Editorial cartoon targeting Alan Dershowitz perpetuates harmful stereotypes

letter to the editor
Willow Yang/File

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Editor’s note: This letter was originally published in The Daily Wire.

Your recent editorial cartoon targeting Alan Dershowitz was offensive, appalling and deeply disappointing. I condemn its publication. Are you aware that its anti-Semitic imagery connects directly to the centuries-old “blood libel” that falsely accused Jews of engaging in ritual murder? I cannot recall anything similar in The Daily Californian, and I call on the paper’s editors to reflect on whether they would sanction a similar assault on other ethnic or religious groups. We cannot build a campus community where everyone feels safe, respected and welcome if hatred and the perpetuation of harmful stereotypes become an acceptable part of our discourse.

Carol Christ is the chancellor of UC Berkeley.

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  • Peter

    Wow, the chancellor of the university writes about a cartoon in the student paper, saying “I condemn its publication.”
    Why?
    Because it is “offensive, appalling and deeply disappointing.”
    But notice that this chancellor and former professor of English doesn’t actually tell her readers what it is about the cartoon that is offensive, appalling and deeply disappointing. Instead, she asks a question:
    “Are you aware that its anti-Semitic imagery connects directly to the centuries-old “blood libel” that falsely accused Jews of engaging in ritual murder?”
    Chancellor, are you aware that you have not said what the anti-Semitic imagery in the cartoon is? And you ask if the reader is aware that this anti-Semitic imagery “connects directly” to an old false accusation that Jews engaged in ritual murder — but why not simply tell the reader how it does so connect?
    I think you are trying to suggest that the anti-Semitic imagery in the cartoon is the IDF soldier shooting someone lying in a pool of blood, and the reason why this is anti-Semitic is that Israel defines itself as the state of all the world’s Jews.
    If that’s the case, then why not just say that, instead of being so indirect?
    When officials talk in such convoluted ways, it makes people think they are hiding something. Especially when they’ve had a career teaching English for many, many years.
    You write: “I call on the paper’s editors to reflect on whether they would sanction a similar assault on other ethnic or religious groups.”
    After reflection, I would conclude that a cartoon that used the same imagery (but different flags) to lampoon an apologist for any other government would simply not be controversial enough to draw your condemnation, regardless of which ethnic or religious groups are represented in that government. Of course, you could have shared what you concluded after your own reflection on this matter.
    The worst thing about this letter is that it doesn’t even pretend to show any sympathy for Palestinian victims of Israeli violence and oppression, which this cartoon was most obviously trying to bring to attention. So much for “a campus community where everyone feels safe, respected and welcome”.

  • McBain

    The sad part is that the reaction to it probably reinforced the hatred of “Zionists” that a few of the editors (and certainly the artist) probably had.

    • Todd

      I don’t think so. The haters are going to hate. It is how they were raised. I bet you if you asked the artist if his parents were Anti-Jew, he could confirm such bigotry.

  • JoelReinstein

    Israeli forces really do murder Palestinian civilians, thousands over the last few years. A cartoon depicting this, having nothing to do with antisemitic myths about ritual murder and clearly accusing *Israel,* not Jews, is obviously not antisemitic. On the other hand, Cal’s endowment is still invested in companies profiting from Israeli apartheid against Palestinians, in spite of a student resolution calling for divestment. Chancellor Christ should look in the mirror before she attacks students’ free expression and editorial independence.

    • DavidSamel

      Joel is absolutely correct. The cartoon was bitterly critical of Dershowitz and Israel but did not remotely resemble Nazi cartoons of Jews with exaggerated features. Even if it had been wrong on substance, it was not critical of Jews at all. But it was not wrong on substance. Israel has killed many thousands of civilians since its founding, and Dershowitz has vigorously supported, defended, and enabled such state terrorism.

      • Todd

        Wow A CROC OF …All you have proven is that both of you are bigots. Your lack of understanding this is incredible. You think because you hate Jews you can spew your nonsense on this page and you have a first amendment right to do so, However, your facts are completely wrong. The US and its coalition partners killed many more civilians as a percentage when fighting in Urban areas that Israel. Israel in a 2015 report was criticized by military experts at setting the bar too high. Thus, your innuendoes are not only false, but bigotry.

    • ModernMaccabi

      I disagree with your premise that Israeli forces have “murdered” thousands of Palestinians civilians. But even if that were correct, which it isn’t, your argument is faulty anyways. Indeed, Palestinians and Arabs have killed many thousands of innocent Israelis and Jews throughout the world. Would it be ok to publish cartoons that show Arabs and Palestinian scholars, intellectuals and advocates as terrorists and murderers too? Or would that be considered Islamophobia to group them in such a way?

      • Helen4Yemen

        The Palestinian is on his and, the Ashkenazi is 100% European.

        Yes or no?

    • Todd

      Please take your false facts and bigotry elsewhere. Everyone knows that Hamas controlled and made up the news. Around 80% of the casualties in Palestine in Israel’s self-defense action in 2014 were fighting age males. Hamas intentionally had their combat forces not wear uniforms or had their uniforms removed. Thus, your comment has no factual basis because your opinion is relying on a terrorist organization, Accusing Israel of false crimes and treating them as a different standard is anti-semitism. Europe has a good working definition of anti-semitism, so we don’t even need to discuss this issue. Three your baseless claim about Israel apartheid has no facts and the International Red Cross categorically stated Israel does not practice apartheid. So Mr. Bigot, I think I made my case.

    • benfivel

      Obviously an unbiased supporter of BDS.

  • Todd

    As Chancellor speaking out is a great first step. However, the first amendment does not prevent consequences for hate speech.

  • ModernMaccabi

    Joel Mayorga, the artist, and editors Suhauna Hussain, Dani Sundell, Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks and Karim Doumar. Your bigotry and hatred towards Israel and the Jewish people has been noted.

    In the words of Alan Dershowitz: “The best response to bigotry is the opposite of censorship: it is exposure and shaming in the court of public opinion. The offensive cartoon should not be removed, as some have suggested. It should be widely circulated along with the names prominently displayed of the person who drew it and the bigoted editors who decided to publish it. Every potential employer or admissions officer should ask them to justify their bigotry. The artist and the Daily Cal editors who oversaw the decision to publish this cartoon must be held accountable for their reprehensible actions.”

    • Dan Spitzer

      Let’s see if the paper’s editorial board shows a scintilla of integrity by responding to the Chancellor’s criticism and tendering an apology to the Jewish community. Needless to say, the cartoonist should be jettisoned.
      Failure to do the above will provide proof positive that the Daily Cal is supportive of anti-Semitism. It’s readers and advertisers will hopefully take notice and respond accordingly.

      • ModernMaccabi

        Sadly, none of the above will happen. Anti-Semitism (often couched as anti-Zionism) has been accepted and even promoted as much by the far left and many academics, as it has by the far right and Nazis. These are troubling times for most Jews around the world.

    • benfivel

      We can only hope their deeds are made known to all future educational, and employment opportunities!

    • benfivel

      We can only hope their deeds are made known to all future educational, and employment opportunities!

  • the daily cal editorial board shows their true colors. tolerance is just a facade for them

  • roccolore

    If a cartoon mocked a Muslim, Berkeley would have expelled the student immediately.

  • FreedomFan

    Democrats have always been racists and fascists. They can wear black masks instead of white and pretend that they are “anti-fascist” but they always tip their hand and show the disgusting race-hatred at the core of leftism.

  • DWNWTHVWLS

    I’m surprised this anti-Semite still has a place at UC Berkeley. The hypocrisy is unbelievable. I wouldn’t feel safe on this campus as a Jew until this anti-Semite were removed. Now that I think of it, I’m not surprised at all.

    • Dan Spitzer

      And how do you feel about Black Lives Matter? It stands for many admirable goals, but its spokespeople regularly rail that Israel should not exist.

      • DWNWTHVWLS

        I agree with some of their principals like body cameras, independent investigations, and, when realistic, police that reflect the neighborhoods they patrol. They are an ineffective activist group because they make more enemies than friends and haven’t realized that they need help to make change. MLK realized that.

        As for their anti-Semitic stance, I didn’t know they had one but it echoes my earlier point about not making any friends. I don’t know why they would take a stance on that topic as it has nothing to do with their supposed cause and it only serves to make enemies and alienate potential supporters. But again, this is why they are largely ineffective and seen in a negative light.

        • Dan Spitzer

          BLM has embraced the ideology of “intersectionality.” All those deemed oppressors are to be condemned. And this includes Israel, which is seen as infinitely worse and regularly castigated by BLM in far greater measure than the likes of N. Korea and the dictatorships of Africa and the Middle East.

          It is one thing to be critical of a nation’s policies. But when one calls into question the existence of and right to a state of half the world’s remaining Jewry, that falls under the heading of anti-Semitism.

          The above has been articulated on campus by BLM spokespeople, yet never condemned by the Daily Californian. One cannot imagine the paper would turn a blind eye to attacks on any other ethnic or religious group. Denigration of half the world’s Jewry appears to be another matter when it comes to the DC.

        • Nunya Beeswax

          I’m in a similar position with regard to BLM–broadly speaking, I can support a lot of their goals, but I’m mystified by their tactics, which seem more designed to give participants that sweet rush of self-righteousness than to gain support.

          Failing to distinguish between the circumstances of Philando Castile’s death as compared with Nate Wilks’ is also an issue. The former is a horrific case of abuse of power leading to murder, the latter simple suicide by cop.

          • ahad_ha_amoratsim

            That’s in part because the goals of its founders go far beyond reducing violence against black people, and include ending both capitalism and the US system of government. Joshua Muravchik detailed those goals, including quotes by the founders of BLM, in a Nov. 16 story in Commentary Magazine. https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/the-truth-about-black-lives-matter/ I wonder how many of BLM’s supporters actually know about the agenda of the radicals who started BLM?

        • DrMikeH49

          The only stance that BLM has taken on issues outside the US is a full endorsement of the anti-Semitic BDS movement, which calls for the elimination of the Jewish state in the indigenous Jewish homeland. No position on any other conflict anywhere else in the world.

      • ahad_ha_amoratsim

        And have made false claims of genocide against Israel, including falsely blaming Israel for police shootings in the US.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      In his mind, he’s “punching up”–so it’s justified.

      • ahad_ha_amoratsim

        Exactly. And in their own minds, Wilhelm Marr and his generations of followers were justified because they were protecting European Christian civilization against a potentially fatal alien virus.

        Deluded self-justification is a powerful tool.

  • Dan Spitzer

    The cartoonist is an immature bigot who apparently enjoys running with the anti-Semitic herd today so prevalent in the UC system, both in the student body and certain academic departments. But those most culpable for spreading this sewage are the paper’s editorial staff. It has shirked its obligation not to run such a vicious manifestation of Jew hatred, a toxin now running regularly rampant on the UC campus in the guise of condemnation of a democratic state where half the Jews on the planet now live. Criticism of Israeli policy is one thing–wholesale condemnation of the Jewish State and those who defend its right to exist is yet another.

    This editorial staff has proven quick to condemn any slights to minorities. But somehow Jews don’t fall under this rubric of support when they are attacked. Indeed, the paper has even permitted posts by anti-Semite supreme Alison Weir who reaffirmed her contention that Israelis have collected Palestinian organs to sell at a profit. Apparently the sick age old ritual murder attached to Jews still emerges in the Daily Cal, be it in the form of the newspaper’s cartoons or the posts it prints.

    The paper’s editorial board is supposed to oversee its staff’s work. But when it comes to anti-Semitism, the paper has failed both the Jewish community and its readership. Two reasonable first steps in attempting to regain some semblance of integrity would consist of 1) apologizing to the Jewish community and 2) firing the creator of this sick drawing. A fair follow up to both of these would consist of some semblance of balance when it comes to reportage of Israeli/Palestinian events/protests on campus.

    • TNT

      Do you really believe that the cartoonist condemned the Jewish state and promoted anti-Semitism? It looks like he satirized an individual from Harvard while addressing the relationship between Israel and Palestine. Not saying I agree with his view of the matter, but there is nothing anti-semitic about the cartoon.

      • Nas Coro

        @TNT: “…relationship between Israel and Palestine…” Excuse me, but the last time I checked there is no such place as Palestine.

        • TNT

          When was the last time you checked bruh? I just typed Palestine on google and found information on it with maps.

          • Nas Coro

            @@disqus_FO6WDs8MCt:disqus Hey, you can type in Sponge Bob or Alfred E. Newmann and find information on those “gentlemen”; however, regardless of how ignorant you want to appear, there is NO Palestine. Now, hop out of mommy’s basement and look for a job.

          • TNT

            It seems that there is a Palestine.
            https://www.britannica.com/place/Palestine

            Stop projecting your living arrangements onto others. I’m getting paid as I write this to you. LOL

          • Stephen Golden

            He hides to protect her basement.

      • Stephen Golden

        Interesting TNT hides.

  • BlackConservative

    Daily Cal editorial team is censoring comments which is the opposite of being accepting of others ideas. If you ever send an email to they never respond either. You know why? Because they can’t debate things that they are just told. GROUP THINK and control, the only two things that keep the liberal think tank going these days. Keep it up Daily Cal! Keep censoring!

    • Todd

      Considering their bigotry, one should not be surprised.

    • McBain

      Their hearts are probably broken by the reaction. Think about it. Berkeley is known for being insular, these people probably thought everyone would understand this just meant “Free Palestine” and no one would see any imagery in it.

      • BlackConservative

        I agree, the groupthink is truly astounding. You would think the printing press hadn’t been invented yet.

  • tommydagun

    The original cartoon might have been appropriate in Der Stürmer.

  • BlackConservative

    Is this a public school?