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In Spain, El Roto and El País Offer Readers a Distorted View of History

In Spain, El Roto and El País Offer Readers a Distorted View of History

In the Christmas edition of his cartoon posted on December 24, 2010 in the newspaper El País, the cartoonist El Roto used the occasion to feature classical anti-Semitic elements aimed to confuse, misinform and demonize the State of Israel

« Young Mariam gave birth in a Bethlehem gateway because she wasn’t able to get passed Israeli checkpoints to arrive at the hospital… »

The cartoon shows a Palestinian woman wearing a headscarf identified by the cartoonist as “Mariam”, obliged to give birth in a Bethlehem doorway due to Israeli security checkpoints. The security wall can be glimpsed in the background. The woman carries a baby in her arms, which we might conjecture is the ‘modern day Jesus Christ”.

This sample of “graphic wit” contains a number of dangerous misconceptions, which confuses the alleged historicity while also carrying a clearly anti-Semitic message:

• The parallel images advanced by El Roto can be placed in the context of a new trend whose purpose is to offer confusing messages concerning the origin of the Jewish presence in the Middle East, in other words, the Jews’ right to the land, which therefore delegitimizes the State of Israel. According to this type of highly tendentious propaganda, Jesus was a Palestinian. Following this line of thought, El Roto has drawn “Mariam” as a modern day Palestinian. It is worth remembering that Jesus, Mary (“Mariam” in the cartoon) and Joseph were Jewish. There were no Palestinians at that time. The region was known as Judea and had been known as such for two centuries before Jesus and in fact, up until 1946. The term Palestine was coined by the Romans as a means to combat Jewish nationalism.

• A second point to remark is the use of Christian iconography, with the image of the “modern Jesus” beleaguered and surrounded by an “Israeli occupier”, in a clear reference to the concept of a god-killing people, the accusation devised by the Catholic church and used against the Jewish people and which is so central in historical anti-Semitism. Vatican II tried to put an end to such seeds of Judeophobia, retracting its old statement in Nostra Aetate. In fact, according to a definition adopted in 2005 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the use of symbols and images associated with classical anti-Semitism (for example, accusing the Jews of having killed Jesus, or the blood libels) when depicting Israel or Israelis is an unequivocal sign of anti-Semitism. However, as we can see in this cartoon by El Roto, the recurrence of imagery where Jesus (or a contemporary version) is a victim of the Jews (or Israel, in its current representation of the people) is still quite present in many cartoons emanating from the Spanish press.

• It is true that Bethlehem is under Israeli control. The security fence was built following a wave of terrorist violence which spiked in the wake of the so-called Second Intifada. Its sole purpose was to save lives and obviously not to impede pregnant Palestinian women from having access to hospitals. As of September 2000, over 1100 people had been assassinated by Palestinian terrorists. This death rate fell abruptly with the construction of the security fence. This doesn’t represent a border, nor is it a means to expand the settlements (as was recently ratified by current diplomacy), and the wall itself only occupies about 5% of the fence, in places where it is necessary to prevent shooting by Palestinian sharpshooters.

• The cartoon is a projection of the Palestinian victim role, which evokes so much international concern, but it doesn’t reflect the reality of Bethlehem which is experiencing a real economic boom. If El Roto had full knowledge about the real Bethlehem, perhaps he would have depicted this nativity interdict in another way, with “Mariam” having to give birth in a doorway in the impossibility of finding any free hotel rooms during the Christmas season, due to the seasonal tourist invasion.

• Since we’re talking about problems in Bethlehem and victimhood, El Roto fails to see that it isn’t a generic Palestinian people who suffer segregation at the hand of the Israelis but rather the local Christians at the hands of the Muslims. Just recently, various Middle Eastern Bishops declared the situation in the Palestinian Territories to be “unsustainable” because political Islam “imposes an Islamic lifestyle on all of its citizens, sometimes by using violence”. As the Journalist Henrique Cymerman noted in his article in the Vanguardia (Sonrisas y lágrima en Belén), in 1947 Christian made up 35% of the population while today they are barely 3%-4% in the Palestinian areas. In 2007 CAMERA analyst Alex Safian wrote an article that analyzed certain media errors concerning the facts surrounding Christian Palestinians. In the same vein, Daniel Pipes in 2005 predicted the death of Christianity in the land of its birth, with a complicit silence by the Christian world.

Despite this evidence, El Roto has chosen to prosecute a campaign to defame Israel by jumbling the historical facts, the current realities and the facts of survival by transmitting an image of Israel as the aggressor and feigning ignorance about the nature of Palestinian rights. It is not surprising given the track record of this cartoonist in El Pais, who has never lost an opportunity to condemn the Jewish State with arguments considered anti-Semitic by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which includes the banalization of the Holocaust or comparing actions by the State of Israel to Nazi policies.

It is therefore extremely important that a newspaper such as EL PAIS, a reference in the Spanish speaking world, should apply more newsworthy diligence when publishing cartoons which offer a confusing view of the reality and which collaborate in fomenting a hostile climate for Israel and for the Jews.

(This article was translated from the Spanish “España: El Roto y El País desinforman a sus lectores” which appeared in Revista de Medio Oriente)


In Spain, El Roto and El País Offer Readers a Distorted View of History

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  • 5 thoughts on “In Spain, El Roto and El País Offer Readers a Distorted View of History

    1. The messiah

      Israel is a special place, it is the holy land blessed by God. Perhaps there is a divine calling to see to it that Israel is? a champion for freedom and democracy in the world along with all western nations USA, England, Europe etc. Israel is the light of the world, it is the nation that stands up for freedom. We are fighting against totalitarianism, and fascism being pushed by a 7th century militant ideology of Islamic fascism. This Islamic fascism of Jihad or holy war is the war on terror the United States of America entered to. But it is not just the USA war, but it is the war of all western civilizations nations to defend our way of life against those who want to take away everything we stand for. This is what the conflicts have always been about and what many have never have the courage to say because of political correctness. This is the truth, and it is something we must stand up for if we are to preserve the future for our children in the world to be a better place.

      With regards toward the question of peace, i do agree with the prime ministers opinion saying with all due respect it is impossible. Radical Islam the real Islam as long as it exists along with its brainwashing Jihad cause there will never be true peace in the middle east. Muslims who follow radical views will stop at nothing to force the world to become like Iran or Saudi Arabia or even form a muslim state of Palestine. When Islam death comes, and it is not longer a religion there will be real peace in Israel. Those who worship the devil and death for suicide bombers? will be destroyed along with Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban will have no power or influence in the world at all and Israel will emerge victorious and respected.

      No one in this world who sees the evil of radical muslim extremists will deny the evil of radical Islam the real Islam which is sugar coated from its 7th century atrocities in the last 1,800 years. Islam is the most horrible religion in the world, it is worse than Nazism, Fascism and Communism because it is a political ideology protected under laws of religious protection. This is the price we have to pay, wars in the middle east, Jihadists committing acts of terrorism, people killing people over Mohammed cartoons. This evil satanic death cult, should revoke its status. People who are foolish to believe that Islam is a religion of? peace have not listened to the Atheists criticism. Geert Wilders for one is 100 percent right and we need to wake up and tell the truth to people otherwise we will have to deal with more horrible acts of Islamic terrorism in the world and worse Islamisation and Sharia destroying our cultures and way of life.

    2. The messiah

      For many years in the 60 years conflict Israel has had it has been very easy for the muslims to exploit antisemitism to help gain support to go against Israel in the international media and the muslim world. The truth is the religious conflict of envisioning a muslim Palestine along with a global Islamic state world wide is the vision of the muslim world. This is why they chant death to America, Israel and Britain because not only are they at war with the infidels but all freedom democracies in the world who value western civilizations laws. If there is one thing you can do, is share videos and make people aware why like me i am 100 percent anti-Islam because its hidden messages and evil are bound to put the whole world in danger. We don’t want the world to end up? like Iran or Taliban Afghanistan.

      I do believe that many people including Geert Wilders have noticed what is happening in Europe and that is spreading world wide. I feel the conflict in the middle east has always been fueled because of radical Islamic extremists fueled by the real Islam radical Islam. The whole idea of a creation of a state of Palestine is to create a muslim state and to eliminate any non muslims from the world. I don’t want the world to spread Iran like? garbage philosophy to the rest of the world in which human rights are not respected. We don’t want Europe and the world to become middle eastern desert nations. I feel those who went against Israel were wrong to do so, Israel is a democracy and a state which values western civilization values. If there were not radical Jihadists in the middle east i assure you Israel would have peace today and there would be no wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in which the USA and England are fighting now to protect people from terrorists.

      The muslim world are nothing but the world’s biggest hypocrites. I would say you like many of you who along with Osama Bin Laden, the suicide? bombers, Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Taliban and other global Jihadists are nothing but world class hypocrites. Only a idiot would not see that it is obvious that this conflict along with many other conflicts in the world like in Sudan is founded on radical Islamic extremism the real Islam. Al-Bashir of North Sudan killed over 400,000 people in acts of genocide and he is a muslim. Osama Bin Laden is the world’s most famous muslim. Islam will die and lose its respect, as it is revoked of its religious status just as it has already been lost in Italy.

    3. The messiah

      While my views regarding the conflict are highly controversial because i given a strong criticism against Islam and the beliefs which really are the fuel which drive people in Palestine to kill themselves as suicide bombers in the name of Allah it is the reflection of the truth. This was never about land or politics. This conflict has always really been about the establishment of a muslim Palestine in replacing with the Jewish state of Israel. It is a clash between the mentality the racism and world wide discrimination that the muslim world pushes against non muslim nations of the world. This includes Islamic regimes who opposes values of western civilization, democracy, freedom of speech, appreciation for the value of human rights. As a activist i support Israel because the cause is highly justified. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq even though don’t have Israel involved in it are wars in which the USA are fighting the same thing and over the same problems. These same problems are now what will destroy Sudan as a nation and split it into North Sudan and Southern Sudan given the high level of atrocities made by the arab muslims of the north against the southerners in Sudan. The world has to come to realize the truth, about the importance of this conflict. It is not just about Israel that we are fighting for. We are fighting to defend our way of life against a oppressive militant ideology from the 7th century.

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