The Shmooze

Cartoon Angers Jewish Group in Canada

By Josh Tapper

  • Print
  • Share Share

Try as one might, it would be difficult for the discerning eye to disagree that the constellation of stars superimposed over one another on the clock face of Ottawa’s Peace Tower bears a slight resemblance to the Star of David.

That interpretation is now a matter of debate after a Canadian French-language newspaper published a political cartoon earlier this week featuring a clear-cut Star of David plastered on the clock face.

B’nai Brith Canada, a national Jewish organization, has asked the paper, Le Droit, to remove the cartoon from its website, citing anti-Semitism.

“The cartoon is disgusting,” said Frank Dimant, executive vice-president of B’nai Brith. “It’s the kind of classic cartoon that we saw throughout the ages of Jews controlling government, Jews controlling banking institutions.”

Cartoonist Guy Badeaux, who has worked at Le Droit since 1981 and was honored last year by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for his work in language politics, told CBC News his intentions were benign. He was simply looking for the easiest way to depict the iconic structure, which stands at the center of the Canadian parliament buildings and dominates Ottawa’s skyline.

The Canadian Jewish Congress came to Badeaux’s defense yesterday, noting that the cartoonist has been involved in Palestinian-Jewish peace programs, like Cartooning for Peace, and has spoken at synagogues in Montreal.

B’nai Brith has acquired a reputation for making paranoid claims. In advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the organization claimed the decision to not hold a female ski jumping competition was similar to Nazi discriminatory policies during the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

UPDATE: CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress says cartoon not anti-Semitic.

UPDATE 2: Read B’nai Brith Canada’s response to the matter in an Op-Ed on the National Post here.

Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Star of David, Peace Tower, Ottawa, Le Droit, Guy Badeaux, Frank Dimant, Cartooning for Peace, B'nai Brith Canada, Canadian Jewish Congress

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.