Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

November 22, 2012

Steve Bell Accused Of Anti-Semitism Over Israel Cartoon

imageHere's a link to the latest on a story that a Steve Bell cartoon about recent Middle Eastern politics and Israel's relationship with Great Britain has been accused of anti-Semitism from certain advocacy groups. They're in the demand apology/no apology will be forthcoming phase of things.

I imagine -- I'm sort of having a hard time finding a full breakdown of the charge's specifics -- that the puppet-master motif employed by Bell drives these charges. I'm not 100 percent sure. Certainly the idea that Jewish leaders control other political organizations or individuals has been a recurring idea in hate literature.

There are some intriguing ideas about art and culture that get foisted into play if that's where this thing is headed. For instance, I'm not sure how you sort out the use of motifs or visual ideas that have currency as broad ideas but are also specifically unfortunate when employed with certain targets. I guess that's what an editor is for, sure, but I'm not sure when you indict someone for failing to nail down context -- or at least indict them in the same way. Also, there are those that believe that these sorts of accusations frequently stem from criticism of policy, that these are accusations that are making use of such charges to provide weight and heat to a specific objection to criticism of political outcomes rather than being keenly felt as offense. It's a tricky couple of areas even without the immensely complex and emotionally devastating political ideas coming into play.
posted 2:50 pm PST | Permalink

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