The Shmooze

Cartoon Angers Jewish Group in Canada

By Josh Tapper

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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.


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