Chazan’s head was borrowed from a controversial ad released last week by right-wing student movement Im Tirzu (“If you will it”). The cartoon’s author also publishes in two national Israeli newspapers. Some two years ago, he won a monetary award from Im Tirzu, in a cartoon contest dedicated to “increasing awareness of the danger of radical Islam.” Most of the viewers who posted comments on the cartoon protested it appears to incite to murder.
New Israel Fund said in response that the cartoon “reflects the very real and dangerous results of the smear and incitement campaign currently underway against both NIF and its president, Naomi Chazan.”
“The Fund will be considering its steps against the authors of the cartoon, its publishers and those who distribute it,” the statement said.
Army Radio spokeswoman Tali Tenenboim stressed on Monday that the radio station had nothing to do with the site where the cartoon was published. “The website and its forum are run independently by a listener of the program, while the radio station has a webpage of its own for the show,” she said. “We have nothing to do with the cartoon or its author, although it’s perfectly clear anyone publishing such a cartoon must have a very, very poor taste indeed.”
One of the program’s hosts, Avri Gilad, expressed similar sentiments, adding he requested that the cartoon is removed and the cartoonist is banned from the website.
The cartoon was removed from the site a day later, by the author himself. “I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. To my mind, caricatures are supposed to make people smile,” the cartoonist said. “I guess I didn’t express the idea properly. There was absolutely no intention to incite to murder – this never even crossed my mind, and I apologize if anyone was hurt.”
At the moment, the cartoon still remains on one of Im Tirzu’s public forums and on the artist’s Facebook group.
Note: I chose not to stress the cartoonist’s name, since his apology and regret appear to be sincere (he went on to explain on another blog that the dragon was NIF in total, not Chazan personally, and that the general idea was David vs Goliath = Im Tirzu vs New Israel Fund. Hmm.) However, the cartoon remains a chilling illustration of the danger posed by demonizing propaganda: Once you present a person as a monstrous problem, someone else will take it a few steps further, and propose a solution. Let’s hope the step after thatnever comes to pass.