Le quotidien israëlien Haaretz condamne la publication des caricatures, et fait le parallèle avec l'antisémitisme
Haaretz Last update - 09:48 06/02/2006
The Muslim protest
The violence that has accompanied the outbreaks of protest in the Arab and Muslim world against European countries in which caricatures of the prophet Mohammed were published deserves harsh denunciation. The torching of embassies, the commercial boycotts, the kidnappings, the beatings and certainly the calls for murdering the desecrators of Islam must be condemned.
Nevertheless, it is impossible not to understand the feelings of insult among Muslims worldwide, including in the territories and in Israel. The West's preaching of the value of multiculturalism cannot be taken seriously if it does not include both religious and secular people, members of different communities, religious minorities and Muslims and Christians alike. No society can remain apathetic to offensive publications that insult values held sacred by certain groups within it.
The publication of these cartoons was a display of insensitivity - and so was their reprinting by various European media outlets, which sought to express solidarity with those responsible for the initial publication.
The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the first to publish the cartoons - which it did four months ago, and has since apologized - almost certainly did not intend to provoke and inflame Muslims. It is also possible that the Danish prime minister could have prevented the enormous damage that has been caused had he agreed, at the proper moment, to meet with ambassadors of Arab states. The reactions of the Muslim demonstrators, which have been gaining strength, may also reflect the anger in the Arab and Muslim world over the image of the primitive terrorist that - as some of them claim - the West is trying to attach to them.
The publishers argued that they have the right to publish these drawings, in the name of freedom of expression and to protest the self-censorship that Europeans are imposing on themselves with respect to Islam. But even freedom of expression - noble though it is - requires limits. Jewish communities worldwide, and even the official Israeli government, have always been sensitive to, and protested vigorously against, anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish publications throughout the world. In this context, Israel has no right to adopt a discriminatory policy - especially since it is usually in the forefront of those hurt by such publications.
Throughout Europe, there are grave fears of elements within the continent's Muslim minorities that seek to impose their culture and way of life on the nations of Europe in which they live. These fears are based, inter alia, on the persecution of author Salman Rushdie, the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh and the battle in France over the ban on wearing head-coverings in public institutions.
The Arab media, including the Palestinian press, publish an endless stream of cartoons, television series and books whose anti-Jewish character falls little short of the infamous caricatures and publications of the Nazi Der Sturmer. These publications should be unequivocally condemned. But neither European countries' fears of their Muslim minorities, the fear of terrorism by Al-Qaida zealots nor the anti-Jewish publications of the Arab states suffice to justify hurtful assaults on religion.
Haaretz Last update - 18:21 06/02/2006
The New Anti-Semitism, cartoon division
By Bradley Burston
Monday, 6 February (50 days to election day)
One thing that all journalists know is how to hurt people.
The good ones know how to avoid it, and do, refraining from racism, steering clear of character assassinations of private individuals.
The bad ones hurt people inadvertently, through breaches of professional ethics.
The worst, a group which can include some of the best known, do it on purpose. And of these, no one can hurt so many people all at once, as a cartoonist.
In sheer destructive potential, few elements of journalism can hold a candle to the hateful cartoon. The fact that the virulently anti-Semitic caricatures of the Nazi Der Sturmer weekly still circulate on neo-Nazi Websites more than 70 years after they were drawn, testifies to their power and longevity.
Of late, a new breed of anti-Semitic caricature has begun to circulate through Europe, an indication, perhaps, of a new breed of anti-Semitism. But the Semites, in this case, are not Jews.
The message of a number of the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a variety of derogatory caricatures is roughly this: Most Muslims are Arabs, and most Arabs are potential suicide bombers.
The message is obscene. It is racist. It dishonors the bedrock spiritual beliefs of one of every six people on the entire planet. In that sense, it also profanes the right of freedom of speech, distorting it into the freedom to foster hatred.
Correctly, many rabbis have expressed their disgust at the cartoons. "I share the anger of Muslims following this publication," French Chief Rabbi Joseph Sitruk said. "I understand the hostility in the Arab world. One does not achieve anything by humiliating religion. It's a dishonest lack of respect."
Said the chief rabbi of Great Britain, Jonathan Sachs, "The only way to have freedom of speech and freedom from religious hatred is to exercise restraint. The question is: can we learn to respect what others hold holy?"
Still, when it came time to discuss a double standard in press freedoms, there were more than a few Muslim commentators who could not resist the opportunity to stick it to the Jews.
"In the West, one discovers there are different moral ceilings, and all moral parameters and measures are not equal," the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat wrote.
"If the Danish cartoon had been about a Jewish rabbi, it would never have been published."
As the case spiraled from outrage to arson this week, a surreal test case presented itself. The Arab European League, a Dutch-Belgian Islamic political group, posted a cartoon on its Website portraying Anne Frank, the best-known Dutch victim of the Nazi Holocaust, in bed with Adolf Hitler. A second cartoon questioned whether the Holocaust had actually taken place.
Dyab Abou Jahjah, the party's founder and best-known figure, defended the
action on Dutch television, again arguing on the basis of a double standard.
"Europe has its sacred cows, even if they're not religious sacred cows," he said.
This might well be the time to point out that a double standard can cut two ways.
Everyone who lives in the Middle East knows that one reason for the longevity of the hideous Jew-baiting cartoons of Der Sturmer, is the popularity of hideous Jew-baiting cartoons in popular publications in places like Cairo, Damascus, and Gaza City. Some of the same places, that is, where outrage over the Danish cartoons boiled over into violence, torching embassies, and death threats.
True, everyone here teaches hatred. We do. Our Muslim cousins do. But there's a serious lesson for all of us to learn in the cartoon affair. You don't fight fire with arson. You don't redress one newspaper's insult to an entire religion by burning the flag, profaning the symbol, of an entire people. You do not restore honor to Islam and its prophet by demonstrating in Knightsbridge, London, dressed as a suicide bomber, or carrying a banner reading "Butcher those who mock Islam."
It is right and proper to blame the people who are to blame. There is another name for blaming all members of a group for the actions of a few. It is racism. Surely the fact that you are the victim of racism, does not mean that you are immune from practicing it.
I believe that Berlin's Die Welt was wrong and hurtful in re-printing one of the Danish cartoons. But I cannot but agree with the comment that accompanied it.
"We'd take Muslim protests more seriously if they weren't so hypocritical," Die Welt wrote.
"The imams were quiet when Syrian television showed Jewish rabbis as cannibals in a prime-time series."