Monday, March 06, 2006

Anti-Semitic Cartoons

A few weeks ago, shortly after the Mohammed cartoon controvesy broke out, the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri launched its own cartoon contest, looking for the 12 "best" anti-Semitic cartoons about the holocaust.

The Iranian newspaper probably did not expect a response like this: an Israeli Jewish blog holding its own anti-Semitic cartoon contest, except this one only open to Jewish cartoonists. To quote one of the authors, “we’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published! No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!”

Jews, at least here in the United States, are the masters of self-deprecating humor. Feel like a good laugh? Find a Jewish guy and ask him/her to tell you a joke about Jews or Jewish life and you'll be laughing your head off for an hour. A huge percentage of the stand-up comics here in the United States are Jewish: guys like Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Hope, George Burns, and even the Marx Brothers have done a good job of making people laugh by poking fun at themselves and their own culture for many years.

So, should it really surprise anyone that some Jewish bloggers decided to start their own anti-Semitic cartoon contest to outdo the Iranians?

Of course, this Jewish anti-Semitic cartoon contest is a bit of old news: Sandmonkey and a a few others wrote about it three weeks ago before they published much. Now, though, it's March 5, I still haven't seen the twelve Iranian holocaust cartoons, but the Israeli blog has published 24 of them (exactly double the number Hamshahiri promised to publish).

Hats off to these guys - it takes a real sense of self-confidence to laugh at yourself, and even more self-confidence to make jokes about yourself and encourage others to laugh.