Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Cartoonist does study of anti-Semitism in cartoons

Last Tuesday, at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale , Yaakov Kirschen, of Dry Bones fame, presented a PowerPoint-illustrated discussion of his work as Artist in Residence at YIISA, Yale's Interdisciplinary Initiative for the Study of Antisemitism, along with a pitch for the support of Z Street, a new Zionist initiative. Mr. Kirschen posits that anti-Semitism is a behavioral virus—a view also expressed by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in his book Future Tense. But coming from a cartoonist’s angle, Mr. Kirschen was able to collect, as proof, hundreds of anti-Semitic cartoons and classify them as belonging to the Dehumanizing (e.g., Jews as animals), Stereotyping (e.g., Jews as controllers of the media), and Moral Inversion (e.g., Jews/Israel/Israelis as Nazis) families. I strongly recommend that you read his Secret Codes Hidden War. Parental Advisory Warning: Some of the cartoons are quite gruesome, and are not suitable for viewing by young children.

Probably the most startling thing I can remember that Mr. Kirschen said was that the term West Bank is actually a modern term invented by the Jordanian government. Mr. Kirschen stated that, prior to Israel’s War of Independence and the take-over of the western bank of the Jordan by then-Transjordan, the West Bank was actually known by everyone (including the Arabs of the surrounding and nearby nations) as Judea and Samaria. That’s what all the maps show, he stated. How ironic, that any use by Israelis and Diaspora Jews of the name originally used by Jews and non-Jews alike for centuries brands the users as fanatical right-wingers. :(

Related: The New Anti-Semitism--What it is and how to deal with it, by Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.



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