Jewish groups have spoken out against a cartoon published in a Norwegian newspaper that portrays circumcision as an act of barbarism. The European Jewish Congress (EJC) called the depiction a “hate crime” and is considering legal action, while the Anti Deformation League (ADL) called the cartoon “sickening” and “deeply offensive”.
The cartoon, which was published in Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper on Tuesday, shows a Rabbi with a devil’s pitchfork stabbing a baby in the head. A woman is cutting off the child’s toe, while blood spurts over a religious book. In the caption the woman tells a policeman: “Mistreating? No, this is tradition, an important part of our belief!” The officer retorts: “Belief? Oh yes, then it is all right.”
In response, Dr Moshe Kantor, the President of the EJC, said: “This cartoon has crossed all lines of decency and is dripping with hate and anti-Semitism. We are now studying the possibility that this legally constitutes incitement to hatred and even a hate crime and will require legal action if this proves to be the case.”
He added: “This is a violent cartoon which is meant to inspire hate and contempt against one particular people. 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.”
Abraham Foxman, the ADL National Director, was equally scathing. "This grotesque cartoon of a bloodied, mutilated baby, suffering at the hands of adults is a deeply offensive and appalling distortion of a core Jewish ritual,” he said. “The image harkens back to the centuries of anti-Semitic illustrations depicting Jews engaged in ritual ceremonies involving gratuitous and fabricated bloodletting.”
"In no way can this sickening cartoon be justified as an acceptable graphic representation in support for the campaign to legislatively restrict ritual circumcision, which unfortunately has gained some traction in Europe.”