March 29, 2009
By Jeremy Gantz
The latest cartoon by the most widely syndicated political cartoonist in the world has raised the ire of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism.
The ADL’s director called the syndicated cartoon, published Wednesday and reprinted below, “hideously anti-Semitic.”
“Pat Oliphant’s outlandish and offensive use of the Star of David in combination with Nazi-like imagery is hideously anti-Semitic,” Abraham Foxman said in a statement released Wednesday. “It employs Nazi imagery by portraying Israel as a jack-booted, goose-stepping headless apparition. The implication is of an Israeli policy without a head or a heart.”
As of late Wednesday, Oliphant had not responded publicly to the ADL’s criticism of the cartoon.
Israel in late December launched a three-week offensive in Gaza which left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and countless of homes destroyed. The offensive was a retaliation for Palestine rocket attacks on Israeli territory. Rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli military responses have occurred sporadically since the end of the offensive.
On Monday, a United Nations expert called called for a probe to assess if the Israeli forces could differentiate between civilian and military targets in Gaza. A U.S. State Department spokesman called that official’s views “biased.”
Oliphant, who has published 20 books collecting his drawings, is no stranger to controversy, having once said that political correctness “drives me crazy.” His cartoons upset the Asian American Journalists Association in 2001 and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in 2005.
But while Oliphant’s work has made him enemies, it has also won him accolades: He has won the National Cartoonist Society Editorial Cartoon Award, along with a Pulitzer.
Oliphant’s cartoon comes barely one month after a New York Post cartoon depicting a dead chimp triggered protests. Protesters believed the chimp represented President Barack Obama and demanded the newspaper be shut down. Post Publisher Rupert Murdoch later apologized for the cartoon.