lifted from Dagbladet.no (google translate)
A hellish caricature
Much of the criticism against Dagbladet is justified
Published on 7 June 2013, at. 12:45 by
Posted by: Rune Berglund Steen
Director, Centre against Racism
Dagbladet has received strong criticism for an unusually brutal caricature of circumcision of boys. Much of the criticism is justified.
In their editorial on 3 June Dagbladet stated that the caricature is not directed against the Jews, but against anyone involved in the circumcision of boys. The caricature appears not to include North Americans, so at the most the cartoon directs itself against Jews and Muslims. Particularly the caricatured woman alludes to the Jews.. Caricatures are precisely based on immediate and simple associations, and the pale woman’s skull cap and bead necklace will easily be linked to old notions of Jewish prosperity and bourgeois lifestyle. She is not wearing typical Muslim symbols.
Dagbladet’s editorial judgment here seems to have failed grossly. There is an extensive history of anti-Semitic cartoons of this type which Dagbladet undoubtedly familiar with, not least as a newspaper that prides itself of its reflexive anti-Nazi attitude. More than that: coarse anti-Semitic caricatures of similar type have previously been the building blocks on the road to genocide. One would have expected that Dagbladet was particularly conscious of this. We would also have expected a clearer awareness of the harsh social climate that many Jews in Norway are experiencing, including Jewish schoolchildren.
The problem with highly caricatured, violent drawings like this where Jews – and eventually Muslims – are portrayed as they grossly abuse their children, that they support the negative beliefs that have been potent throughout history. They indicate a form of Jewish evil that unfortunately some people believe in. It even blends into an old tradition of blaming Jews for ritual murder and mutilation of children.
We do not go into the character’s motives here. A decisive feature here is that it is not only the sender, but also the receiver who determine how a drawing should be interpreted. This drawing is both so caricatured and so brutal that it would be reasonable for the recipients to perceive the drawing as hostile toward Jews. In short: An anti-Semite will automatically be pressing this drawing to his chest and use it for their own purposes. It has hard to believe that Dagbladet can be comfortable with this fact.
It follows that we do not share the view that these caricatures somehow prove that Dagbladet is an anti-Semitic newspaper. We believe this view is overshooting the target.
Circumcision should be debated openly and vigorously. It does not mean that you should ignore all other considerations. It is also a further problem when Dagbladet trie to reduce the responses to a question of Jewish “sensitivity”. The drawing is unusually crude, it is both as simple and as serious as that.