.

The text in full:

Describing the terrifying yet valiant experience to his fellow battalion members, Israel Defense Forces soldier Yossi Saadon recounted Tuesday his harrowing, heroic war story of killing an 8-month-old Palestinian child during a violent attack against protesters.

“It was a heart-pounding experience — there was smoke and gunfire all around me, and I made a split-second decision to hurl that canister of tear gas at the encroaching infant cradled in  her father’s arms,” said Saadon to the group of awed soldiers, describing the chills that went up and down his spine as he realized that all he had was his M16 assault rifle and some tear gas to defend himself against the unarmed Palestinian family standing only dozens of yards away.

“I could see the whites of the baby’s eyes and hear her terrifying cries, and I knew it was either her or me. And this wasn’t some newborn infant, you know? This was a baby who could probably sit up independently. I was scared, but I acted quickly to throw that tear gas at her and her older sister. And who knows how many lives I saved when I shot the women trying to help her?” At press time, Saadon’s battalion commander informed him that he was submitting his name for the Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honor.

The death of a baby is no laughing matter. Neither is portraying an Israeli soldier as a deliberate baby killer.

Given that plenty of Israel’s enemies are seeking to create just such a reality, The Onion’s item is no longer a parody, but a blatant blood libel that plays to the baying hordes.

As The Times of Israel’s New Media Editor Sarah Tuttle-Singer says:

this kind of “satire” turns the Jewish people into pernicious, blood lusting monsters. It’s a tale as old as time, going back centuries.

And make no mistake: it is one of the nastiest, ugliest faces of antisemitism, and dangerous and evil.

There’s certainly a place for satirical news and freedom of expression — even when it may be offensive. In this case, however, The Onion’s “parody” is beyond the pale.

And it’s not the only example of The Onion taking an obvious and one-sided stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as noticed by Vice.

Please let The Onion know your feelings on this issue by sending your considered comments to publicfeedback@theonion.com

This article was originally published at HonestReporting.

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