The Anti-Defamation League has reported on the Arab world’s reaction to Judge Richard Goldstone’s retraction of key claims of the Goldstone Report, as manifested in editorial cartoons in newspapers of various Arab countries. Google searches reveal that the report has gotten little play outside of Israeli and Jewish outlets. This is unfortunate. The material is very revealing, and not only of Arab attitudes toward Israel and Jews.
The Goldstone Report, published under UN auspices in September 2009, claimed that Israel, in its 2008-09 campaign against Hamas in Gaza, had mounted a deliberate, murderous attack on civilians. In November of that year the ADL noted that the report had become “a cause célèbre in the Arab press,” and offered a survey of laudatory cartoons from Arab papers.
One of them, for instance, appeared in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Watan and is called “Israel and the report of Goldstone.” A repulsive Israeli soldier with a Star of David on his helmet walks in a graveyard of victims, but is forced to see himself in the mirror, one of his two bloody hands holding a paper that says “Reprimand”:
And in this one, called “The finger of guilt” and from a different Al-Watan published in Qatar, a “Jew” is trying to saw his way through a finger that says “Goldstone”:
Nasty as these and the rest in this group are, the new set of cartoons reacting to Goldstone’s retraction is even worse; or as ADL director Abraham Foxman called them, “a series of hideous caricatures, many of them viciously anti-Semitic.” Ironically, they come at the time of an alleged “spring” of democracy in the Arab world; but to say that they do not reflect a democratic mindset — attending to what Goldstone wrote in his retraction, reconsidering former assumptions — is a great understatement.
This one, from Hamas’s organ Filastin in Gaza (April 5), is called “Palestinian condemnation of Goldstone’s retraction,” but it could be called “The Jewish lobby’s got his tongue”:
A hapless Goldstone fingers his now-empty mouth, while behind him lurks the “Jewish lobby” with scissors, having succeeded in rendering him speechless (the tongue is labeled “Goldstone Report”).
In another one, from the United Arab Emirates’ Al-Imarat Al-Yawm (April 5), Goldstone still has his tongue but is using it to erase his report: