You may recall reading about an Israeli humorist's proposed challenge for Jewish cartoonists
to devise the World's Most Anti-Semitic Cartoon -- a clever bit of one-upmanship in answer to an Iranian newspaper's call
for cartoons mocking the Jewish Holocaust
. And the Iranian challenge, for its own part, was meant to be Islam's oooooh-SNAP!
comeback to the Muhammad caricatures published in Denmark. [I'm glad I don't speak Farsi, or I would've been tempted to embarrass Iranian editor Farid Mortazavi by pointing out that most Danes are (at least nominally) Christians, not Jews. Doubtless he would be mortified to learn that his paper had completely misdirected its satirical attack! --Th.M.]
Everyone up to speed now?
I thought the Israeli proposal was pretty hilarious on a conceptual level, but I didn't know that they'd actually gone through with it, until I happened across a flickr slideshow
and a related news story in Forward
featuring the two winning cartoons as well as the 70+ other entries.
Before we get to the official winners, we'll start with a few of my personal favorites from the also-rans. You can comb through the rest in the flickr slideshow, but be warned that there are quite a few artistic clunkers in the mix, along with a surprising number of entries whose creators didn't quite seem to get the point of the contest. HONORABLE MENTIONS
The infamous blood libel
got its due in several of the cartoons, but I thought the one below was the obvious stand-out for its succinctness as well as its artistic polish. [Note: I had to crop it horizontally to avoid downscaling it and thus blurring the priceless facial expressions. -- Th.M.]
While the blood-libel theme, in our time, most often emanates from the Arab/Muslim worlds, some anti-Semitic cliches remain just as popular in contemporary Western circles. In particular, the Western apologists for Palestinian jihad love the sad, head-tilting irony
of "Yesterday's oppressed have become today's oppressers." The next cartoon takes that idea and runs with it:
As I mentioned in the intro, some of the participating cartoonists did not quite get the spirit of the contest -- to me, there's a difference between anti-Semitism that hatefully slanders the character
of Jews, that which trades on common stereotypes
, and that which may simply be irreverent
towards Judaism -- e.g., by depicting a rabbi eating a pork chop . I thought it was clear that the contest sponsors had overt Judenhass
in mind, but this one got a laugh anyway for its over-the-top treatment of a fairly harmless stereotype: THE WINNERS!
The contest judges awarded second place to an Australian cartoon that takes Holocaust denial
to its logical summit, kinda by way of Capricorn One
, the '70s movies about a faked Mars landing. [Among the many entries that didn't get a mention, there was another one that explicitly credited Jews for helping NASA fake the Apollo missions, drawing on their Holocaust-hoax expertise. -- Th.M.]
And now, a drum roll for 24-year-old Aron Katz of Los Angeles, whose cartoon "September 11" won the $600 first-place award. In my opinion, it must've won primarily for the topicality of its slander -- many of the also-rans were just as offensive, and some made me laugh harder. [I did chuckle, but mainly because I immediately recognized that the silhouetted figure was scanned off the Fiddler on the Roof DVD. The fact that the art came from the Topol movie version, and not from a CD of the Zero Mostel Broadway soundtrack, somehow makes it even funnier to me. But heterosexual mileage may vary. --Th.M.] THROBERT'S PALME de ROSE GRAN PRIX FOR SEXCELLENCE
Finally, the one that I probably would've chosen for first place. It doesn't need much introduction, but I'll just point out artist Eli Valley must've watched his share of Japanese hentai
anime. Also, the overt monstrousness of the Jew reminded me less of Arab/Muslim examples, and more of the neo-Nazi/Klan/Christian-Identity style documented in Blood in the Face