The “Everything Bagel” Antisemitism Poster

The two anti-Semitic posters in this post were seen on Place de la Bastille in Paris (HT: Israel Matzav)
The two anti-Semitic posters in this post were seen on Place de la Bastille in Paris (HT: Israel Matzav)

A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words.  The pictures used to promote Antisemitism can, and have been on too many occasions, worth a thousand deaths.

My guess is, the general population would view this image and be “anti” whatever it is portraying, but, would fail to analyze the image comprehensively.

Allow me to analyze this most heinous image of Antisemitism, that was printed in France not too long ago, by highlighting themes common in historical Antisemitism.  The goal of such an image, which I call the “Everything Bagel” variety, is that each viewer can identify with at least one aspect about Jews that they will find reprehensible, laying the groundwork for hatred (and potentially worse).

1) The Jew as the “devil”

It is quite visible in this image that tends to lack color, that the right ear, eyes, hands, and lower body are red.  Associating Jews with the devil is centuries old, popularized in Medieval Christian literature, who viewed Jews as killers of Jesus.  This “flavor” targets viewers with a religious identity.

2) The Jew as an “outsider”/”different”

The Jewish man in this image has a black hat, peyos (side locks), and a long beard.  While a certain percentage of the Jewish people do have all of these features, the vast majority do not.  For this reason, portraying the Jew with a hat that’s different, peyos (which only Jews grow), and a long beard, a generalization is made: this is what a Jew looks like, they are “different” and they are “outsiders”, not “one of us”.  This “flavor” targets viewers with a nationalist or cultural identity.

3) The Jew as “Israeli” and “Militant”

This aspect of the image is more subtle, but, if you pay close attention, the green fatigues represent the uniform of an Israeli Defense Forces soldier.  Suffice it to say, less than half of the world’s Jewish population lives outside of Israel.  By portraying the “Jew” as the “Militant Israeli”, the connection is established between Israeli governmental policies and all Jews, regardless of location.  This “flavor” targets viewers with an anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian identity.

4) Jews Exploit the Holocaust

The Jewish man in this image is tilting the scale of justice in favor the side with a single person on it; a death camp inmate.  On the other side of the scale is a representative of the most oppressed peoples in modern history: a Native Indian, an African slave in chains, and what appears to be a bloodied child falling off the back (the rest are unidentifiable).  After World War II, the claim that Jews have exploited their victim-status for their benefit while poo-pooing other oppressed peoples has been constant.  Perhaps the most common claim is that Jews exploited the Holocaust, practically blackmailing the international community into voting for the State of Israel.  This “flavor” targets viewers that either deny the Holocaust or wish not to be burdened with what happened to Jews 70 years ago.  (As I’ve been told on numerous occasions,  “Get over it already”).

5) The Jew as “Bloodthirsty” (the Blood Libel)

The evil grin combined with the sharp yellow-stained teeth are classic examples of Antisemitism, used predominantly in blood-libel images. Blood libels took a few different forms, but the most common was that Jews killed Christian children in order to use their blood to bake matzos (unleavened bread eaten during Passover).  This “flavor” targets viewers that are knowledgeable of history and are aware of the blood libels (but not necessarily the lack of truth to them).

6) The Jews Run the World

This is the most subtle aspect of this anti-Semitic image, because there are no defining characteristics, no props, etc.  In this image, the Jewish man is a giant in comparison to the rest of the characters and props.  He is standing in the background, looking down almost at a chess board that he controls completely.  A quick Google search of “Jews Run the World” will show you just how prevalent this belief is and just how many websites (with tens of thousands of visitors) peddle in this form of Antisemitism.

I hope this analysis has helped you gain a deeper understanding of what you’re looking at when viewing an anti-Semitic image.  Many times I am asked, “Why do you think criticism of Israel is Antisemitism?”  The answer is clear, they are not the same, necessarily.  Breaking down an image like this, almost as one would do with a work of art in a gallery, it is important to understand the colors, the historical contexts, the imagery, the sizes of objects, and much more.

This Day in Antisemitism History – Gen. Eisenhower’s Help to Holocaust Survivors

On Feb. 23, 1947, General Dwight D. Eisenhower began a drive to raise $170M for the survivors of the Holocaust in Europe.

This is a great opportunity to highlight a man who led the US to victory in World War II, and liberated concentration camps.  He was appalled by what he saw in the death camps, and did not believe the local populations that claimed they had no knowledge of what was occurring in the camps.  He thereby ordered local citizens to assist with burying the bodies that were strewn about the camp grounds.

Gen. Eisenhower also ordered all American units in the area to come to the camp to bear witness and ensure that the atrocities of the Holocaust were documented for posterity:

Eisenhower issued an order that American units in the area were to visit the camp. He also issued a call to the press back home. A group of prominent journalists, led by the dean of American publishers, Joseph Pulitzer, came to see the concentration camps. Pulitzer initially had “a suspicious frame of mind,” he wrote. He expected to find that many of “the terrible reports” printed in the United States were “exaggerations and largely propaganda.” But they were understatements, he reported. (The Jewish Virtual Library)

eisenhower

Photo from Dr. Hartnell’s Nutty History

This Day in Antisemitism History

On February 22, 1941, the Nazis placed a general curfew on the Jewish quarter in Amsterdam.

On Saturday, February 22, 1941, a general curfew was placed on the Jewish Quarter in Amsterdam and a hunt for Jewish youth took place. The 389 individuals arrested were transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp and within three months approximately 50 had perished. The 340 that remained were sent to Mauthausen concentration camp. Only one individual who had hidden in the infirmary in Buchenwald survived. 200 additional Jews were arrested in June and others were arrested in September 1941. All those arrested were sent to Mauthausen. (From the Yad Vashem website: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/about/02/western_europe.asp)

In this single incident, 388 of the nearly 2 million children who perished in the were captured.  Each one is has a story, each one is a person.  It is commonplace to assume that since the Holocaust happened 70 years ago that it could not repeat itself.  The Holocaust evolved over a 10 year period, beginning with Antisemitism.  It began with laws that singled out Jews that overtime created a separate legal, social, and economic class; separate from the German population.  When the population of Germany was “comfortable” with these anti-Semitic laws, the Nazi leadership progressed to acts of violence against Jews.  Eventually, this 10-year process culminated in the death of millions of Jews (and millions of other targeted populations).

Another Holocaust will not occur over night, it will begin with acts that target Jews as “different” or “separate”.  We have plenty of modern-day examples.

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Israel Matzav

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David Ha'ivri Personal Website

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Elder Of Ziyon - Israel News

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Antisemitism Education

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