European Jewish Congress Considering Legal Action Against ‘Anti-Semitic’ Norwegian Cartoon

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The leading Norwegian newspaper ‘Dagbladet’ has published a cartoon on circumcision which has been criticized by many in the Jewish world as “anti-Semitic”. The caricature depicts what what looks like Jews torturing a baby during a circumcision.

The cartoon appeared Tuesday in Dagbladet – the country’s third largest paper in terms of circulation and shows police officers looking on as a bearded man wearing a black hat and black coat sticks a three-tooth pitchfork into the head of a blood-soaked baby while holding a book. Another unseen person cuts off the baby’s foot with a bolt cutter as a woman in a long-sleeve shirt and a hat shows the officers another blood-spattered book and tells them: “Abuse? No, this tradition is central to our belief.” The police officers apologize “for interrupting.”

Manfred Gerstenfeld, a scholar of anti-Semitism, said the caricature “cannot be viewed separately from centuries of libels in Christian circles that try to establish a link between the ritual abuse of blood and the Jewish faith.”

The European Jewish Congress announced that it was “carefully considering” the option of legal action over the cartoon. “This cartoon has crossed all lines of decency and is dripping with hate and anti-Semitism,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said in a statement. “We are now studying the possibility that this legally constitutes incitement and even a hate-crime and will therefore require legal action.”

Kantor warned that the cartoon, “meant to inspire hate and contempt against one particular people,” could incite violence against Jews. “This type of hate, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda, cannot be left unanswered, and it is exactly this type of incitement which is contributing to a very troubling period for minorities in Europe at this time, especially with the rise of the far-Right,” he added.

Cartoonist Tomas Drefvelin said he had not meant to draw Jews in his caricature and added that the caricature was not a “criticism of a specific religion or a nation [but] a general criticism of religions.”