U. Cal Berkeley chancellor condemns antisemitic cartoon attacking Alan Dershowitz in student newspaper. https://t.co/SFocUOZ6Zs— Jeremy Burton (@BurtonJM) October 25, 2017
There's long been a tension in left-wing politics over the Israel-Palestine issue, and elements of the pro-Palestinian movement have often toed the line of outright anti-Semitism. We have complaints of this phenomenon from UC Berkeley this week, in the wake of the campus hosting a speech two weeks ago by big-deal attorney, pundit, and author Alan Dershowitz. The above cartoon was published in the student paper the Daily Cal on October 18, and has brought condemnation from readers, the UC Berkeley chancellor, and Dershowitz himself.
The cartoon comes in response to Dershowitz's October 11 speech, "The Liberal Case for Israel". As far as anti-Semitic caricatures go, I’ve seen worse. But it’s the use of blood, in color when much of the rest of the cartoon is in black and white, that many readers saw as a dog whistle of anti-Zionist, arguably anti-Jewish sentiment.
“Are you aware that its anti-Semitic imagery connects directly to the centuries-old ‘blood libel’ that falsely accused Jews of engaging in ritual murder? I cannot recall anything similar in The Daily Californian,” UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ wrote in a letter to the editor. Berkeley Hillel executive director Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman also wrote a letter to the editor, saying, “To see The Daily Californian’s anti-Semitic cartoon online depicting Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz was a reminder that as a Jew living in our open society, we are still plagued by undertones of historical anti-Semitism. There should be no excuse or rationalization for why this cartoon is ‘simply’ a critique of Israeli policy or the speaker’s opinion. Like any bigoted cartoon, it should be called out.”
And if you can bring yourself to click on revolting right-wing website the Daily Wire, they do have Dershowitz's exclusive response. “My first reaction was surprise that the official student newspaper of a major state university would publish a Dur Sturmer-type cartoon which would have fit comfortably into any Nazi publication,” Dershowitz told the blog.
I can't see the Daily Wire publishing a pro-Muslim cause cartoon, but that’s just me.
“Remember, this is a reaction to a speech in which I said I support a Palestinian state; I support the end of the occupation,” Dershowitz continued. “I am against Israeli policies on settlements. Imagine what the reaction would be if somebody came and gave a more unbalanced [speech], or imagine what the reaction would be if somebody gave an anti-Israel speech, and somebody tried to put a comparable anti-Palestinian cartoon or anti-Muslim cartoon in the newspapers.”
As a footnote, a flyer for the speech was found on campus with a swastika scrawled onto it. Dershowitz said the cartoon is “much worse” since "the swastika was done by, as far as we know, one person,” whereas his caricature was an “official cartoon endorsed by a major student newspaper.”