Bourdon, Jerome, and Sandrine Boudana. “Controversial Cartoons in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Cries of Outrage and Dialogue of the Deaf.” The International Journal of Press/Politics (early view; online first).
This article analyzes the controversies triggered by sixteen cartoons about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, published in nine western countries between 2001 and 2014. For this, we use E.D. Hirsch’s distinction between the meaning of a text—which refers to the author’s intentions—and its significance—which emphasizes the contexts of production and reception. Critics focused mostly on significance, defenders on meaning. Using this distinction, we first examine the rhetoric of cartoons: stereotypes linked to antisemitism (accusations of deicide and blood libel), use of the Star of David as metonym of Israel, disputed historical analogies (between Israeli policy and Nazism or Apartheid). Second, we analyze four levels of contextual interpretations that have framed the debates: the cartoon as genre, the ethotic arguments about the cartoonist and/or newspaper’s track record, the cartoons’ historical and transnational intertextuality (especially with the Arab press), and the issue of audiences’ sensitivities. We analyze the complex exchanges of arguments that led mostly to a dialogue of the deaf, but also, in some cases, to partial agreement on the offensive character of the cartoons. We conclude that this methodology can be applied to other controversies around popular political texts, which offer similar characteristics.
Political Cartoons and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm
CEREV Exhibition Lab – LB 671.00
1400 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W
Affiliate Assistant Professor
Azrieli Institute of Israel Studies
Despite growing analytical interest and explosive international attention, political cartoons remains on the outskirts of serious academic research. The visceral debate and violent reaction to both the Danish Cartoon controversy and the CharlieHebdo caricatures only underscores the need for cartoon literacy. Using over 1,200 Israeli and Palestinian editorial cartoons published in the weeks preceding the outbreak of the Second Intifada, Dr. Danjoux will examine the cartoon’s relationship with violence and its ability to anticipate outbreak of conflict.
This article considers Israel’s national image both at home and abroad through the framework of Israeli costume dolls, looking specifically at the way that gender played a role in Israel’s national image as it travelled from domestic production to international reception. Initially, predominantly female doll makers produced three main types of Israeli dolls, but over time the religious Eastern European male doll triumphed in the pantheon of national types. Produced for retail sale to non-Hebrew speaking tourists by immigrant woman, the Eastern European religious male doll came to represent Israel abroad while the market pushed representations of the Middle Eastern Jewish woman and the native sabra child to the side-lines. This article examines the shift from the multi-ethnic collection of dolls as representative of the nation’s idea of itself to the privileging of the male Eastern European doll as representative of the normative image of Israel abroad.
In 2006, the Iranian government-aligned newspaper Hamshahri sponsored The International Holocaust Cartoon Contest. The stated aim of the contest was to denounce “Western hypocrisy on freedom of speech,” and to challenge “Western hegemony” in relation to Holocaust knowledge. This government-backed initiative was a clear attempt to export the Iranian regime’s anti-Zionist agenda. Using qualitative thematic analysis and Social Representations Theory, this article provides an in-depth qualitative analysis of the cartoons submitted to the contest in order to identify emerging social representations of Jews and Israel. Three superordinate themes are outlined: (i) “Constructing the ‘Evil Jew’ and ‘Brutal Israel’ as a Universal Threat;” (ii) “Denying the Holocaust and Affirming Palestinian Suffering;” (iii) “Constructing International Subservience to ‘Nazi-Zionist’ Ideology.” Although the organizers of the International Holocaust Cartoon Contest claimed that their aims were anti-Zionist, this article elucidates the overtly anti-Semitic character of the contest and its cartoons. It is argued that the cartoons exhibit a distorted, one-sided version of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of Jewish history, and may therefore shape viewers’ beliefs concerning Jews and Israel in fundamentally negative ways, with negative outcomes for intergroup relations and social harmony.
Early Zionist discourse was ripe with constructions of a new Jewish
identity. Discussing responses to the so-called Uganda plan of 1903–5
and notions of Jewish colonisation in Africa and elsewhere, the article
investigates demarcations of Jewishness from, and identifications with,
‘blackness’ in the early twentieth-century German Zionist press and
literature and their impact on the Zionist imaginary vis-à-vis
the colonial paradigm. Particular attention is given to Max Jungmann’s
‘Briefe aus Neu-Neuland’, published in the satiric journal Schlemiel
between 1903–7. It is argued that with his fictitious account of the
Zionist settlement of East Africa (which historically never happened)
and with the creation of the black African Mbwapwa Jumbo and his
conversion to Judaism Jungmann articulates an intricate and critical
response to colonial aspirations, Jewish or otherwise, and formulates a
scathing but highly perceptive commentary on the convergence of Zionist,
racial, and colonial discourses.