Ariel Sharon drinking the blood of Palestinian children (Al-Watan, Qatar, 2002)
What is it with British cartoonists? Steve Bell of the Guardian, Gerald Scarfe of the Sunday Times and Dave Brown of the Independent all seem to have lost their moral compass when it comes to the Middle East, producing work indistinguishable from the blood libels of the Arab press. Steve Bell believes the very opposite of the truth: that Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Has he never heard of the 800, 000 Jews who really were ethnically cleansed from Arab countries? As the Scarfe cartoon scandal rages on, read Melanie Philips' masterful blogpost, Britain's infernal cocktail of hate.
Update: Harry's Place is having an interesting discussion on what Steve Bell does or doesn't understand by ethnic cleansing.
"For Bell, Israel is itself a tyrannical
entity which perpetrated the greatest possible atrocity upon the supposedly
rightful inhabitants of the land, the Palestinians, by driving them out. For
Bell, it is now clear, the outrage is not the behaviour of Netanyahu but the
fact that Israel exists at all.
"But of course, Bell’s belief is the very opposite of
the truth. It was not the Arabs who were ethnically cleansed from Palestine; it
was the Arabs who tried to ethnically cleanse the Jews from there, by
mounting a war of extermination against the re-established Jewish homeland. It
was the Jews, not the Arabs, who were the ethnic group with the overwhelming historical,
moral and legal claim to the land, as the international community had
recognised. And it was Jews – some 800,000 of them -- who really were then
ethnically cleansed from Arab countries and who found refuge in Israel.
"But then Bell does not appear to understand the moral
difference between tyrants and their victims. For he also observed that no-one
had objected to Scarfe’s cartoon the previous week which portrayed Syria’s
President Assad slicing the head off a baby. It is certainly true that Scarfe has
often drawn such images of Assad, such as this
one, or this
one, and regularly depicts tyrants steeped in blood.
"But the crucial point is that Netanyahu is not a
tyrant who murders innocents; Assad is. Netanyahu is defending his
people against mass murder; Assad has been deliberately killing thousands of
his own citizens in order to suppress revolution. Bell’s comparison is morally
obtuse to a quite staggering degree. He appears not to understand the difference
between a crime against humanity and the protection against a crime
Read article in full