November 26, 2003
A Tale of Two Babies

The British Political Cartoon Society has awarded first prize in its annual competition to Dave Brown of the Independent for this cartoon showing Ariel Sharon eating an Arab baby

So much for the funny papers.

Meanwhile, in the real world today,

A week-old Iraqi infant has arrived in Israel to undergo an operation to correct a congenital heart defect, with the aid of the Israeli organization Save a Child's Heart
Save a Child's Heart has given medical treatment to almost 1,000 children, including more than 300 Palestinians and several Jordanians. Now that Saddam is out of the way, Iraqi children have access to the treatment too.

Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at November 26, 2003 07:02 AM

Don't hold your breath waiting for a favorable story on this via The NEw York Times or CNN. God forbid Ariel Sharon's government in particular or Isreal ingeneral, be shown in a favorable light.

Posted by: Joel on November 26, 2003 06:24 AM

Bravo, Stefan. Great juxtaposition.
I think the Goya monster in the image should be Arafat, on record telling children in a school they should aspire to be shahid....
That cartoon is worse than most of Der Sturmer's antiSemitic imagery. It is a perfect example of the caricature that the middle east conflict has become: one side fighting for its existence, the other for territory and lost "honor," and the self-defense side is called Zionazi. One side allowing potential killers in via checkpoints, the other side lynching, bombing and throwing rocks at visitors, and the other side is called a human rights violator.
The injustice... how well the Arabs have propagandized the Palestinians, who are not welcome in any of those Arab nations.

Posted by: Bleeding Heart Conservative on November 26, 2003 08:44 AM

In the Jpost they mention that European hospitals refused to treat the child.
That should have been in Capital letters on the cartoon for the Cartoon society to pontificate over!

Posted by: Barry on November 26, 2003 10:53 AM

Barry you got a link to that JPost article?

Posted by: Mike on November 26, 2003 04:02 PM

Has anybody resigned in protest from that society yet, I wonder?

Posted by: Mike G on November 26, 2003 06:41 PM

Here's the jpost article:

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on November 26, 2003 07:37 PM

Considering what the Political Cartoon Society has honored in the past as satirical brilliance, we should not be too surprised at the repugnant imbecility of this year's award.

Posted by: Mooner on November 26, 2003 08:42 PM

Y'know, even if the cartoon weren't morally's just stoopid. I mean it's just plain stoopid. It doesn't say anything. It is devoid of wit, point, or substance - utterly vacuous. It has nothing to say except "Jews are hateful monsters." It's merely the crudest propaganda imaginable, and it was astonishing that it was even published in a supposedly reputable paper - and that it was not only published, but won a frigging *award* as the best of the year, is utterly stupefying. The only conclusion one can draw is that it won indeed because it *was* such a crude and excessive piece of anti-Jewish propaganda. So, okay. Now we know where these creeps are coming from.

Posted by: Shrewsbury on November 26, 2003 08:42 PM

I have to say I don't think the cartoon is anti-semitic. I think it's a vicious attack on Sharon, but in the same way a vicious cartoon of Tony Blair is not an attack on English people. An anti-semitic cartoon would play on traditional stereotypes of Jewish people and to me this one doesn't. Rather it's a critism of Sharon's entire political strategy, which has consistently been to rachet up the tension for political gain (obviously Arafat is guilty of the same, but we're on the subject here of Sharon). An interesting profile of Sharon in the New York Review of Books showed that this policy has paid off politicially, but often to the detriment of Israel.
But on the merits of the cartoon, I also have to say I don't think it works. It's a reference to Goya's Saturn, where the father is depicted eating his children in a wild rage, a great painting, but I fail to see the relevance to the middle east situation: is the author saying that the palestinians are the sons of the Israelis? that would be a first for me.

Posted by: Tobias on November 27, 2003 12:24 AM

I would like to add that I simply can't see how such a derivative picture won an award. So if someone now puts Bush's face on the Mona Lisa ina cartoon, does that win next year's award?
I also have to admit that I like Steve Bell's work in the Guardian, and some of his work from last year far surpasses this piece.

Posted by: tobias on November 27, 2003 12:51 AM


Read the Arab newspapers and see how Jews are portrayed as monkeys and pigs as well as sacrificing babys then drinking there blood before you attempt to educate others, ffs.

Posted by: Gary on November 27, 2003 01:00 AM

I've read that CAIR has been heard protesting a "BC" cartoon by Johnny Hart claiming same to be Islamophobic. Something to do with outhouse humor or some such. Will CAIR condemn this cartoon you think? Waiting....still waiting....(sound of crickets chirping)....

Posted by: Mark on November 27, 2003 04:02 AM

The comparison Shark makes is the main thing, but Tobias reminds us that Britain, like the United States, has more than one disgusting cartoonist.

The Guardian's Bell always shows President Bush as a chimpanzee, and never makes a point with that depiction. It is just pure hate. For other world leaders, Bell has different standards. Saddam, for example, he draws as respectfully as the Baathist press did. And, though I don't look at every cartoon of Bell's, I don't think he has done any on the discovery of mass graves in Iraq. That Bell is an acceptable cartoonist at the Guardian shows much about that newspaper.

Coming back to the United States, did you know that the New York Times publishes Ted Rall? Not in print, usually, but he is one of the cartoonists on their web site. That, too, says something about that newspaper.

Posted by: Jim Miller on November 27, 2003 06:04 AM

It has nothing to say except "Jews are hateful monsters."

oh my, oh my... where in the cartoon does it say "jews"... it talks about sharon, the likud party and about politicians... now if all jews want to identify with that, then yes, perhaps it talks about jews...

Posted by: bite_me on November 27, 2003 06:10 AM

For those who claim this is about Sharon only, let me point out that this is portrayed as part of an election campaign for the Likud party and its leader. One assumes that political parties run election campaigns, ads, etc. that will appeal to the voters. In a democracy, criticism of the leaders is also criticism of those who elect the leaders.

Posted by: Dean Douthat on November 27, 2003 06:46 AM

Over-the-top, unbalanced and racist. Or how about Martyn Turner of the Irish Times, another cartoonist of limited talent and unlimited anti-American, anti-Israeli left-wing bigotry.

Posted by: Billy the kid on November 27, 2003 06:52 AM

You know, I was in a record store - listen to this - so I know there's this big tall blond crew-cutted guy and he's looking at me in a funny way and smiling and he's saying, "Yes, we have a sale this week on Wagner." Wagner, Max... Wagner...

Posted by: Alvy Singer on November 27, 2003 07:58 AM

To "Alvy Singer" the bravely anonymous Woody Allen quoting poster:

Everybody understands what you're trying to say: this is antisemitism paranoia.
Something tells me you're probably a college student.
How about posting again with an email, so that those who would like to explain it to you can do so off-board.

Posted by: Sergio on November 27, 2003 09:37 AM

Anyone who makes the argument that this blood-libel "cartoon" isn't anti-Semitic is flipping anti-Semitic by definition.

Posted by: Trent Telenko on November 27, 2003 10:23 AM

Haven't you heard? Attacking France just for being France may be anti-French, and attacking the U.S. just for being the U.S. may be anti-American, but attacking Israel can never be Anti-Semitic. Right?

Posted by: Xrlq on November 27, 2003 10:49 AM

A picture of the Goya painting, and a brief description of the underlying Greek myth is here.

I haven't found the rationale the award was given for. Who says it is supposed to be an Arab baby? The Saturn myth would suggest domestic concerns, and if so then cartoon is tasteless (as all too many political cartoons are afterall) but not anti-semitic.

I don't see any Stars of David on it.

Posted by: Jon Cohen on November 27, 2003 11:26 AM

(Ignoring the star formed by the head, elbows, knees and hip)

Posted by: Jon Cohen on November 27, 2003 11:32 AM

I read it as Mr. Cohen reads it. Who says it's an Arab baby anyway? Why would the cartoonist suggest that Palestinians are Sharon's children? Why would the helicopters be telling the Palestinians to vote for Sharon in an election they don't even take part in?

He seems to be saying that Sharon has replaced the good vibes of the Barak days with chaos and destruction, and then has the gall to ask people for votes even as tanks are rumbling and missiles flying. This is a peculiar way to campaign, says our cartoonist: lay waste to a region and then ask to be liked. Most politicians kiss babies, Sharon destroys them.

You can disagree with this laying of guilt at Sharon's feet (I think it's a pretty dippy sentiment myself, as indeed most liberal sentiments are dippy) but I wouldn't see Judaism entering into it one way or t'other unless I was predisposed to.

But then I didn't see anything anti-Arab in the BC cartoon either, so maybe my antennae aren't keyed up like the rest of you.

Well anyway, enjoy your turkey.

Posted by: Alvy Singer on November 27, 2003 12:14 PM

A frequent catalyst for anti-Jewish riots was the accusation that Jews kill non-Jewish children in order to use their blood for Jewish rites. That's what came to mind when I saw this cartoon. Perhaps the average reader googled Goya to check out the original Greek myth. But I doubt it.

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs on November 28, 2003 12:11 AM

This is simply disgusting and an example of the deep hole of media bias we find ourselves in. I find myself frightened for the world we live in, that this sort of thing can win an award in a group of supposably respectable mainstream individuals. What next, I wonder? I fear the answer.

Posted by: Ari on November 28, 2003 08:30 AM

Frankly I think the cartoon applies to both Sharon and Arafat. Both have behaved terribly and killed innocents. I don't think the cartoon is racist or bigoted. It just fails to portray both the Israeli and Palestinian governments as the murderous regimes they are.

Posted by: Mack Simmons on November 28, 2003 02:20 PM

"Frankly I think the cartoon applies to both Sharon and Arafat..."

The last refuge of the scoundrel is to tar both themselves and their target with the same brush, in the hope of diminishing their target. "Look at me, I'm an asshole too, just like him!"


Posted by: Bane on November 28, 2003 07:03 PM

For those who say that the Sharon-eating-a-baby cartoon isn't racist... suppose there were one with Al Sharpton eating watermelon and fried chicken while Freddie's Fashion Mart burns? Racist or not? After all, it's only about Al Sharpton right?

I would say that they both are. They take a single member of a group and apply to him a traditional racist stereotype. There are many depictions of black people eating chicken and watermelon, going back a hundred years. The stories of Jews eating babies gos back to Roman times.

Posted by: Gabriel Hanna on November 29, 2003 12:49 PM

The Dave Brown cartoon was voted for our members. That's democracy for you. By the way, like me, many of my members are Jewish, except they don't look at Israel through rose-tinted glasses. Those who do didn't vote for it. If you only looked at our website properly you would see all the good we do in fighting extremism. If we are anti-Semitic why did we put on an Exhibition at the London Jewish Cultural Centre last February? or on the great anti- Nazi cartoonist David Low?

Political cartooning is by its very nature unfair. I agree the cartoon sailed to close to the blood libel issue. However I know Dave Brown and it was done in ignorance of this.

Dr Tim Benson

Founder Political Cartoon Society

Posted by: Dr Benson on November 30, 2003 10:04 AM

Ah, so it's okay (award-worthy, in fact) for a cartoonist to "sail close" to antisemitism, as long as the cartoonist is ignorant as well.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: Brendan on November 30, 2003 05:38 PM

Dr. Benson,

While Dave Brown may plead ignorance, the Independant cannot. The editors of the publication had to have approved the cartoon before printing it, and it is their job to know the line between shocking and insulting.
Nor is your Society excused by Mr. Brown's ignorance. It is irrelevent to mention that the Society granted Mr. Brown this award by democratic vote. The Nazi party became the largest and strongest in 1930's Germany through parliamentary election as well.
By awarding such an honor to Mr. Brown, your Society shirks its professional responsibility and insults its own integrity, as much as it offends the moral sensibilities of the rational world.

Posted by: Cara on December 1, 2003 07:22 AM

Is this a Jewish site by any chance? This cartoon is genius and clearly reflects what Sharon has become... For you supporters of his murderous regime, remember Germany about 60 years ago?



Blah blah blah...clear resurgence of anti-semitism...blah blah blah...clearly represents blind hatred of all Jews...blah blah blah...legitimate right to self-defence...blah blah blah...evil filthy diseased Arabs want to destroy Israel...blah blah blah...only democracy in Middle East...blah blah blah...everyone apparently hates Jews for never clearly specified reasons...blah blah blah...remember the Holocaust...blah blah blah... all subsequent acts by Israel totally excusable...blah blah blah...Islamofascists...blah blah blah...ISM are all terrorists...blah blah blah...the IDF has never shot a child ever...blah blah blah...Tom Hurndall was actually Osama bin Laden...blah blah fence is a sensible solution...blah blah blah...Sharon is only final solution to the Arab problem...blah blah blah...


Useful Likudnik Idiot

Posted by: Choja on July 13, 2004 08:02 PM

Hello, I am old hag woman!

Posted by: Joan Bennett on March 3, 2005 06:16 AM

I always thought that cartoons were to be funny. This one is just not funny but pushes the anti-semitic blood libel. So, did bell get the award for nice drawing? my son draws better than that.

Maybe Bell will draw a hilariously funny one about Mohammed or the Pope for next year's award.
I doubt it.

Posted by: Mike on May 10, 2005 05:05 AM
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