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Cartoons and Extremism: Israel and the Jews in Arab and Western Media [Paperback]

Joel Kotek
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

17 Nov 2008
The outrage sparked by the Danish cartoon affair the publication of images of the Prophet Muhammad in the European press was a sharp reminder of the potency of the cartoon in the modern media. It is one of the most popular and effective means of communication. By exaggerating and exasperating, cartoons by their very nature lack neutrality, and the cartoon is an important weapon in the Middle Eastern crisis. In response to the Danish cartoon affair, an Iranian newspaper announced a competition for cartoons about the Holocaust, even though it had had nothing to do with Israel or the Jewish people. Antisemitic cartoons have long been rife in the Arab-Muslim media. The September 2001 Durban Conference against Racism, intended to denounce and combat racism in all its forms, also featured the distribution of antisemitic cartoons by an Arab organisation, yet this elicited no reaction from Western NGOs at the conference. This event set the author on a trail that revealed thousands of such drawings. In the name of anti-Zionism, Jews are depicted as sadistic and bloodthirsty monsters, solely interested in money and power. This return to anti-Jewish hatred is of a new order, in line with current trends an Arab-Muslim form unexpectedly metamorphosed from the antisemitism traditionally linked with the Christian West. By reproducing more than 400 of these cartoons, taken from both Arab and Western media, this book denounces the use of hatred in the media and hopes to raise the alarm.

Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vallentine Mitchell & Co Ltd (17 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0853037523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0853037521
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 21 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 927,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Jöel Kotek is professor at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium and the Ecole Superieure de Journalisme of Lille, since February 2003 he has been affiliated with the Centre d Etudes Juives Contemporaines de Paris (Holocaust Museum).

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3.0 out of 5 stars Purchased as a gift 21 Jan 2013
By Jo MP
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The contents and presentation were as described so no surprises there. However the cover was scratched and a little worn which made it look like a used book - a little disappointing as it was purchased as a gift. It didn't look new.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If It Walks Like A Duck... 10 Jun 2011
By L. King - Published on Amazon.com
Cartoons and Extremism exposes the unfortunate parallels between the imagery used by classic anti-semitism and anti-Zionist propaganda. The book starts with a look at iconic motifs in Christian and Nazi polemics such as Jewish ritual murder for the purpose of baking matzah, defiling of the Host, vampirism (the drinking of blood) and cannibalism (especially of children), association of Jews as Christ Killers, forging pacts with Satan or portraying Jews as demons (literal demonization), shown as fat hook-capitalist/communists or behind the scenes spider (or octopus) like puppet masters, controlling banks, governments and the media at will.

The book's cover shows an Israeli soldier with bloody hands about to bayonet a Christ like figure with a checkered kafiyah and the book has numerous drawings evoking the crucifixion - but Kotek points out that this imagery has no historical coin in Islam - in Muslim belief Jesus did not die at all and was never crucified. And Jews have a religous aversion to consuming blood, reflected in the laws of kashrut, which certainly exclude the consuming of human flesh.

In algebra there is a principle that if two representations can be mapped one to the other (homomorphism), then they are really one and the same.
Kotek coins a new word "anti-semyths" to describe these incongruous transpositions.

As a recent example he uses the Iranian response to the infamous Danish cartoons of Mohammed which was to hold a contest of cartoons mocking the Holocaust. Yet there is no rational connection between a group of Danish cartoonists drawing Mohammed and the Holocaust. Similarly there are attempts to make Jewish State a scapegoat for globalization and modernity - for what does Israel have to do with McDonalds and Coca Cola?

Kotek also tackles the moral inversion of incessant comparisons between Israelis, often caricatured with "Jewish" features, and Nazis, which also attempt to equate Palestinians with the Jewish victims of WW II. Objectively there are not the same, either by methods used or by results or by number, and Kotek exposes the inconsistencies by comparison by with other modern conflicts. Yet one of the problems with images as propaganda is that they appeal to a level below logic and reason, and if one begins with a negative opinion the proposition of ever worse traits is likely to be sticky. The Israeli cartoonist Kirshen (DryBones) tackles this at drybones.com/codes.

The book makes a number of good points and shows where the imagery gets uncritically published both in the Arab world and in western sources such as indymedia. It's a worthwhile updating to Peace: The Arabian Caricature of Anti-Semitic Imagery written in 1999 by Arie Stav.

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