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Trouble Painting Cartoonist as Anti-Semitic -updated

 

Widespread condemnation of the New York Times International continues
as people react to the cartoon it published earlier this week.
Some of the disapproval is honest, heartfelt, and personal;
some is just blatantly political using it as an opportunity to blast “the other side.”
The Jerusalem Post and Townhall report on reactions, mostly avoiding the fanatics.

There is a problem with the cartoonist António Moreira Antunes though.

Naturally when this cartoon issue came up reporters and zealots alike started to dig through past cartoons by Antunes to find similar samples of what they consider anti-Semitism. And this is not some young guy just starting a career:

[António] began his professional career as a cartoonist on the Lisbon daily newspaper Republica in 1974, the same year in which he began a regular collaboration with the weekly newspaper, Expresso which continues to publish his cartoons every week.

 

Many were destined to be disappointed.

The Jerusalem Post did some digging. Its report is headlined:
Cartoonist behind ‘NYT’ caricature has history of controversy

Now just what political cartoonist, with a 45 year career, doesn’t have controversy in their past?

But The Post did find an anti-Semitic cartoon and touted it in their sub-head:
António Moreira Antunes drew ire with 1983 award-winning depiction of Israel and Lebanon

That’s right – they had to go back 35 years to find a cartoon that depicted Israel harshly.

According to a JTA report from July 1983, the cartoon depicted “Israeli soldiers tormenting Lebanese women and children” in a depiction reminiscent of a famed photo of Nazis tormenting Jews during the Holocaust.

That cartoon, by the way, “won [António] the top prize at the 20th International Salon of Cartoons in Montreal that year.”

 

They did find a 2006 cartoon some have decided is anti-Semitic:

but that cartoon, it seems to me, is putting the knock on all sides.

 

Oh! And another cartoon from 1993 was critical of the Catholic Church.
Pretty slim pickings for those wanting to caricature the cartoonist as an anti-Semitic activist.
The Jerusalem Post article about the cartoonist who has
a “history of divisive caricatures – including several on Israel.”

 

From António in 2015 after the Charlie Hebdo attack:

“The profession of cartoonist is a profession of risk, we make risks and take risks. There is always fear there, but there is no other option but to defend freedom of expression.”

So far António has not responded to the current controversy.

 

April 29 UPDATE:

“It is a critique of Israeli policy, which has a criminal conduct in Palestine, at the expense of the UN, and not the Jews,” said António Moreira Antunes.

The Daily Caller is reporting that cartoonist António has responded:

“The reading I made is that Benjamin Netanyahu’s politics, whether by the approach of elections or by being protected by Donald Trump, who changed the embassy to Jerusalem by recognizing the city as capital, and which first allowed the annexation of the Golan Heights and after the West Bank and more annexations in the Gaza Strip, which means a burial of the Oslo Accord, it represents an increase in verbal, physical and political violence,” he continued. “It is a blind policy that ignores the interests of the Palestinians. And Donald Trump is a blind man The Star of David [Jewish symbol] is an aid to identify a figure [Netanyahu] that is not very well known in Portugal.”

 

 

Meanwhile cartoonists with opposing viewpoints are countering:


Shay Charka

 

 


A. F. Branco

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Cleo Finch
April/28/2019
@ 1:04 pm

I appreciate that Atunes may have published ” a few” anti Semitic cartoons over his long career, but I have to say the cartoon of “Israeli soldiers tormenting Lebanese women and children” is revolting. I don’t know understand how it won an award: it depicts the Israelis as monstrous and inhuman, uses the imagery of a photo from the Warsaw Ghetto to compare Israelis to the Nazis: a trope that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of Anti Semitism cites as an example of anti Semitism and an example of tropes deeply offensive to Jewish people. I reviewed a collection of cartoons from the Arab media a few years ago called Cartoons of Extremism. One of the chapters explored how political cartoons comparing Israelis to Nazis were widespread. “Israeli soldiers tormenting Lebanese women and children” is hackneyed in its conception. Furthermore, the recent cartoon in the New York Times doesn’t show an Israeli flag on the collar of the Netanyahu figure: it shows a Jewish star. It’s not criticism of Israel or any of Israel’s policies. It’s just hatred towards Jews, as the two examples here are. And hatred towards Muslims, as shown in the bombs strapped to the Muslim’s leg. I’m all for freedom of expression, but these cartoons evoke the crude imagery and hatred of Nazi cartoons.

#2 Ignatz
April/28/2019
@ 8:10 pm

Maybe, but he actually Trump LOOK Jewish, hooked nose and all. As soon as I saw it, I was stunned. Because I seen those caricatures before. It’s the Jewish equivalent of blackface.

#3 Esther Welch
April/29/2019
@ 12:39 am

Regarding the 2006 cartoons, which you think ” is putting the knock on all sides”-
There is a clear, reality-based connection between Islamism and bombings and thus the shedding of blood around the world. But there is no real-world basis to the bloody Star-of-David spur on the US boot. The cartoon veers here into an antisemitic trope of the Jews ruling, or connected in some other nefarious way to the USA, a connection which some how causes bloodshed . This echoes The Protocols, Jews causing wars, Jews and blood… all ugly falsehoods.
Accusing both sides equally only works if there is equivalency in real world. In this case there isn’t.

#4 P.J. Terryberry
April/29/2019
@ 7:33 am

@ignatz

He looked Jewish because he had a hooked nose? Or he looked like a Jewish caricature/stereotype because he had a hooked nose?

#5 DD Dreggs
April/29/2019
@ 11:53 am

Trouble painting him as anti-semitic – because apparently to qualify as a bigot one expression of hate isn’t enough?

#6 D. D. Degg
April/29/2019
@ 2:10 pm

Don’t mind the tongue (letter?)-lashing; but the faux sock-puppet tag puts you in the troll category, making your opinion valueless.

#7 Robbie Michaelson
April/30/2019
@ 5:21 am

Doubt that Antonio Antunes Moreira ever draws anti-Arab or anti-Muslim cartoon – so much for his freedom of expression argument. His drawings are in the classical anti-semitic mode & fit in nicely with those of Der Sturmer. Sorry we Jewish Israelis are no longer weak & defenceless – so hateful anti-semites like Moreira & those editors at the NYT can only attack us with cartoons & ideological verbiage. Our country will be standing long after Mr Moreira & his twisted cartoons burn in the ashcan of history!

#8 Jacob Blues
April/30/2019
@ 9:51 am

To paraphrase the old Forrest Gump quote “anti-Semitism is as anti-Semitism does”.

António Moreira Antunes’ political cartoons repeatedly use anti-Semitic imagery.

The use of Jews into Nazis is a prime example. It not only converts Jews into those who would commit atrocities, but those who have committed genocide against the Jews – for the crime of being Jews. It both removes the history of Jewish suffering at the hands of the Nazis, and replaces them among the world’s worst adherents of racist ideology and perpetrators extremist violence. It is a double-handed slap in the face at the Jewish people.

Antonio’s second cartoon, again highlights anti-Semitic imagery. The accusation of conspiratorial Jews manipulating nations – through violence, for their own evil ends, has been repeated throughout history.

In the second cartoon, we see this with a bloody Star of David attached to a boot with the image of the United States (perhaps Uncle Sam) spreading violence throughout the world at the command / manipulation of the Jews. This is supposed to be equated with the use of suicide bombs by terrorists due to Islam as represented by the bloody crescent moon.

Yet, in 2006, the world had been suffering rounds of suicide bombs driven by Islamic terrorist groups, like al-Queda, who used their religion to promote such attacks around the world. Targets in cities as diverse as New York, Washington DC, London, Madrid, embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi Kenya, and synagogues in Istanbul, and Ghriba, Tunisia, train stations in Mumbai, (Mumbai was later attacked in 2008 when terrorists attacked hotels and a Jewish community center), and hotels in Jakarta and Bali, Indonesia. Meanwhile, Palestinian terrorist groups, including HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, and the PLO’s Tanzim, were blowing up civilians in Jerusalem, Netanya, Tel Aviv, and Haifa.

Now, Antonio’s latest attack on Jews, returns him to Nazi related imagery, the Jew as a dog, and compounds it with the manipulation and dual-loyalty tropes seen in his earlier cartoons.

The idea that because the cartoons that are depicted are few and far between, therefore, the cartoonist cannot be seen as anti-Semitic, is a poor argument. Rather, when making cartoons depicting Jews and Israelis, the cartoonist has always used anti-Semitic imagery.

Further, claiming risk due to his attacks on Jews, is like the boy who cried wolf as there is no history of Jews murdering cartoonists or those who utilize mocking or defaming imagery.

#9 Jerry Engelbach
May/1/2019
@ 12:05 pm

The cartoon is self-explanatory.

But for those who don’t get it, the cartoonist himself explained it above.

It criticizes Netanyahu and Trump. It does not generalize about Jews.

Real anti-semitism exists. It is not embodied in this cartoon.

#10 Cleo Finch
May/2/2019
@ 3:38 am

“The reading I made is that Benjamin Netanyahu’s politics, whether by the approach of elections or by being protected by Donald Trump, who changed the embassy to Jerusalem by recognizing the city as capital, and which first allowed the annexation of the Golan Heights and after the West Bank and more annexations in the Gaza Strip, which means a burial of the Oslo Accord, it represents an increase in verbal, physical and political violence,” he continued. “It is a blind policy that ignores the interests of the Palestinians. And Donald Trump is a blind man The Star of David [Jewish symbol] is an aid to identify a figure [Netanyahu] that is not very well known in Portugal.”

I don’t know what António Antunes is talking about: Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Egypt blockades Gaza and has a wall on its border with Gaza but Antunes’ cartoon doesn’t address that. Netanyahu did say before the election he would be willing to annex the Jewish settlements in the West Bank- not the entire West Bank, which is not part of Israel, and areas of which, like Gaza, are self governing. For a political cartoonist he doesn’t seem to be aware of the political facts.With his many years of experience as a political cartoonist I don’t understand why he didn’t use the flag of Israel to identify Netanyahu, rather than a Jewish star.

#11 Gauthier Andreotti
May/2/2019
@ 8:26 am

D. D. Degg, the 2006 cartoon you post is fine because “it seems to me, is putting the knock on all sides.” So being racist is fine if you are racist with both Muslims and Jews? That a very weird statement.

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