American anti-Palestinian rhetoric sinks to new depths

January 17, 2011
Richard Kuper

StandWithUs comic book portrays activist Palestinians (and allies) as vermin, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda

Cecilie Surasky, Muzzlewatch, 12 January 2011

[And see Roi Maor’s comments on +972 here]

Well, the pictures really speak for themselves.

StandWithUs has a new supremacist celebration of Jewish nationalism and masculinity children’s comic book featuring Captain Israel, who I think we can all agree looks mighty fine in a sparkly silver body suit with matching rhinestone belt and shamelessly appropriated Jewish religious symbols. StandWithUs is on the openly racist end of the mainstream Jewish institutional world. And they’ve given us a new version of an old story – the New Zionist Man (To understand this propaganda in its proper historical context, see below for explanatory text about early Zionism,  Jewish masculinity and Orientalism.)

But it gets better. Perfect, shining Captain Israel needs a diseased, less than human “other” to give him his all-man mojo. Episode 2 will feature Captain Israel’s undoubtedly victorious epic battle against “the venomous” Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions movement. (See image below.)

I wondered what it was about the evil serpent – the colors of the Palestinian flag – that looked so familiar to me?  Where on earth did they get the inspiration to portray the Palestinian and international human rights groups that support the BDS movement as a big, fanged, serpent? As vermin? (And then I remembered I had seen it in different (Genesis inspired) anti-Semitic propaganda about ‘conniving’ Jews, and thought, why not just call them all  “cockroaches” and get it over with? )

A comic book for children, this is really beyond muzzling.  This is about preparing for eradication.

Let’s see how long we have to wait before they get called out by the mainstream Jewish organizations they partner with. Paging Abe Foxman and The Anti-Defamation League. Paging David Harris of the AJC. Paging the Jewish Federations of North America. These people, StandWithUs, call themselves educators. They are educating your children. Our children. As history has shown, and as we Jews know too well, this kind of dehumanization-comparing people to vermin- should never, ever be acceptable.

Anti-Semitic propaganda below:

Left: French Jewish Captain Alan Dreyfus portrayed as a snake, skewered with a dagger saying “traitor”. His case, in which he was wrongly condemned and imprisoned for espionage, inspired then journalist Theodor Herzl to work towards the creation of a Jewish State because he felt it was the only solution to chronic European anti-Semitism.

The poster above?

This vivid poster from the September 1930 Reichstag election summarizes Nazi ideology in a single image. A Nazi sword kills a snake, the blade passing through a red Star of David. The red words coming from the snake are: usury, Versailles, unemployment, war guilt lie, Marxism, Bolshevism, lies and betrayal, inflation, Locarno, Dawes Pact, Young Plan, corruption, Barmat, Kutistker, Sklarek [the last three Jews involved in major financial scandals], prostitution, terror, civil war. Courtesy of Dr. Robert D. Brooks.

And for a little background on early Zionism to give you some tools for appreciating what a throwback  Captain Israel really is. From Raz Yosef of Tel Aviv University’s book, Beyond Flesh:

Zionism was not only a political and ideological program but also a sexual one. The liberation of Jews and creation of a new nation were closely intertwined with a longing for the redemption and normalization of the Jewish male body. That body had to be rescued from anti-Semitic, scientific-medical discourse associating it with disease, madness, degeneracy, sexual perversity, and femininity even with homosexuality. The Zionist movement was intent on transforming the very nature of European Jewish masculinity as it had existed in the diaspora. Zionist/Israeli films expressed this desire through visual and narrative tropes, enforcing the image of the hypermasculine, colonialist-explorer and militaristic nation-builder, an image dependent on the homophobic repudiation of the “feminine” within men.

The creation of a new heterosexual Jewish man was further intertwined with attitudes on the breeding of children, bodily hygiene, racial improvement, and Orientalist perspectives which associated the East, and especially Eastern bodies, with unsanitary practices, plagues, disease, and sexual perversity. By stigmatizing Israels Eastern populations as agents of death and degeneration, Zionism created internal biologized enemies, against whom the Zionist society had to defend itself. In the name of securing the life and reproduction of the new Ashkenazi Jewry, Israeli society discriminated against both its internal enemies, the Palestinians, and its own citizens, the Mizrahim (Oriental Jews).

Left: from Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer.

Captain Israel vs the World

Roi Maor, +972, 15 January 2011

If you thought that Israel is becoming a cartoon, you are not that far off. The good folks at the “pro-Israeli” group Stand With Us have brought us a new superhero comics (for children!) and the name of their protagonist is Captain Israel (Captain Originality was already taken).

Captain Israel is no one-stater. The I in his Israel has been turned into a map of the country, clearly demarcating the green line. If we take this map to be the Captain’s vision of the final settlement to the conflict, we will discover that he goes far beyond former PM Olmert’s “generous” offer to the Palestinians.  The fearless warrior seemingly pooh-poohs even such modest demands as territorial exchanges, faithfully sticking to Israel’s internationally recognized borders. Only his solution for Jerusalem is obscured, quite literally, by a gigantic Star of David, signifying both his patriotism and his embrace, perhaps, of an Israeli-Palestinian confederacy?  Just so that you will not (or will) be confused, I counted at least five such stars in the image (in his name, his shield, his belt, his chest emblem and his flag).

Although the top right corner of the image states that he is approved by the “Kosher Komics Authority” (currently engaged in a bitter feud with the CSA, the Correct Spelling Authority), there are other worrying signs of moderation which impugn the junior officer’s Zionist credentials (in Israel, a senior officer is only a Major and upwards). First, there is the Hebrew letter Shin, adorning his forehead.  While it could be a hint for Shin Bet, it is more likely to be short for Shalom, a word he also uses to conclude the invitation to visit his website. Shalom, as we all know, can also mean peace. Enough said.

Even worse, this “superhero for our times” is said to possess the Strength of Samson and the Wisdom of Solomon. Both of these biblical heroes consorted with foreign women. Could Mr. Israel (as he is known in civilian life) be hanging with shikses? What would the rabbis say? (Answer: they would say, it is OK, he is a man).

If you thought Captain Israel defends our borders from enemy attack, or foils terrorist attacks on innocent civilians, you’ve got another thing coming. No, he is right now on the delegetimization beat, fighting the “venomous” BDS movement, which stands not for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (those, I guess, are sort of OK), but for Bigotry, Divisiveness and Slander. Captain Israel is against bigotry?! I told you he must be dating shikses. That meretznik putz. Where are the real Israeli patriots when you need them?

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