The cartoon, which depicts Israel as a futuristic city with flying cars and the Arab world as a stubborn man on a mule, was criticized as “racist” by many on social media. PHOTO: TWITTER ACCOUNT OF ISRAEL’S FOREIGN MINISTRY
NEWS DESK: Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Sunday published a cartoon in Arabic, urging upon readers that if the Middle East ceased its diplomatic boycott of Israel, regional cooperation would lift the Arab world out of the “Middle Ages”.
The cartoon, which depicts Israel as a futuristic city with flying cars and the Arab world as a stubborn man on a mule, was criticized as “racist” by many on social media.
يقول المثل الإنجليزي ان لم تكن قادرا على هزيمتهم، انضم اليهم!
آن الأوان للتعاون بين إسرائيل وجاراتها بهدف بناء مستقبل مشرق لدول المنطقة بدلا من المقاطعة والبقاء في العصور الوسطى. بوادر التغيير في الشرق الأوسط تنعكس ضمنا في الإدراك أن العلاقات مع #إسرائيل ستكون مفيدة للدول العربية pic.twitter.com/nx7h1RZF17
— إسرائيل بالعربية (@IsraelArabic) December 24, 2017
“As the English saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. The time has come for cooperation between Israel and its neighbors in order to build a bright future for the countries of the region instead of the boycott and remaining in the Middle Ages,” said a post published along with the cartoon on the ministry’s official Arabic Facebook page. “The precursor to change in the Middle East will come through realizing that relations with Israel will be beneficial for Arab countries.”
The cartoon depicts a visibly angry Arab man on a mule declaring “I boycott you Israel.” The mule implies that the boycotter is “as stubborn as a mule”.
The other half of the cartoon shows a very futuristic metropolis underneath which is written, “Welcome to Israel.” The post concluded with research claiming that 50 percent of people in the Middle East don’t object to normalizing relations with Israel if it comes with benefits.
According to Times of Israel, the post was apparently a reference to a recent Israeli online poll purporting to show Arabs’ increasing desire for their governments to establish ties with Israel.
That poll, commissioned by Israel’s foreign ministry, was criticized by experts for its methodology. Still, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the foreign minister, has been touting its findings in various forums, including at a recent event during which he said Israel’s Arabic social media strategy has been winning hearts and minds among Arabs all over the Middle East.
Joint (Arab) List MK Ahmad Tibi slammed the cartoon as “despicable.”
קריקטורה נבזית של משרד החוץ הישראלי בערבית על סמות האדם הערבי ..
זו לא קריקטורה אנטישמית או שמא יש הערת אזהרה בטאבו על אנטישמיות? pic.twitter.com/LZqJwIEv71
— Ahmad Tibi (@Ahmad_tibi) December 26, 2017
“A despicable caricature of Arabs from the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Arabic,” the lawmaker tweeted in Hebrew, calling the cartoon as an “anti-Semitic” depiction of Arabs.
Social media users also criticized the cartoon as racist:
Hey you know the city in the background of your racist little cartoon actually looks like Dubai or maybe Abu Dhabi! Oh also you guys should apologize for this. It’s wrong, mean spirited and just as awful as the anti Semitic cartoons we rail against.
— (((TuttleSinger))) (@TuttleSinger) December 26, 2017
— Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) December 25, 2017
On Christmas eve, official Israeli account posts overtly racist cartoon in Arabic, in effort to “reach out in peace” to Arabs. https://t.co/sDjlIx0Q4S
— İyad el-Baghdadi | إياد البغدادي (@iyad_elbaghdadi) December 25, 2017
“Stubborn like a jackass”, a racist cartoon posted by #Israel foreign ministry Arabic’s account on how some Arabs insist on boycotting the Israeli “Jetsons’ world” while living in backwardness https://t.co/ND5km23Pvu pic.twitter.com/RBBSH9KYXu
— SaadAbedine (@SaadAbedine) December 25, 2017
— Abdulaziz Ali (@AzizJumairi) December 25, 2017