Arab Cartoonists Turn Gaza Flotilla Affair Into A Cause Célèbre With Hateful Caricatures Of Israelis And Jews

New York, NY, June 4, 2010 … Editorial cartoonists across the Arab and Muslim world have once again turned to using "deeply offensive and hateful caricatures of Israelis and Jews" in their criticism of Israel in the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla affair.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which monitors the Arab press for anti-Semitism and anti-Israel invective and periodically reports on its findings, has issued a new online compliation that shows how in the days since the Israeli naval operation in the Mediterranean Sea to stop the flotilla from reaching Gaza, editorial cartoonists across the Arab world have turned the incident into a cause célèbre, with cartoons punctuated by vicious anti-Israel and anti-Semitic images.

"The hatred for Israel and Jews has been unleashed once again, and some editorial cartoonists in the Arab world are turning the flotilla incident into a cause célèbre and an opportunity to attack the Jewish state and people," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "What we are seeing across the Arab world is an acceptance, even an obsession with deeply offensive and hateful caricatures of Israelis and Jews. The cartoonists are fanning the flames of hatred across the region."

In the days following the flotilla incident, newspapers across the Arab and Muslim world have featured anti-Israel and anti-Semitic themes by depicting Jews and Israelis as blood-thirsty monsters, or as sharks, octopuses and other marine wildlife swallowing up or crushing the flotilla ships.

Several of the cartoons, which appeared in mainstream newspapers in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, compared Israelis to Nazis, or suggested that Jews and Israelis manipulate the United States. Others portray Jews as satanic figures or use religious imagery, such as an Israeli soldier stabbing a humanitarian passenger with a menorah. 

Examples of cartoons highlighted in the report include:

  • A vicious caricature of a stereotypical hook-nosed, black-hatted Jew with tentacles wields a bloody machete and an assault rifle (Al-Watan, Qatar, June 2, 2010).
  • An Israeli flag with a Nazi swastika replacing the Star of David flies over a skull and crossbones (Al-Iqtisadiyya, Saudi Arabia, June 2, 2010).
  • Uncle Sam washes blood from the hands of a knife-wielding Israeli prime minister (Filastin, Gaza/Hamas, June 2, 2010).

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.