Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff utilizes “Judeophobic stereotypes” in his attacks on Israel
Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff was listed by The Simon Wiesenthal Center as No. 3 in its 2012 Top Ten Antisemitic/Anti-Israel Slurs for “slandering Prime Minister of Israel [Binyamin] Netanyahu. The cartoon shows Netanyahu profiting politically by squeezing votes out of the body of a dead Arab child in Gaza (the attack was carried out within 2 months from the elections in Israel).
According to the Wiesenthal center, during the November 2012 conflict instigated by Hamas against the Jewish state, the Brazilian cartoonist slandered Israel and her Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for doing what every world leader would do against the onslaught of rocket attacks targeting innocent civilians.
Latuff responded mockingly to his inclusion in the list by the Simon Wiesenthal Center by tweeting his “Thanks to Rabbi Marvin Hier and @simonwiesenthal for the award for my toons on #Gaza slaughter.” Latuff attached a cartoon depicting himself being “awarded” a third-place medal by Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Wiesenthal Center.
In the cartoon (shown above) an aggravated Hier presents a beaming Latuff with a medal that says “3rd” as Latuff sits on a chair drawing an airplane indiscriminately bombing Gaza. Hanging above Hier’s right ear are two lightning bolts that Petra Marquardt-Bigman, a historian and blogger for The Jerusalem Post, noted are the symbol of the SS – an elite Nazi unit.
Latuff won second prize in the International Holocaust Cartoon Competition hosted in Iran in 2006 under the auspices of the Iranian regime. Submissions mocked the Holocaust, inverted it, or denied it happened.
Latuff’s award-winning cartoon (see above) shows a man against the backdrop of the Israeli security fence but given the appearance of a Nazi concentration camp. Instead of wearing the Nazi required Star of David for Jews, he is wearing a red patch the shape of an Islamic crescent. Latuff’s entry was described as “Holocaust inversion,” a “motif” of antisemitism, by Manfred Gerstenfeld.
Carlos Latuff is a Brazilian freelance political cartoonist with an impressively large portfolio of work – much of which openly express antisemitic themes. Although Latuff claims to be only anti-Zionist, his cartoons have drawn criticism and allegations of uninhibited utilization of “judeophobic stereotypes.”
Latuff is of Lebanese Christian ancestry; in his own words he said he has “Arab roots.” He claims this Arab background had no relevance to his work and clearly it is his Leftist beliefs that influence his work but many of the antisemitic themes in his work appear to come from the Arab world. Since 1990 he has worked for a Leftist trade union (workers) press, Vapt-Vupt, the journal of the Workers’ Syndicate of the Federal Fluminense University (in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro).
In his antisemitism he joins other Arab Christians in their attacks on Israel such as Mark Glenn of Lebanese Christian descent who created an antisemitic website “the Ugly Truth,” and Mauricio Abu-Ghosh Parham and Daniel J. Jadue of Palestinian Christian descent who are predominant in much of the anti-Israel activity in Chile.
Latuff’s works have been posted mostly by himself on Indymedia websites and private blogs. However, some of them have been picked up and featured in magazines such as the Brazilian edition of Mad, Le Monde Diplomatique, and the The Toronto Star. In addition, a few of his works were published on Arab websites and publications.
Joel Kotek a professor at Belgium’s Free University of Brussels, in his book Cartoons and Extremism: Israel and the Jews in Arab and Western Media (Vallentine Mitchell, 2009) calls Latuff “the contemporary Drumont of the internet.” (Edouard Drumont was the founder of the French Antisemitic League of France and the publisher of La Libre Parole, a magazine that printed numerous classically antisemitic cartoons during the years of the Dreyfus Affair). Latuff is one of the more prolific anti-Semitic cartoonists on the web, with a staggering amount of work dedicated to advancing explicitly antisemitic political imagery.
Themes of Latuff’s cartoons
Zoomorphism describes the attribution of animal forms or symbols to characterize a human being. In a classical antisemitic stereotype, Jews are drawn with horrific physical characteristics. According to Dr. Joel Kotek: “To abuse one’s adversaries, one dehumanizes them by turning them into animals. In Nazi and Soviet caricatures, the Jew is often depicted as a spider or an octopus, perceived as an evil animal.”
Jews, or Israel, may be pictured as savage beasts and its leaders as demons, devils, and vampires. Jews are all drawn with large noses and small eyes. In many cartoons, Israelis are shown with yarmulkes (Kipot), despite the majority not wearing a yarmulke.
Latuff makes frequent use of the Jews as beast theme.
In the above cartoon, Latuff makes fun of the Israeli charge that its citizens have been targeted by rockets fired from Gaza. Yes, rockets are fired from Gaza but they are without explosives – of course, this is not so – while the Israeli reaction is overproportionate. Israelis, however, are shown as being religious though the targeted areas in Israel were primarily non-religious communities, which also had many children not shown in the cartoon.
The bestiality of Israeli leaders reached a high point in Latuff’s drawings of Ariel Sharon, previously Prime Minister of Israel from February 2001 to January 2006. The top two cartoons show Sharon as a devil and as a monster. The bottom two cartoons show Sharon as a pig and as anti-Christ. The bottom two cartoons also show the USA showering money on the war criminal Sharon.
In their 2003 Annual Report, the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism noted that Latuff’s “portrayal of [former] Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is reminiscent of the anti-Semitic caricatures…in Julius Streicher’s [Nazi publication] Der Sturmer.”
The cartoon above represented a commentary on the May 30, 2010 flotilla of six ships incident off the coast of Gaza. It combines both the cartoonist’s frequent claim that Israel has become a Nazi-like state (Note the Jewish Magen David on the Israeli flag is morphed into a swastika) and imagery portraying the Jewish state as a beast, with its tentacles wrapped around the flotilla – which is emblazoned with the word freedom.
Next to the flotilla cartoon, for comparison, is a Nazi antisemitic cartoon from about 1938 in which an octopus with a Star of David over its head encompasses the world with its tentacles.
In the cartoon above drawn a week after Latuff drew Israel as an octopus, he now makes Israel into a shark. The cartoon was based on the interception by Israeli Defence Forces of the1,200 cargo ship Rachel Corrie on June 5, 2010. The ship was purchased by the Free Gaza Movement in Ireland and attempted to break the Gaza blockade. The vessel was brought to Ashdod harbor with none of its passengers harmed.
Associations between Israelis/Jews and Oppressors in other societies
In Latuff’s “We are all Palestinians” cartoon series, various well-known oppressed groups in history and elsewhere in the world now are shown stating “I am Palestinian.” If you are a victim of oppression anywhere, then you are Palestinian as well.
The cartoons include African-Americans after U.S. Civil War, Tibetans under Chinese rule, South-African black people in apartheid days, South-Vietnamese civilians during Vietnam War, Native Americans facing U.S. Cavalry, and Natives from Chiapas facing Mexican troops.
Association of Israel with South African apartheid
Latuff makes use of the evil history of South African apartheid to claim that Israel is resorting to the same method. Apartheid (“the status of being apart”) was a system of racial segregation enforced through legislation by the National Party governments, who were the ruling party from 1948 to 1994, of South Africa, under which the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained.
Apartheid compelled Black South Africans to live in separate places defined by race, prohibited marriage and sexual relations between persons of different races, provided for segregation of municipal grounds creating, among other things, separate beaches, buses, hospitals, schools and universities.
The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is clearly not an apartheid situation. Israeli Arabs are not segregated and have full civil rights. Those Arabs who live in the areas of the Palestinian Authority have established their own State institutions.
These two cartoons above show how Latuff links Israel to South African apartheid.
In the cartoon above, the State of Israel is shown as a park bench that is only for Jews. This, however, is not in any way accurate since 21% of the country’s population is made up of Israeli Arabs and they include 12 members of the Israel parliament and a Supreme Court Justice. Israeli Arabs are also employed in significant proportions as medical staff in every major Israeli hospital, some serve as soldiers in the Israeli army, and they are well represented as members of the Legal and Judicial professions. There are no segregated parks or other public facilities.
The last cartoon drawn in 2002 for the series “We are all Palestinians” shows a scene from the Nazi-era Warsaw Ghetto, where a Jewish boy says “I am Palestinian.” The figure of the devastated Jewish child is transformed into a different one. Now the Palestinians are the ghetto-child whose fate is in the hands of oppressors who clearly intend his extinction.
The cartoon abuses, polemically, sensationally and luridly, the suffering of the Jewish people in the holocaust to cast the Jews as the evil incarnated in the Middle East. The ghetto wardens of today are not the Nazis anymore, but the Israelis.
For the purpose of holocaust reversal, all means seem justifiable to defame the Jews. The “Jews” are the “Germans” of the Middle East, the murderous invaders who attack as well – and foremost – children. Their only goal is the total extermination of the Palestinian people.
This puts an end to any possible dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. No communication is possible between the mutely murderous black wall and the helpless child. The only solution is a demolition of the wall and as the wall stands for Israel = Jewry, when all is said and done, the cartoon stands for the extermination of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.
Latuff repeats the Warsaw ghetto image in 2008 from the infamous photograph of the little boy who is threatened by an SS-man armed with a gun. Hardly any other picture from any ghetto has the same symbolic and emotional impact. This time he makes the cartoon into a closer representation of the original holocaust picture with Israeli soldiers replacing the Nazis and one soldier with a look of pleasure as he terrorizes a Palestinian child.
Latuff again uses the Holocaust as a backdrop for his attack on Jews for this cartoon published on Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2009. He shows a Jew embedded on the wire of a concentration camp with a Palestinian next to him. He makes fun of the slogan that Jews use after the holocaust that they would “never again” allow a holocaust to occur by putting “over again!” below the Palestinian.
In 2010, Latuff again draws a cartoon based on the holocaust by making the Palestinians into the Jews of today. The cartoon shows Palestinians being deported into the Gaza ghetto.
The Blood Libel and Infanticide
Latuff makes frequent use of the blood libel antisemitic theme and particularly involving infanticide. The blood-libel motif originated in the twelfth century in Christian England. It alleges that the Jews have a non-existent Jewish religious law that commands them to kill non-Jews. In today’s Arab world this staple image of unbridled hatred has mutated into the alleged quest for Palestinian blood. The blood libel sees Jews not only as murderers, but murderers who prefer to target children.
In the Latuff cartoon above we see the bloody Jews ready to cut off Palestinian heads. The blood libel also has Jews eating body parts.
The Latuff cartoon at the beginning of this article showed Netanyahu squeezing dead Palestinian babies for ballots. This was not the first time he used this theme as in 2009 he drew a similar cartoon but with former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert cradling a dead Palestinian baby. Latuff suggests Israeli leaders kill Palestinian children because it is popular among the Israeli public and helps Israeli politicians get elected.
The Latuff cartoon above was posted under the title “Gaza Holocaust Has Begun.” While the theme of the cartoon is child murder, the title corresponds to the Israel-as-Nazi theme.
Latuff’s cartoon entitled “Baby Killer Zombies” manages to make the Jews into both baby killers but also into the beastly zombies. Their helmet is inscribed with “born to kill” so as to let us know that Jews are genetically killers. And we have the count of babies killed on the rifle illustrated by infant pacifiers implying that the killing of infants is the objective of the Israeli soldier.
Continuing the infanticide theme, Latuff in this 2012 cartoon shows Israel killing infants in Gaza and Prime Minister Netanyahu stamping terrorist on the bodies in order to justify their killing as being actually a war against terror.
Israel as a Nazi State
Latuff has drawn a large number of images comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. He shares this emblematic set-up of the Israelis = Nazis symbol with many within the Arab world who have used this topos since the foundation of Israel in 1948. It is published regularly in Arab newspapers.
Adam Levick, managing editor of CiF Watch, a blog that combats antisemitism, describes Latuff’s Nazi State cartoons as advancing “the narrative that Israel is a unique and immutable evil in the world. His work includes imagery clearly indicating moral equivalence between Israel and Nazi Germany, which he has explicitly acknowledged to be his view.”
‘Just following orders’ shows Nazi SS members compared to Israeli soldiers described as “born to kill.” Text in the shape of a Nazi swastika says: “Israeli soldiers are just following orders”
The above is a Latuff cartoon comparing the war in Gaza with the genocide of Jews by the Nazis. After what he calls Israeli collective punishment in Gaza, he claims that the next logical step for the Jews is to build gas chambers to exterminate the Palestinians.
In another Latuff cartoon, he makes sure there is no doubt that the Jewish state has morphed into the new Nazi Germany by showing the tracks of the Israeli tank shaped like swastikas. The Israelis are outfitted in Nazi uniforms.
Again we see Israeli soldiers dressed in Nazi uniforms using flame throwers against mosques and with the USA preventing the UN from taking any action against the killings.
Dual Loyalty and conspiratorial notions of Jewish control
Latuff makes use of the antisemitic theme that Jews have secret control of world leaders through their desire for world domination. Jews are said to already control banks, the stock exchange, politicians, and the media
Latuff in the cartoon above claims that the powerful Israel lobby has the power to silence or to discredit anyone criticizing Israel.
In this cartoon, Jewish control over the American government leads to a shift in the blame for Israeli “war crimes” on the presumably innocent [terrorist group] Hamas.
In the cartoon above, Israel is shown controlling Greece. On Friday July 1, 2011, the Greek government announced that it was prohibiting the departure from Greek ports of any ships, Greek or foreign, for Gaza. In the cartoon, Prime-Minister Netanyahu of Israel is shown throwing dog biscuits to reward Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou who was in office from October 6, 2009 to November 11, 2011, for this decision. Greece is presumably succumbing to Israel and its wealthy powerful lobbies.
A campaign is being waged by Latuff against any action that might be taken against the nuclearization of [peace loving] Iran. He sees such military action as being driven by Jewish power to influence US policy by shaping the debate on this issue.
In the cartoon above it is Jewish influence represented by the lobby group AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) that has built a wall with an Israel flag to prevent those from being heard by the US Congress who object to the bombing of Iran.
In the two cartoons above, Latuff is showing Israel’s control over the USA as leading to an attack on Iran.
In the two cartoons above Latuff shows Jewish influence on not just the USA but the entire Western bloc of countries. It is Israel that is planning a nuclear attack on [peaceful] Iran and using the questionable assertion (as Latuff apparently sees it) that the Nazis killed six million Jews as justification to remove the threat to the Jewish State.
Another favorite theme of Latuff is mother Palestine. Mother Palestine is an elderly but defiant grandmotherly woman. She is a sympathetic figure for the Palestinians in contrast to the Israeli Nazis. She is not particularly loveable but defiantly faces down the Nazi Israelis and the lies of their leaders.
In the cartoon above, Mother Palestine takes on the image of a holocaust survivor with a concentration camp number tattooed onto her arm. But the tattoo number is 1948 with blood coming out of it to symbolize the catastrophe (Nakba) that the Palestinians supposedly suffered with the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Here Mother Palestine sits skeptically to hear the proposal of Prime-Minister Netanyahu to have two states for two peoples. And of course in the picture we also have cheering both President Obama and a religious settler with his automatic rifle.
h President Obama and a religious settler with his automatic rifle.
These two cartoons show a militant Mother Palestine who attacks Israeli army vehicles and tramples Israeli tanks. The second cartoon was for the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba (catastrophe) on May 15, 2011.
In this cartoon from 2012, Latuff shows Mother Palestine spanking ‘President’ of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas. He is charged with garnering the support of the United Nations but not from the people of his own nation. In particular, this is an attack on Abbas saying that he personally will not take advantage of the Right of Return of displaced Palestinians. The key in the hand of Mother Palestine is the symbol of the Palestinian demand to reoccupy the present State of Israel.