United States House of Representives Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota shared a cartoon on their Instagram accounts that is being described as anti-semitic.
A couple of days into the social media storm that erupted following Israeli government’s decision not to let Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar enter the country, the two Congresswomen circulated a cartoon on their Instagram accounts, in Instagram stories, which disappear after 24 hours.
The image, with the Star of David at its heart, evoked well-worn conspiratorial tropes of Jewish power — in this case personal control by Netanyahu and the Jewish state over the president of the United States and American elected officials. And while some defend this kind of thing as targeting the state of Israel rather than Jews, this sort of conspiracy theory, where Zionist power replaces Jewish power, has been a staple on the left dating back to Soviet times.
Mondoweiss.net reports that Forward Opinion Editor Batya Ungar-Sargon seemingly started the anti-Semitic charges against the cartoon:
Ungar-Sargon wasn’t immediately calling this one an anti-Semitic cartoon, but she was suggesting it through association.
In the thread of tweets that followed, Ungar-Sargon noticed that many were wondering what was wrong with the cartoon itself, in that it seemed to be making a valid political point. She seemed coy about actually calling it that, and seemed to prefer a slow circling of her prey to arrive at the guilt-by-association point:
Jews controlling and subverting world leaders is a classic anti-Semitic trope. So is Jews silencing critics. But no one has silenced the Reps. The ways in which it gets the story wrong fits into an aesthetic designed to give anti-Semites pleasure.
Carlos Latuff, whose cartoon is at the center of this part of the controversy, was contacted by Newsweek:
Latuff has created many cartoons throughout his career about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which he’s been very critical of Israel. But any suggestions that his pieces have denied the Holocaust or are anti-Semitic, he said, are not true.
“These allegations are vile, dishonest and come always from the same source: supporters of inhumane treatment given by Israel to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories,” Latuff continued. “Anti-Semitism has been used by president Donald Trump in an attempt to silence Rep. Tlaib and Rep. Omar due their views on Israel-Palestine, nothing to do with hatred against the Jewish. It’s a well-known strategy of censorship and blackmail.”
Defending their positions, both sides are digging through the archives of Carlos Latuff.
Isreallycool is showing Latuff cartoons showing his antisemitism.
While Carlos and his defenders are showing he’s not antisemitic.