The difference between freedom and theocracy

Here’s something very telling:

A Danish newspaper has printed cartoons about the Holocaust commissioned by Iran after cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad triggered violent protests.

The newspaper – Information – published six of the cartoons, which are on display in the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Several of the cartoons contrast the plight of the Palestinians with that of the victims of the Holocaust.

Editor-in-chief Palle Weis said he had thought carefully about publishing the cartoons and said it was not a stunt.

He told the BBC the cartoons accompanied a news story about the exhibition. He said they were “tasteless but predictable”.

‘Pretty harmless’

Another Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, sparked the international row last year after it published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, including one of him wearing a bomb on his head.

There were angry protests in Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, in which at least 50 people died.

In response, a competition was organised in Iran inviting people to draw cartoons about the Holocaust. Organisers said they were testing the West’s commitment to freedom of speech.

Information said it had decided to print the cartoons after consulting the main rabbi in Copenhagen.

“He said he had seen worse examples,” editor-in-chief Mr Weis told the BBC.

“They are tasteless but predictable… they’re pretty harmless. I don’t think they would be called great art.”


Exactly.

They’re very much like the the rather lame cartoons published last year by a different Danish newspaper (Jyllands-Posten) poking fun at Mohammed and Islam, the ones that caused rioting throughout the Middle East, calls for censorship, and demands that the Danish government apologize or force the editors of the newspaper that published the cartoons to apologize. Then, we saw riots and boycotts. Now, we see a collective shrug of the shoulders from Jews and other non-Muslims. If the Iranians, who disingenuously conflated this “contest” (announced by the Iranian government, hosted by a dubious “nongovernmental” organization in a nation where the government controls the press and the media, and held in a nation where the original Danish cartoons would never be published, unless it served the purpose of the government to use them to foment hatred against Jews) with the Danish cartoons (published in a free nation by an independent paper with no government interference), expected more of a reaction, they have to be disappointed by the collective yawn coming from the rest of the world.

Which is as it should be. From the few of these cartoons that I’ve been able to see, I conclude that they’re nothing more than the usual anti-Semitic and anti-Israel tripe that conflates the state of the Palestinians with the Holocaust and/or equates Israel with the Nazi regime. There’s minimal, if any, creativity, and these cartoons seem to be of the kind popularized during the reign of the Third Reich by arch anti-Semitic propagandist Julius Streicher in his magazine Der Stürmer.

However, I am a little disturbed by how difficult it is to find these cartoons, because I think that they should be seen, if only to show the blatant anti-Semitism inherent in them. For instance, neither of the two stories I found on this provided any links to them. I tried to find them on the Dagbladet Information website and failed. (Of course, it probably doesn’t help that I don’t speak or read Danish and that, as far as I can tell, the website requires a login to see the full articles; my best guess as to where I could find them is this link and a few of them can be seen in a slideshow in this story.) It is possible to find a few of the cartoons at this website on the front page, but the link to the actual gallery doesn’t appear to work for me, although the list of participants can be found here.

Personally, I’d be interested in seeing the rest, if only to satisfy my curiosity over what the anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers running Iran consider to be political “humor.” Given what I’ve seen thus far, though, my guess is that my reaction will be similar to the Danish rabbi quoted above: A big yawn.

ADDENDUM 9/10/2006: More here, with a working link to the actual cartoons.