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February 3, 2020 4:12 pm

Jewish Groups Call for Action Against Portuguese Cartoonist Over Antisemitic Images

avatar by Ben Cohen

Portuguese cartoonist Vasco Gargalo’s antisemitic caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Screenshot.

Two blatantly antisemitic cartoons published recently by one of Portugal’s leading weekly news magazines have sparked condemnation from international Jewish groups.

Vasco Gargalo, a popular Portuguese cartoonist, published the offending images in the weekly magazine Sabado.

Both cartoons featured caricatures of the current prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. In the first image — published on Nov. 15 — a scowling Netanyahu was seen wearing a kippah and sporting a Nazi-style Star of David armband as he pushed a coffin draped with a Palestinian flag into a gas chamber. The words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Makes You Free”) that were originally fixed to the gates of the Auschwitz extermination camp were shown above the gas chamber entrance in the cartoon.

In the second image — published a week later on Nov. 22 — Netanyahu was depicted as an octopus, a creature whose tentacles have long been a favored symbol for antisemitic agitators of supposed Jewish world domination. In Gargalo’s cartoon, the Israeli leader was enclosed by a large Star of David as he gripped large bags of money marked with US dollar signs.

Other crudely anti-Israel cartoons by Gargalo in the last year included one in March that showed Netanyahu in the act of defecating on missiles marked with the Palestinian flag and the name of the terrorist organization Hamas.

A political cartoonist, Gargalo’s caricatures are generally based on the main international news stories of the week. Apparently not fazed by controversy, his recent cartoons have also attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whom he accused of committing genocide, US President Donald Trump and the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

However, Jewish groups have highlighted Gargalo’s reliance on historically antisemitic tropes in his attacks upon Israel. Both the Washington, DC-based B’nai B’rith International and its partner B’nai B’rith Europe took to Twitter on Monday to demand Gargalo’s dismissal.



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