11 June '15..
The shocking thing about Bernard Bouton’s entry in Iran’s antisemitic holocaust cartoon competition, which identifies Palestinians as “victims of a holocaust”, is that we are not shocked by the cartoon. We are not shocked for the simple reason that in recent years we have been flooded with cartoons that bizarrely allege that the Jews are the perpetrators of a holocaust against Palestinian Arabs. “Bizarre” because it belittles the unspeakable realities of the real holocaust; public book burnings, destruction of synagogues, expulsions from schools, boycotts of businesses, civilians rounded up, publically humiliated and transported in cattle cars to death camps, numbers tattooed on arms, prisoners starved, castrated, tortured, and worked to death, gas chambers, babies thrown alive into ovens to save the price of bullets, etc. etc. etc . . . none of which have any parallel in the treatment of Palestinian Arabs. So how is it that these irrational cartoons which promote hatred of Jews and spark violence and murderous attacks on Jews by “True Believers” are being drawn by cartoonists like Bernard Bouton and so many others?
Eric Hoffer in his 20th Century book “The True Believer” examined the mechanisms and tactics of mass movements that sought to conquer and transform his world, movements like Nazism, Fascism, Communism, Socialism, Anarchism, etc. He came to the fascinating and revealing conclusion that “A mass movement can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.” Nazism found its “devil” in “the threat” posed to the world by the Jews. The Nazi party’s full name was the National Socialist party, but who remembers what their ideas and ideals were other than Jew Hatred and racial superiority? Their identity and beliefs were destroyed by their maniacal Jew-hatred. Now, in the 21st Century, we are witness to the rise of another mass movement that seeks to conquer and transform the world. It is called Islamism. And its “Devil”, like that of the Nazis, is “the threat posed to the world by the Jews.” Islam’s identity and beliefs have been destroyed by the maniacal Jew-hatred of the Islamists. “Antisemitism” is a synonym for Jew hatred. It is a word coined in 1879 by a German named Wilhelm Marr.
To understand Bouton’s cartoon it is important to understand that antisemitism is a behavioral and cultural virus that infects society. Like a virus that infects a computer or a virus that infects a person, the main thrust of the virus is to take over and control the host that it infects. Its goal is to spread itself to any host with which it comes in contact. Bouton’s cartoon is, very simply, infected with the virus of Jew hatred. Like someone who has a virus and sneezes to spread the sickness, cartoonist Bouton (and others like him) cannot control the sickness which infects them and compels them to infect others. In the 1930’s the Nazis assembled a limited set of images of viral antisemitism. In a study I made at Yale University’s Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism and Racism (YIISA) and published by Yale University Press, I determined that the Nazi created set of viral images embedded into cartoons could be divided into two viral strains; One strain answered the question of what Jews are (horned devils, spiders, snakes, fanged vampires, rats, etc.) The second strain answered the question of what Jews do (kill babies, drink blood, control the media, own the banks, rule the world, etc.) . These two viral cartoon strains infected readers with the idea that they were likely to be victimized by the powerful demonic Jews.
And like the Nazis before them, the Islamists are successfully using these very same viral cartoon images to spread their anti-Jewish libels and Jew-hatred.
Concentration camp photographs, however, showed the Jews to be non-threatening, weak, pitiful victims themselves, who posed no credible threat to others. This presented a challenge to the spread of antisemitism. Antisemites, in response, began to deny that the Holocaust had ever happened. Holocaust denial failed miserably, but it is in the nature of viruses to develop resistant strains. And so a third holocaust-resistant strain evolved. Its viral images do not deny Nazi atrocities and do not deny the horrors of the Holocaust. This new strain uses cartoons to spread the concept that it is the Jews who are the Nazis, and that the Holocaust is real and being perpetrated by the Jews!!
The use of this new Holocaust cartoon strain is an attempt to incite a potential base of 1.57 billion Moslems (making up over 23% of the world population) to attack a miniscule Jewish population of about 14 million Jews (less than 0.2 percent of the world’s population), and to encourage non-Moslems to accept this Jew hatred as valid, which brings us to examine the sad case of Bernard Bouton, a French cartoonist and the President of the Federation of Cartoonists Organizations (FECO). Less than six months after the three days of Charlie Hebdo terror in France in which Jews in a Parisian supermarket were attacked and killed because they were Jews, in a France which is growingly hostile to Jews, we witness a French cartoonist offering his “Jews are the perpetrators of the Holocaust” cartoon as an entry in the second Iranian “Holocaust cartoon competition.”
A truly sad affair, seeing a French cartoonist collaborating with the enemies of France and of Western Civilization. One would have expected the President of the Federation of Cartoonists Organization to be fighting for the release of Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani who was given a 12 year prison sentence by an Iranian Court for posting a cartoon they didn’t like on her facebook page. One would have expected the President of the Federation of Cartoonists Organization to be fighting against the meteoric rise of Jew hatred in France. One would have expected the President of the Federation of Cartoonists Organization to be fighting against the boycotting of the Jewish State, Its universities and its produce. But clearly, in Bouton’s case those expectations would have been wrong. He cannot heal himself and reject the antisemitic virus that infects his mind and his work. Surrender to the sickness is so much easier than bravery, self-awareness, and resistance.