Pelavin: “Published during a tenuous cease-fire in Gaza, this cartoon will only add fuel to the proverbial political fire and stroke the flames of anti-Semitism.”
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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2009 – In response to a syndicated cartoon on the conflict in Gaza, drawn by cartoonist Pat Oliphant, that appeared in newspapers across the country this week, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Pat Oliphant’s clearly anti-Semitic cartoon uses Nazi-like imagery to depict the state of Israel as a headless, dark militaristic force set upon a path of destruction. His portrayal of a fanged Star of David chasing down a Gazan woman is both offensive and outlandish, employing a symbol of faith and peace to unfairly depict Israel as both thoughtless and heartless. This deplorable characterization hearkens back to the vicious anti-Semitic propaganda of World Wars I and II. Published during a tenuous cease-fire in Gaza, this cartoon will only add fuel to the proverbial political fire and stroke the flames of anti-Semitism.
Mr. Oliphant clearly has the right to his views, however noxious. But newspapers, and others, are under no obligation to become publishers of such trash. We call upon newspapers worldwide to remove Oliphant’s offensive cartoon from their websites, making a clear statement that anti-Semitism, even in cartoon form, is intolerable.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.