Israel’s foreign ministry receives backlash over ‘racist’ cartoon

December 27, 2017
Published in Global, Social Buzz

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.

“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.”

“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:


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Story first published: 27th December 2017

 

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