Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. Traditionally, and in line with common decency, it is a day to remember the atrocities of the Second World War, particularly the six million Jewish people slaughtered at the hands of Hitler.Honest Reporting released a statement:
For some, however, Holocaust Memorial Day is transfiguring into a day that ‘the Jews’ or ‘Israel’ (for they will use these terms interchangeably), are to be attacked or set up, completely leaving behind the idea that the country came into existence in the wake of the greatest single crime in history.
...[W]ho can blame them when some of the country’s smartest media outlets present Israel and its leaders in this particular light: the large-nosed Jew, hunched over a wall, building with the blood of Palestinians as they writhe in pain within it.
For this is exactly what the Sunday Times has today done; not simply treading the fine line between criticism and blood libel, but indeed spitting all over it, leaving it for dust, and careering head first into anti-Semitismsville.
“Will cementing peace continue?” reads the caption beneath the image of a Quasimodo-like Netanyahu. As if this half-hearted attempt at a pun would help masquerade the overt racism within the image. No.
In conversation with a friend of mine recently, I was asked, “Do you think in 200 years time, people will have forgotten the Holocaust, or believe that it was a myth?” I naively responded, “No. I believe there are enough good people in the world to ensure that doesn’t happen.” At the time, I would never have thought the editors of the Sunday Times were in amongst those who would seek, in true Der Sturmer fashion, to use Holocaust Memorial Day to publish a blood libel, and knowingly undermine the memory of one of the worst genocides ever.
I guess I was wrong on that count. I sure hope I’m not wrong on the other.
Holocaust Memorial Day is an opportunity to remember the most appalling atrocities carried out in modern history. It should also be a day when the media remembers that Israel’s actions to defend its citizens bear no relation whatsoever to the genocidal crimes of the Nazis. On any day, this cartoon’s imagery is an assault on the real victims of genocide, demeans their suffering and insults their memory. The Sunday Times should be mindful that what started as cartoons in the 1930′s ultimately led to violence and unspeakable tragedy. This is a lesson that The Sunday Times has clearly not absorbed.