With the recent violence in Gaza the world is awash in “Israel as Nazis” cartoons. Often the cartoonist who draws these metaphors is trying to make a statement in a way that would be most offensive to the Israelis or to Jews.  When these cartoons show up on our site, we often get a torrent of mail from readers saying the cartoons are anti-Semitic.  

The Jew as Nazi allegory is probably the most common editorial cartoon that is drawn in the Middle East.   Sometimes Israel/Nazi cartoons make for little media events, as happened when cartoonist Tony Auth drew a cartoon of a Star of David as a fence at a concentration camp.  (That fence cartoon is a frequent Yahtzee that I see drawn over and over by international cartoonists; I received another one this week.)

I just received the “Israel as Nazis” cartoon below from altie cartoonist Mr. Fish, and I asked him for his thoughts (below) …

Mr. Fish's Gaza; Israel running a concentration camp.

 From Mr. Fish:

I wouldn’t necessarily call my cartoon a “Israel as Nazi” cartoon. Drawing Olmert with a swastika on his forehead or soldiers of the IDF as stormtroopers is lazy and inflammatory and too simplistic. I wanted, rather, to point up the irony that a group of people who were famously and tragically slaughtered by a powerful state would, following their torture, be transplanted to a new place and given a state that would ultimately grow powerful and then would commence in slaughtering another group of largely defenseless, malnourished, terrorized and hopeless people. I imagined that the parents and grandparents of those perpetrating the attacks on Gaza, specifically the survivors of the Holocaust, would empathize more with the agony of the Palestinians that the brutality of the Israeli government. It’s like the rape victim becoming the rapist. People, for some reason, won’t even entertain the irony I suggest, assuming instead that the horror of Germany’s treatment of the Jews would somehow make all Jews hypersensitive to that kind of brutality and the last ones to perpetrate such egregious crimes against humanity. Seems that too many people expect not only great lessons to come from well publicized mass slaughter, but lasting ones as well, which history doesn’t bear out. The Armenian holocaust didn’t prevent the Jewish holocaust, nor did the Jewish holocaust teach the lesson to Israel that people should not be forced into ghetto existence and systematically terrorized and ultimately murdered with great technological proficiency. Also, everybody knows about both World Wars – you can’t get any more public than that – and both of those wars ended with a global promise of “never again.” Some promise.

I should also say that I’ve been getting many more notes of praise for my cartoons on what’s happening in Gaza than I did when I criticized Israel for going into Lebanon in 2006. Something about the obvious criminality of Israel’s actions seem to be making those typically apologetic for state-led terror against middle eastern people much less vocal about the buffoonery of their prejudice.

Mr. Fish is a Cagle.com cartoonist, see his cartoon archive here.  I’ll be interested to see the comments on this one.  For more views on both sides of the Gaza conflict, see our cartoon collections: Conflict in Gaza and Gaza Children.