MONTREAL (Jul. 21)
The Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) angrily protested today against an award winning cartoon which it charged “is a defamation of the Holocaust.”
The cartoon, drawn by Antonio Antunes Moreira of Portugal, shows Israeli soldiers tormenting Lebanese women and children. One segment of the cartoon depicts the soldiers pointing their rifles at a child. It was selected as the $5,000 Grand Prize winner at the 20th International Salon of Cartoons here Tuesday.
According to the CJC, the drawing is almost identical with the famous photograph of World War II showing Nazi soldiers pointing weapons at a frightened young boy and other Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Erol Araf, the CJC’s director of communications, said: “The cartoon is a defamation of the Holocaust by misappropriation of one of its central symbols — the boy, who is alive and well in New York City today — for the purposes of political propaganda.”
Bernard Finestone, president of the CJC’s Quebec region, said “Montreal Jews are hurt and saddened by this cartoon.” He observed that “Anyone who would equate the Holocaust with events in the Middle East–even if the allegations of what happened there are proved true — is using a steamshovel to kill a fly.”
The CJC called the cartoon “artistically dishonest, morally obscene and intellectually indecent.” It was defended however by Robert Lapalme, founding director of the annual cartoon contest. “I am very sorry that it hurts the feelings of some Jews — and I say some — because it takes a stand against the war in Lebanon,” Lapalme said.
He added, “If it takes a stand against Israel that does not mean it is anti-Semitic. If I draw something which is against England that doesn’t mean I am against the Anglican Church.” Terry Mosher, a cartoonist of the Montreal Gazette, who was one of the four judges in the contest, accused Jews of oversensitivity. “The most sensitive people in the world right now are Israelis and Jews outside of Israel. I think that’s because many of them are embarrassed by what happened in Lebanon,” Mosher said.