Roger L. Simon

Oliphant does us a favor

Ron Radosh points out how much Pat Oliphant’s cartoon in Wednesday’s Washington Post resembles a drawing from the Nazi mouthpiece Der Sturmer.

I was, alas, not shocked. We have already become inured to such casual anti-Semitism in our and, even more, European culture. But it struck me that Oliphant – whose work I usually find humdrum in the extreme – has done us a favor. Deliberately or not, he has dropped the oldest of phony Leftist pretenses – that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same. The poor, diminutive woman and child of Gaza in his cartoon are being eaten alive by a rapacious Jewish star, not by the flag of Israel. It is the religion or ethnic group (you decide), not the state – Jews, not Israelis – performing this supposedly horrific act.

Well, thank you, Oliphant, you racial primitive you. You let the cat out of the bag we always knew was in there. And you did it in the pages of the Washington Post. [Do you blame the Post for that?-ed. Why bother? Papers will do anything to sell these days.]

Of course, I am being more than a bit disingenuous. On even the slightest reflection this whole state of affairs makes me very sad indeed, because reasoning with, even getting through to, the Oliphant’s of the world – reminding them that it was the Israelis who voluntarily left Gaza only to have their towns bombarded month after month, that Gaza is ruled by a regime of religious fanatics who are pathologically misogynistic and homophobic and believe the entire globe should be Islamic, etc., etc. – is hopeless. Oliphant and company are unreachable, permanently reified. It is all depressing beyond words.

Still, the week of April 20 I will be facing a lot of this. I will be heading for Geneva, where I will be covering the Durban II conference for PJTV. Durban I, only a few short months before 9/11, was an orgy of anti-Semitism, sponsored by the UN. This time effort has been put in by the UN organizers to make it not as overt, cleansing the superificial racism from the language while still ratifying the original Durban I document which branded Israel an apartheid state and went on from there.  How’s that for a Catch 2(UN)2?  Thankfully we have Oliphant’s delightful cartoon to remind us of the true intentions: