Cartoonish politics

Cartoonish politics

Many of the political cartoons emanating from the Arab world since Richard Goldstone disavowed the key conclusion of his 2009 United Nations report, that Israel possibly committed crimes against humanity during the 2009 Gaza war, are anything but funny.
The cartoons, which can be viewed at the Anti-Defamation League’s web-site, are hideously anti-Semitic. Some make use of the infamous hooknose caricature common in Nazi publications prior to World War II.
And where Goldstone was seen as some truth-telling hero when his report first came out, now he is painted as a villain. In one cartoon, he is seen driving a sword through an Arab woman holding the scales of justice.
Another shows Goldstone being bribed with “gold” by an Israeli solider — hard to believe even if you are not pro-Israel, since Goldstone has already denied that he will ask the United Nations to quash his report.
And there is blood: you can’t have an anti-Israel cartoon without showing lots of blood.
Sadly, the cartoons demonstrate how deep seated hatred for Jews in general, and Israel in particular, is in the Arab media. And when we say the Arab media, we mean the Arab leadership.
It’s hard to make peace when one side in the process continually uses its media to demonize the other side. Yes, some of the papers where the cartoons appeared are in the Palestinian territories and neighboring Jordan, which has a significant Palestinian population.
But most are from countries on the Arabian Peninsula — Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — countries that make no pretense about democracy and feed their people a steady dose of anti-Semitism to distract them from the authoritarianism that controls their lives. Want to hate someone? Hate the Jews — not the ruling families growing fat off their nations’ oil and financial wealth.
It would be one thing if we were talking about a free media here, but to describe the Arab media as free and uncontrolled by their government would be like predicting the Pirates to win the National League Central Division this year. It’s just not realistic.
Real peace is not possible unless both sides in the peace process are prepared for peace. That can’t happen when gross images such as these are published, and as long as they are, the key question the world should ask is not how prepared Israel is for peace, but how prepared the Arab world is.