Anti-Semitic Cartoonists Don’t Belong at the White House

July 10, 2019 | Daniella Greenbaum Davis
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Among those invited to a White House media summit tomorrow is the cartoonist Ben Garrison, much of whose work portrays President Trump in a heroic light, and the president’s enemies, or “globalists” more generally, in a grotesque light. A few of his illustrations traffic in anti-Semitism, sometimes subtly and sometimes unmistakably. Daniella Greenbaum Davis writes:

Consider [one] egregious specimen of Garrison’s work: General H.R. McMaster, the former national security adviser, and General David Petraeus, the ex-director of the CIA, are manipulated by their puppet master George Soros, who is himself guided by a greenish hand and arm labeled “Rothschilds,” the name of a Jewish family of financiers whose name has become a byword for Internet conspiracists.

This is classic anti-Semitic imagery, familiar from tsarist, Soviet, Nazi, and Arab-nationalist propaganda: government ministers as puppets of a shadowy Jewish conspiracy. Compare Garrison’s cartoon with the [anti-Semitic] cartoon from the New York Times [international edition] of Netanyahu and Trump, and we see how similar they are. Major political figures with tremendous power and influence are supposedly manipulated by Jewish hands. The takeaway—“Jews control the world”—is identical.

Garrison claimed that the cartoon had been commissioned by the “alt-right” blogger Mike Cernovich; the reason, allegedly, being that Cernovich feared McMaster and other recent appointees wanted to purge the administration of figures sympathetic to the alt-right. If this is true, it suggests a deployment of anti-Semitism not from conviction, but as a kind of cynical strategy.

As for the Jewish perspective, it may be tempting to refrain from criticizing an administration that has been exceptionally friendly to Israel. . . . Likewise, the White House may believe that in exchange for its support for the Jewish state, American Jews will give the administration a pass for signaling to a small but vocal segment of its base—through acts of a sort of wink-and-nod anti-Semitism—that it still shares some of their key worldviews.

UPDATE: As of this morning, July 10, the White House has told reporters that Garrison has been disinvited.

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