Jewish groups ‘appalled’ by Norwegian cartoon
European Jewish Congress considers taking legal action over caricature published in one of Norway’s leading papers, which it says depicts circumcision in bloodthirsty-demonic manner. ADL slams ‘distortion of a core Jewish ritual’
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) is carefully considering the possibility of taking legal action over a cartoon in Dagbladet, one of Norway’s leading papers, which it says depicts circumcision in a bloodthirsty-demonic manner.
“This cartoon has crossed all lines of decency and is dripping with hate and anti-Semitism,” said EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor. “We are now studying the possibility that this legally constitutes incitement to hatred and even a hate crime and will require legal action if this proves to be the case.”
“This obviously falls outside the boundaries of freedom of speech as no one has the freedom to incite hatred against a particular people.”
The cartoon, published on Tuesday, depicts a child being stabbed in the head by a Jewish religious figure with a devil’s pitchfork while some unseen figure is cutting off a toe with a mother carrying what appears to be a religious book dripping in blood.
The woman says to entering policemen, “Mistreating? No, this is tradition, an important part of our belief!” The police say, “Belief? Oh yes, then it is all right.”
Cartoon published in Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper
“This cartoon has ticked off one by one all the major historical anti-Semitic motifs, the type of which incited attacks and even the mass murder of Jews in the past,” Kantor said. “The reason we have laws against hate is because modern society understands the connection between incitement and violence.”
“This is a violent cartoon which is meant to inspire hate and contempt against one particular people. This type of hate, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda, cannot be left unanswered, and it is exactly this type of incitement which is contributing to a very troubling period for minorities in Europe at this time, especially with the rise of the far right.”
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called the cartoon “deeply offensive and appalling.”
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement, “This grotesque cartoon of a bloodied, mutilated baby, suffering at the hands of adults is a deeply offensive and appalling distortion of a core Jewish ritual. The image harkens back to the centuries of anti-Semitic illustrations depicting Jews engaged in ritual ceremonies involving gratuitous and fabricated bloodletting.
“In no way can this sickening cartoon be justified as an acceptable graphic representation in support for the campaign to legislatively restrict ritual circumcision, which unfortunately has gained some traction in Europe.
“We call on the editors of Dagbladet to issue an official apology and for other government and societal leaders in Norway to speak out against this monstrous cartoon and its deeper messages.”
In November 2011, ADL voiced concern to the Dagbladet regarding a cartoon equating the situation in the Gaza Strip with the Holocaust.