Are These New Comics Anti-Semitic or Just Kinda Harsh?


Eli Valley’s comics are nasty, brutish, smart, searing, and hilarious. His commitment to pillorying “powerful people, organizations, and ideas within the Jewish community” have led fellow Jews to call him a kapo, a Nazi, and even an anti-Semitic provocateur.

But to hear Valley tell it in the trailer for his new book, Diaspora Boy: Comics on Crisis in America and Israel, what really irks him is that he gets called a “miserable, self-hating cretin – but never one with good brushstroke.”

Just published by OR Books, Diaspora Boy is an anthology of Valley’s acerbic comics, spanning ten years of appearances in The Forward, The Nation, The New Republic, Gawker, and elsewhere. The book itself is shield-sized, which is good: big enough to contain Valley’s carefully chaotic lines, and to protect you from the controversy that follows Valley’s commentary on Israel, Diaspora Jewry, the Israeli occupation, Jewish identity, Abe Foxman, Netanyahu, Zionism, and everything in between.

As Peter Beinart warns in his introduction, Valley’s comics convey indignation and scorn, and will make some readers uncomfortable.

Valley writes in one of the many contextualizing essays that accompany certain comics that he is concerned that criticism and free speech in the Jewish community “is shrinking.”

If this is the case, then Diaspora Boy may just change the tide. Check out some sample pages online.


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