Richard Silverstein Defends Blood Libel Cartoon


Anti-Israel blogger Richard Silverstein continues to find new ways to demonstrate his utter contempt for Israel, as he now defends the horrendous “blood libel” cartoon of the Sunday Times’ Gerald Scarfe, for which even owner Rupert Murdoch apologized.

BibiCartoonRupert Murdoch has opened up a can of worms by attacking the award-winning cartoonist for his flagship Sunday Times, Gerald Scarfe. Murdoch called “grotesque and offensive” a cartoon called “Israeli election: will cementing peace continue?” It depicts a brutish Bibi Netanyahu as bricklayer building the Separation Wall with the blood of Palestinian victims who are entombed within it.
First, let’s set the record straight: the cartoon is grotesque and offensive. But so is the Occupation. I would maintain that despite the jarring, horrific emotions it instills in the reader, it is within the tradition of the great cartoonists from Thomas Nast to Honore Daumier. Revisit some of their cartoons and how they depicted Boss Tweed and the villains of their era. They made them out to be porcine brutes swilling on the blood, sweat and tears of their victims.

Now let’s address the accusation of blood libel made by pro-Israel standard bearers like Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle. The charge is nonsense and based on a total misapprehension of Jewish history. The traditional blood libel involved accusing Jews of drinking the blood of Christians or baking the blood of a child into Passover matzo. This is a classic anti-Semitic trope which had no basis in reality. Rather, it was a fraudulent charge meant to justify baseless hatred of Jews.

Let’s examine the record of Bibi Netanyahu. Have his decisions not caused the gruesome deaths of Palestinians, both young and old? Has he not enthusiastically endorsed building not just the West Bank Wall but a new wall to insulate Israel from African refugees fleeing oppression in their homelands? Is there no validity to Scarfe’s view that the Israeli elections will only ratify this murderous status quo as far as Palestinians are concerned?

So is Scarfe’s image repulsive. Is it deeply troubling? Does it paint Israel and its leader in the most repellant light? Yes it does. Will it cause viewers to hate Israel any more than they might already? Will it provoke acts of anti-Semitism?

These questions are formulated backwards. The real question is will Bibi’s murderous acts not provoke such hatred toward Israel and Jews? It is these which are most offensive. Scarfe is merely doing his job as artist to reflect the horrifying reality of Israeli Occupation.

Israel, if you don’t like what you see in this cartoon you can do something about it. Don’t call the Times of London. Don’t ask for Scarfe’s head on a platter. End the Occupation. End the killing of children as happened in Gaza recently when a Netanyahu-ordered bloodbath killed 180, mostly civilians.

Notice Silverstein’s argument: The fact the cartoon employs similar imagery to the medieval blood libel does not render it a blood libel, since the cartoon reflects reality. Or at least the reality Silverstein and others try to push while ignoring the facts.

Case in point is Silverstein’s last statement above. He claims 180 were killed during the last operation in Gaza, the majority being civilians. This is an absolute lie. As I posted months ago, it was found 178 died, and of the 169 identified, 101 were identified as terrorists and 68 as civilians.

The question is whether or not Silverstein knows the facts but pushes his lies anyway, or his fact-checking is as lazy as his eye.

Based on my past experience with him, the answer seems to be all of the above.

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