Instapundit links to Al Giordano, who is peeved because NY Indymedia censored a cartoon by his friend Latuff. Perhaps the Indymedia people are too sensitive to accusations of anti-Semitism against Latuff?
Latuff’s cartoon is here.
Is it anti-Semitic? It’s not very good, partly because I can’t figure out precisely what the cartoonist was trying to say, but mainly because of its mean-spirited use of tragedy to make a heavy handed political point at the expense of the victims. But taken by itself it doesn’t seem anti-Jewish. And why should I care if Indymedia, to which I rarely pay attention, is or isn’t consistent in following its stated posting policy?
But it gets more interesting when Giordano interviews Latuff:
Bigleftoutside: Let’s talk about the controversial cartoon. I can’t for the life of me figure out what is supposedly anti-Semitic about this cartoon. Seems to me that this cartoon speaks an undeniable reality: that the buses inside the Israeli-occupied zones often result to be coffins, as a result of bombings. To me, that cartoon is as accurate as a news photo, in some ways more accurate. There’s nothing in the cartoon that cheers the idea of bombings. It simply addresses their root cause: the occupation of Palestinian lands. It’s a cartoon that makes me think. I presume it therefore makes others think. And that is always good, in my book. Has anybody offered a coherent argument as to why that cartoon is somehow not publishable at NYC Indymedia?
Latuff: Not ’til now. I tried to express in this cartoon that due occupation of Palestinian territories, the security wall, the settlements and shit, to take a bus in IsraHell can be deadly. That’s all. But you know, my slanderers will always try to find a reason for bashing me. If I make a cartoon with a baker putting breads in an oven, people will call me anti-Semitic because Jews were thrown into ovens and such. Everything can be a good excuse.
Most of the bombings have been on buses inside Israel proper, so what does Giordano mean by “Israeli-occupied zones” — does he consider downtown Jerusalem an “Israeli-occupied zone”? Is Tel Aviv “Palestinian land”? If so, why should we treat him as a reasonable journalist rather than dismiss him as an Arab propagandist? Or is he merely being sloppy — in which case we should probably regard skeptically the rest of his argument about the fine points of cartoon interpretation.
And the cartoonist himself, for someone who is sensitive to being “bashed” by “slanderers,” is oddly insensitive to his slanderous use of the term “IsraHell.” If he had used a parallel term — such as (to paraphrase Diane) “Paleostine” — to characterize the Palestinian Authority, I would conclude that he was just another moral-equivalence idiot who gets off by carping at both sides. But he doesn’t, he singles out Israel for this treatment. (Elsewhere in the interview he uses the term “IsraHell/Palestine issues.” He treats Palestine, which isn’t a current political entity, respectfully, but makes a point of not using the State of Israel’s name.)
So maybe Al and his pal Latuff aren’t anti-Semites in the classical sense, but what do you make of someone who casually implies that Israel’s capital city is an “Israeli-occupied zone”? And what can you call a person who won’t use the word “Israel” without distorting it in an ugly way, as anti-American leftists once used the term “Amerika”? Classical anti-Semites have a double standard for Jews as individuals, denying them legitimacy. Modern anti-Semites are more likely to deny the legitimacy of the Jewish state.
I may be misreading Giordano. He could be using language sloppily in attempting to support his friend. But he is a professional journalist and should know better. Latuff seems to fit my definition of a modern anti-Semite. And his quickness to adopt a defensive stance against accusations of anti-Jewish bias suggests either that his accusers are correct or that he enjoys baiting them, which is almost the same thing.
UPDATE: Al Giordano replies in the comments.