Every so often, an attack is mounted against the Jewish people that demands we raise our voice in protest. Suddeutsche Zeitung, one of the largest and most influential newspapers in Germany, has performed such an attack by publishing a cartoon that hearkens back to hateful propaganda of the Nazi era.
The online Jewish publication, Algemeiner broke the story yesterday. They write,
The cartoon, published by Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and entitled “Krake Facebook,” German for “Facebook Octopus,” shows Zuckerberg as a half-human sea giant grasping with tentacles at computers around him. Depicted with a hooked nose, the 29-year-old entrepreneur is shown smiling while his curly hair creeps out from under an oversized hat that has the Facebook logo on its brim.
The newspaper, based in Southern Germany, linked the cartoon to the recent purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook.
Certainly Germany has made some progress over the years in making reparations to Holocaust victims. In recent years, an influx of Russian Jewish immigrants has even been welcomed by Germany. Yet, it is evident that some level of underlying anti-Semitism still exists within the psyche of some Germans. When the creator of the cartoon was asked about the anti-Semitic nature of the image, the Jerusalem Post reports,
The SZ cartoonist, Burkhard Mohr, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday he was “shocked” his cartoon was deemed anti-Semitic. “Anti-Semitism and racism are ideologies which are totally foreign to me,” he said, flatly rejecting the notion that his cartoon could be viewed as offensive to Jews. He explained that his cartoon was designed to be a commentary on Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp. What he “meant was a cartoon depiction of the company Facebook beyond a specific person,” he said. “I am sorry that it led to this misunderstanding and hurt the feelings of some readers.”
Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper on Monday called the cartoon “an outrage” and said is was anti-Semitic. Algemeiner further quotes Cooper, “The nefarious Jew/octopus was a caricature deployed by Nazis. That was used pretty much as a staple by the Nazis in terms of their hateful campaign against the Jews in the 1930s. [An] exaggerated Jewish nose removes any question if this was unconscious anti-Semitism.”
I am not writing to bash Germans in any way, but rather to call attention to a cartoon that crossed the line of human decency and reflects deeper issues that must be addressed. We cannot allow anti-Semitism in any form – be it portrayed through a cartoon, article, film or comment by a public figure – to be ignored. If we do, we ourselves are guilty of a most heinous sin.
Let me explain. In the Book of Genesis, God gave Abraham a promise that became the basis for Jewish national existence. In other words, the creation of the Jewish people was not man’s idea but God’s. Evidently, the Lord of the universe had a plan for the family of Abraham to be used for holy purposes. The Bible tells us,
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).
Those who believe in the authority of Scripture should take this passage both literally and seriously. There is a promised blessing upon those who “bless” the Jewish people and a curse upon those who “make light” of the Jewish people – a more literal translation of the Hebrew. If we devalue the Jewish people in the plan of God, the Lord promises to bring punitive measures. This is plain to those who believe the Bible, but perhaps unknown or shrouded in mystery to those who do not!
It is an act of love to warn those who perpetuate anti-Semitic stereotypes. This is particularly true of images reminiscent of Nazi caricatures of the Jewish people – even very public figures like Zuckerberg.
When this occurs, we need to cry foul. As followers of the Scriptures, we are obligated to warn those who do this that God still loves the Jewish people. We must remind them that repentance is the only right response, once they have been told of their sin against God’s chosen people.
We can say it was just a cartoon. But we know that it was more! We have sounded the warning. God is not pleased with anti-Semitism. Those who act in this way, whether consciously or not, should listen and make amends. One day, we will all face a loving God, who does offer forgiveness through Jesus the Messiah. But God is also just, righteous and unflinching when it comes to keeping His promises to the Jewish people and to us all.
5 responses to “German Newspaper Cartoon of Mark Zuckerberg”
We live in a world in which there’s no lack of examples of arrogance and idiocy such as in the case of Suddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), Burkhard Mohr and his hateful caricature. Dr. Glaser makes valid points to hold him accountable while drawing upon the history of Germany and its people. I urge us all to think of this: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Messiah, he is none of his.” (ROMANS 8:5-9)
I was surprised at first at Dr. Glaser’s comments, but as I read on and seeing the explanation of the relation to the cartoon and the Nazi-Jewish-Octopus connection, I better understood. I pray that the cartoonist (and all who read Dr. Glaser’s remarks) will search their hearts to see if there might be any anti-Semitism lurking there. If so, I pray that they will repent to God, asking His forgiveness through Jesus, the Messiah.
Hi Dr Glazer! Thanks for this thoughtful and well written post. I actually recently wrote something on the same theme, but from a different view point. you can check it out here: http://annawikmann.com/2014/02/28/eu-vice-president-drunkenly-lodges-own-foot-into-mouth-at-frankfurt-international-airport/ (about ‘Germany bashing’, which you have not done and I commend you for that).
I am very familiar with the hidden anti-semitism that lurks within Germany today, and yes, the greedy jewish octopus was prevalent in Nazi propaganda, but they were not the first to come up with the idea. There are many other examples of anti-semitic images and stereotypes that are part of mainstream german culture, yet it is not generally known to the Germans themselves what the meaning of these images is and what their origins are. An example is the popular childrens puppet theatre show in southern germany called ‘Kasperle’ (a silly jester-like puppet who wears a pointy hat and has a huge hook-nose who gets beaten up for doing silly and dumb things). No German would ever think it might be anti-semitic, because they have forgotten that jews in the middle ages had to wear pointy hats for identification and that the typical hooked nose is a strong anti-jewish symbol even before nazi propaganda took off.
I also wonder why the Süddeutsche Zeitung has not yet been shut down because it frequently gets into trouble for publishing anti-semitic content (if anyone remembers that scandalous poem by Günther Grass?). I also wonder why the Editor keeps on publishing even though they have caused so many scandals already? It also seems like they are getting cheekier every time and all they have to do is get slapped a bit on their wrists, apologize profusely, and continue whatever they were doing before. Have they learnt nothing?
Reblogged this on Anna Wikmann and commented:
An excellent post by Dr Mitch Glazer commenting on the recent cartoon scandal in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung
But it is all true. He is married to an Asian goi, who for sure is not a believer in Jeshua, as is not he himself. We should not be worried about people telling what is true but about these non-believers who does not know G-d and who spoil themselves.